North Africa / Warring States
… Ghaddafi’s son to stand for election, among others.
Death of the Nile: sick and getting sicker (BBC)
Egypt parliament takes steps to criminalize atheism (Al-Monitor)
… argues lack of belief in God is contempt of religion, punishable by jail time
… blasphemy convictions have intensified under Sisi
… ‘persistent harassment of anyone expressing an ideology other than Islam’
… Coptic Christians live in fear of Islamist attacks (France24)
… ‘target of unprecedented attacks since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising’
… negotiations over Renaissance Dam have failed, needs to compensate for water loss
Western Africa / Lake Chad
… security forces fire tear gas in/around churches to break up protests against President
… a deep dive into the security situation
Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa
… unrest has plagued Ethiopia for the past two years. The reasons are complicated.
Middle Africa / Lakes
Central Asia / Caucasus
… in the long run, Chinese might(?) have more access to Central Asia than anyone else.
Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf
… and journalists fear arrest
… serious problems and fragilities might spoil the party in 2018
Building bridges of witness in Turkey: to be Turkish is to be Muslim (CT)
… The Battle for Iran: change will not come easily, peacefully, or soon.
… The fog of app wars in Iran: blocking certain smartphone apps sparks outrage
… How did the protests start, and where are they heading? a short Guardian explainer
… The protests have not gained traction in the capital (nor have pro-government rallies)
… As of the 6th day of protests, demonstrations in more than 40 cities and towns
… Death toll over 20, including a few policemen
… Not as large as the Green Protests in 2009, but far more dispersed into rural areas
… Protest movements are unlikely to succeed in anything unless Revolutionary Guards were to join
Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto
Violence continues in Afghanistan: Deadly attack at Kabul cultural center
… in prison only because their mothers are there, and no on else in family willing to take them
… illustrated book series also reinforced many forms of intolerance
… to create awareness against social evils like child marriage and dowry
Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet
Southern India / Maldives / Sri Lanka
Bengali / Bangladesh
China and the Church: 5 trends to watch in 2018 (Brent Fulton)
… 1) religious regulation (Feb 1), 2) Sinicization of Christianity, 3) denominations,
… 4) mission sending, 5) foreign Christians face a new set of realities.
China visas explained (China-Briefing.com)
… 45 million infertile people, renewed emphasis on 2nd child = market opportunity
… Pres. Xi Jinping’s huge promise to lift 43 million out of extreme poverty in 3 years
… 8 episode podcast collection interviewing experts re nationalism, security
… N Kor’s positive response was, in the words of one analyst group, “unprecedented.”
… NK appears on a full diplomatic offensive to ease tension with SK, possibly break it from US
… “Kim mentioned SKor Pres. Moon respectfully, the first time he has done so”
… “I used to make a lot of money… but it’s not like that today.”
… two governments signed agreement for repatriations to begin 1/23
… “many aid groups, diplomats doubt that fearful Rohingya will agree to return”
… ‘NGOs desperate to avoid the violent clashes of the 1990s’
… has replaced parties, alcohol
Notable Europe / Americas
… after a decade of explosive growth (1 million in US) and $39 billion in revenue …
… schools in Midwest particularly hard hit …
… increasingly going to Canada, Australia, other English-speaking countries …
… Meanwhile: Chinese, studying in America, and struggling
… interactive tool from last November shows top nationalities across states
Corruption isn’t a new problem in Mexico: it’s core to political system
… window into problems that can be found in other places.
… important to keep in mind as 25-50% of most larger agencies are single
New global data
… By 2020, +2.2 billion, of which 1.3 billion will be in Africa
… Most of this will be in Nigeria; report predicts it will be 3rd largest by 2050
Tourism for transformative and inclusive growth in Africa (UN Trade & Development)
… ‘key contributor to GDP, employment, particularly in small island and developing states’
… ‘important employer, generating 1 out of 14 jobs in Africa’
Global mobility report 2017: country by country data
… first ever study of global performance of transport sector
… 70% of Africa’s rural population unconnected to transport
… people unconnected by transport networks are more difficult logistically to reach
… data, analysis and visualization of the 17 SDGs. Downloadable PDF.
… including “The Brutal Facts” by yours truly.
Jeff Christopherson: Rhinos, rabbits and the challenges of multiplying a church planting movement (CT)
James Martin. How can you be Christian without caring for the poor? (LAT)
Marwan Aboul-Zouf. Why were church planting in a conflict zone (Beirut). (TGC).
Emma Green. How America is transforming Islam. (Atlantic)
… being young and Muslim in the USA means navigating multiple identities …
Francis Chan. “My church saved 100 people, and that’s a failure.” (Charisma News, video, 47:54).
Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules
How airlines price flights (Youtube, 11:08). Great data.
Social Media: breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest.
… what we see online is likely not a proper representation of those actually in our networks
Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy
The importance of the 1% difference when strategies are widely used by everyone
… ‘focused on tiny things making a 1% difference, and did loads of them’
… some real gems in here for mission leaders, too.
UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories
… mobilizing devotees to play roles in electing favored candidates
Italy: This village was dying… until the refugees came (National Geographic)
NYT: Four days with a Rohingya family in exile (13:17 video)
… #3 (augmented reality) and #4 (bots) would be the most visible
… ICO ban, centralized mobile payment, the Cybersecurity law, and “the visible hand”
… they are pretty believable.
The great nutrient collapse: the atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse.
… and (almost) nobody is paying attention.
The uninhabitable Earth: what climate change could wreak, sooner than you think
… ‘most scientists assume we’ll lose Miami and Bangladesh within the century,
… even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade’
… warming is already impacting, and will deeply impact, the unreached world.
… somewhat alarmist, but still worth a read. a lot of places missionaries work are getting hotter.
Death of the American trucker: full automation of the US highways
… this will impact other countries as well
… if you missed this September read from the Atlantic, check up on it now. Lots of good data.
… Related: the year we wanted the Internet to be smaller.
China: Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens (Wired UK)
“Talent hits a target that no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” ~Arthur Schopenhauer
“God gives us zero permission to hate someone simply because we disagree with he or she theologically or politically.” ~Rondell Trevino
“In 1800 only 5% of the world’s population lived in cities. 100 years later the number had risen to about 14%. But by the year 2000 over 1/2 of the world’s population could be counted as urban, and by the middle of the 21st century this will rise to 80%.” ~Michael Goheen, via Micah Fries
“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” ~C.S. Lewis
“Given the choice between action and delay, people will generally delay.” ~Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice.” ~John Berger
“A good recipe: be stubborn on the vision and strategy and flexible on the details and tactics.” ~Jeff Bezos
“Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.” ~Stephen Covey