Roundup 2018-02-23

Roundup 2018-02-23

New events

North-West Africa

Algeria: The brutal world of sheep fighting

… the illegal sport beloved by Algeria’s “lost generation”

Tunisia tourism booms as terrorism fears abate

… hit a record high in 2018, reversing damage..

… ‘aim to receive 8 million tourists this year’

… also, Tunisian doctors sound alarm on health system collapse

… doctors emigrating in increasing numbers, threatening system’s capacity

in Tunis suburb, a revolutionary demand: jobs, not freedoms

… ‘our problem isn’t politics or freedoms: it’s unemployment & marginalization’

North Africa / Warring States

Benghazi’s tech community looks to Estonia as Libya’s best hope

… part 1 of 2 about Libya’s technologists and entrepreneurs

Tortured and held for ransom: a child migrant’s story (CNN Video, 2:53)

Egypt

Western Africa / Lake Chad

Nigeria

Over 90 schoolgirls missing after Boko Haram attack

… largest abduction since 270 taken from Chibok in 2014

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Suspected Al-Shabaab militants kill 3 Christians in NE Kenya

… Qarsa Primary School: killed 2 Christian teachers + one wife

Sit-down strike in Gondar, Amhara, Ethiopia to protest emergency rule

… state of emergency imposed 24 hours after resignation of PM

US issues a level 2 (exercise increased caution) travel advisory for Ethiopia

Middle Africa / Lakes

Crumbling Congo: the making of a humanitarian emergency (IRIN)

… the DRC has been at war with itself for more than 2 decades

Southern Africa

Central Asia / Caucasus

Amendments impose even tighter state control of religions in Tajikistan

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

CSM explores roots of Israel-Iran long-running rivalry

… back to 1979 and Iran’s revolution

Israel, Iran trading jabs in speeches: ‘Tel Aviv will be raised to the ground’

CNN: A look at Iran & Saudi’s “bitter rivalry” (10min)

… Proxy wars: ‘it will get worse before it gets better’

Syria: horrific siege of Eastern Ghouta

bombardment takes its deadliest toll in years

government attacks kill more than 100 (CNN video, graphic)

335 killed in the past week

… ‘How de-escalation allowed Assad to return to war

… also: Syria+Kurds against Turkey as battle rages in Afrin.

Will ‘powers’ end up in direct war? More likely, current war prolonged

Turkey

As Turkey’s emergency rule continues, so will rights abuses, Amnesty says

Turkey eyes more business with West African trade bloc

Iran/Iraq

Attacking Sufis in Iran: clashes between dervishes and police

… ‘small demonstrations have become a part of life in Iran…’

… ‘more than 30% of people below the poverty line…’

… ‘3 million hard drug users… human smuggling a thriving business…’

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

Pakistan: Christian arrested for ‘blasphemy’ to appease Islamist throng

… hundreds of Christian families fled their homes near Lahore

… but, reportedly, govt unveils fatway against ‘blasphemy vigilantes’

… (haven’t been able to confirm this from any other mainstream source)

Afghanistan: ’25 crammed in an apartment receive Christ in unison

… hard to imagine but there are other similar reports sporadically shared

India

The peculiar position of India’s third gender

… a look at the hijra, often caught in the sex trade

Evangelical Fellowship of India says persecution of Christians is on the rise

… ‘worst persecution in 2017 for 10 years…’

… Catholic News UCA: ‘Hindu attacks on Christians double in India

Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet

Maldives / Sri Lanka

Bengali / Bangladesh

China

Op/Ed: Why aren’t Chinese women having more babies?

… ‘authorities terrified by plummeting birth rates, aging population, shrinking labor force’

The long arm: in Australia, being loyal to Taiwan can mean losing a job

… ‘Is Taiwan part of China?… a half-hour later, she was fired.’

Expat Life in China: 5 biggest changes over the past decade

… train tickets, mobile payments, view of ‘foreign experts,’ Internet changes, purchase imports

China’s Hui Muslims fear education ban signals wider religious crackdown

… curbs in Gansu province will lead to more sweeping restrictions a la Xinjiang

Posted double-digit growth in tourism revenue during CNY holiday

… Gaungdong, Sichuan, Hunan received most of the tourists

… but overseas travel remained popular: tourists from China to 200 cities in 68 countries

… anyone thinking about outreach to CNY tourists in other places? maybe helpful, maybe not…

Japan

The isolated lives of Japan’s social recluses

… another definition of ‘unreached’

… on the other hand, most Young Japanese are surprisingly content

… ‘less happy than their peers in other developed countries, but…

… ‘compared with their elders, a higher proportion of 15-to-29s are “content”‘

Koreas

CNN reports S Korea has an assassination squad trained to kill Kim Jong Un

… ‘decapitation unit’ in the event of war: probably old news

… worth bearing in mind that taking out one leader does not automatically equal a win

… N Korea is a mafia state; there are others in government who would take over

… The death of Qaddafi in Libya did not equate to immediate openness, democracy, peace

N Korea says ‘fully ready for both dialogue and war’

… and, failed Olympians hope to avoid dangerous consequences

How Billy Graham took his crusade to North Korea (and opened way for others)

… NightWatch special comment: “Kim Il-sung admired the Reverend Graham. Special comment.  One of the little-known oddities of North Korean leadership is that Kim Il-sung was an admirer of the late Reverend Graham. Graham made two trips to North Korea, in 1992 and in 1994. He had a personal visits with Kim Il-sung and the two were photographed together. Graham’s trips were at Kim’s request. In 1994, Kim reportedly asked Reverend Graham to pray for him. It was rumored that Kim Il-sung became a closet Christian convert before he died.”

Southeast Asia

Fierce but frail, Malaysia’s Mahathir (92) aims to topple protege

… this time allying himself with opposition figures he once repressed

N Myanmar bombing signals strife beyond the Rohingya

… northern Shan state; there are other struggles than the Rohingya

… ‘fighting in Myanmar’s borderlands is at its worst in years’

Notable Europe / Americas

Venezuela’s deepening crisis triggers mass migration into Colombia

5 dead in church shooting in Dagestan, Russia: motive not immediately known

New global data

Transparency International: countries moving too slowly against corruption

… new Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 report is out

Infant deaths common in the developing world: Economist Graphic

… babies in rich countries 50x more likely to survive

Mapping Africa’s natural resources: nice Al Jazeera graphic

A contrarian view on the likely total population by 2050 to 2100

… IIASA says world will reach 9.5 billion by 2070, peak, decline below 9 billion by 2100

… UN projects 10 billion by 2050.

… Most of these pop estimates driven by unreached areas’ pops, thus bigger context for remaining task

World Bank PDF: Cities of Refugee in the Middle East

… ‘Bringing an urban lens to the forced displacement challenge’

The world’s most miserable economies

… 3 are unreached countries: Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

Longer reads & Resources

Billy Graham passed away at 99; Christianity Today has a great retrospective

… long collection of articles they obviously spent a lot of time and effort preparing

In some countries, you can “buy” citizenship

… Cyprus, Estoniah, UAE, elsewhere…

… related: digital nomads are hiring and firing their governments (‘networked sovereignty’)

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

iPhone Battery Life Hacks: all you need to know

… 15 supremely useful tips; the concepts would probably apply to Android phones and iPads as well 

What to do when common time management tricks don’t work

… this article looks at ‘opposite’ strategies that may be helpful in some instances

… try a ‘stop doing’ list, schedule procrastination breaks, theme your days, etc.

A very brief look at 8 challenges every expat has to face

… think of these as FAQs that you’ll probably need to find answers for

Which is the best language to learn?

… different writers sound off.

Startups, Strategy, Books

I’m focusing my reading on two books: “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics” and “Thinking in bets: making smarter decisions when you don’t have all the facts”. Both of these books extend others’ writings (like Thinking, Fast and Slow and Little Bets). The main thrust of these books is about how we make decisions in situations of uncertainty, and how to prevent our default biases from edging us into poor decisions. This is an important topic particularly for missions, where we often have outlier situations and very little data to go on. Both Misbehaving and Thinking in Bets are written in an extremely accessible, ‘popular’ style, while still giving case studies that reveal areas of decision-making all of us encounter in day to day life.

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Winter on the Silk Road: amazing, beautiful photography from China, Central Asia

What a Uighur duty looks and sounds like – 4:00 Youtube video

The good, the bad and ugly sides to a holiday in Rajasthan state

Off-roading in Kyrgyzstan: where the streets have no name

… ‘spectacular scenery, fascinating nomadic culture define 7-day off-roading trip’

Futuristics/Technology

Apple News is driving a lot of traffic

… if you want to keep up with what’s happening, News is a great curation tool

but there’s also Flipboard, with 100m monthly active users

declining FB reach squeezes publisher’s branded content business

… probably impacting most agencies’ mobilization outreach there, too…

Thanks to Trump, more milk will be coming from robots

… more than half of dairy workers are immigrants.

… hard-line US policies are making immigrant laborer harder to come by

… ‘robots can cut the number of workers on a dairy farm by 50%’

Another look at “the best VPNs” for Mac users

WeChat releases official data set for the 6 days of Chinese New Year

… 229.7 billion messages, 17.5 billion minutes of video/audio

… 768 million red packets

Strava’s privacy PR nightmare shows you can’t trust social fitness apps to protect your data

… companies still aren’t taking user privacy seriously enough

… so you need to figure it out for yourself

Off grid solar energy takes root in West Africa

… are there some tent making or BAM possibilities here?

Quotable

“You absolutely cannot make a series of good decisions without first confronting the brutal facts.” ~Jim Collins

“Success in ministry is never God’s endorsement of your character. Success in ministry is God’s revelation of His character.” ~Paul David Tripp

“Don’t pray to be safer. Pray to be braver.” ~George Snyman

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~Eric Hoffer

“Father, I want to know thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys.” ~A. W. Tozer

“God’s silence in our lives does not equate to his neglect or absence of work.” ~Micah Fries

“If we only ‘go where you’re loved’ we end up hanging with people just like us and lose out on the amazing uniqueness of our world. We must be brave and go where we are not yet understood.” ~Jon Hirst

“It’s a travesty when we keep Christianity to ourselves and we don’t multiply at every level.” ~Dave Ferguson

“Every man comes to a fork in the road and you have to decide if you want to be somebody or do something.” ~John Boyd

“Typically, we try to do with money what we should do with witness.” ~Nik Ripken