Roundup 2018-03-02

New events

North-West Africa

Massive U.S. drone base could destabilize Niger (Intercept)

North Africa / Warring States

How Bani Walid, Libya became a major smuggling route in Libya

Fighting in southern city of Sabha left 6 dead, others wounded; sporadic clashes continue

Libya is not a fit state to hold an election

… but the intl community seems determined to organize one anyway

Egypt

People in Cairo suffer from extreme economic challenges (2:01 video)

… Cairo Necropolis: the ‘City of the Dead’: biggest graveyard, also home to 1.5 million

… ‘who have nowhere else to go.’

Western Africa / Lake Chad

Nigeria

Clashes between Muslim & Christian youths

…  re girlfriends, possibly forced conversions: 7 killed, 15 injured

And more violence this past Monday in Kaduna state.

110 girls unaccounted for after Boko Haram attack

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Somalia car bombings death toll rose to 45

Analysis: ‘The new way of working is not exactly new to Somalia

… an exploration of why aid programs are challenging

Somalia’s climate change refugees: 1 million displaced in 2017

… displaced by drought and conflict, rural Somalis heading to Mogadishu in 10s of 1000s

… rains have underperformed for four successive seasons

Uganda: women carry the burden of Ugandan war trauma

… a decade on, poverty & domestic abuse compound the conflict’s mental toll

Middle Africa / Lakes

Rwanda shuts 700 churches, one mosque over safety, hygiene

… ‘new law on operations of faith-based organizations… harder for new churches to be created…’

Southern Africa

Central Asia / Caucasus

Tajikistan: almost 2,000 mosques forcibly closed, converted to secular use in 2017

but the teacher fired for missing President’s speech was reinstated after media outcry

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Asian Christian groups visit holy sites in Israel year round: impact of Christian Zionism in Asia

… 3.6 million tourists in Israel in 2017, 54% Christian

CSM: World watches relentless barrage, cowering Syrians feel hopeless, abandoned

… despite UN resolution demanding cease fire, Syria continues to pound Ghouta

… ‘the regime is bombing civilians in their homes, not fighters on the front.’

a quick bullet-point explainer with graphs and numbers

Russia is launching a daily humanitarian pause and corridor for civilians to exit

But, then: women are free, and armed, in Kurdish controlled northern Syria

… ‘the patriarchy really is over… push for gender equality… power to enforce women’s rights…’

Saudi Arabia allows women to join the military

… roles do not appear to involve combat, but give opportunity to work in security

… ‘women and male guardians must have place of residence in same province as job’

and able to start own businesses without male permission (Newsweek Pakistan)

… ‘as kingdom pushes to expand a fast growing private sector’

Saudis attend country’s first jazz festival

… ‘men and women… bands from Riyadh, Beirut and New Orleans…’

General Entertainment Authority says will stage 5,000 shows, festivals, concerts in 2018

Turkey

Iran/Iraq

Iraqis returning to Mosul: current struggle is the disposal of bodies (Reuters TV, graphic content warning)

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

Ongoing violence in Afghanistan – more than 20 killed in attacks this week

… ‘lethal violence so endemic it is barely reported’: 10,000 civilian casualties last year

RFE Podcast on ‘the increasingly complicated political landscape of northern Afghanistan’ (40:57)

Afgh govt proposes recognition of Taliban, cease-fire, release of prisoners, etc.

… in exchange for recognition of Kabul government and respect of rule of law

… unfortunately this is a Pashtun president talking to Pashtun leaders of the Taliban

… ‘other tribes will find this offer divisive and provocative’ (NightWatch)

… ‘Taliban offer of talks was to the US, not the Ghani govt, which… wanted to bypass as a waste of time’

Kyrgyz trapped on the “roof of the world” in Afghanistan

… stuck in Wakhan Corridor, boxed in by political upheaval, violence, no roads, borders closed

800 Christian families flee neighborhood after blasphemy accusation

… mob gathers over a Facebook post

Dying young in Pakistan: babies have 1 in 22 chance of dying within first month

… ‘worse than neighboring war-torn Afghanistan, Cent Afr Repub, and other African countries’

… malnutrition, health education, healthcare training, more would be welcome

EU says Christian woman’s release will determine future trade with Pakistan

… renewal of trade deal (GSP+Status) dependent on release of Asia Bibi

India

BJP tweaks campaign for Christian-majority Meghalaya: avoiding ‘Hindutva’ politics

… Exit polls: BJP may win Tripura, consolidate in Meghalaya, Nagaland

Assam preparing to deport tens of thousands of ‘foreigners’

… ‘plan to evict mostly Muslim migrants…’

… ‘ID every resident who could demonstrate roots in Assam before 1971… deport the rest…’

Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet

Maldives / Sri Lanka

Maldives extends stage of emergency by 30 days

Bengali / Bangladesh

Plan to relocate Rohingya to Bhasan Char island (Reuters TV)

… but some of the island is under water at high tide, and is in route of hurricanes

How Bangladesh managed to drastically cut its newborn mortality rate

… from 64.2 per K in 1990 to 20.1 per K today.

China

Rather than link more, check ZGBriefs’ collection of articles today

… this is a particularly powerful curation of current trends in China

Government made waves by moving to eliminate term limits for President

Xi Jinping and the end of China’s term limits: an analysis

ChinaFile brings in a number of experts to comment on the move

… NYT: Xi Jinping Thought Explained: a new ideology for a new era

Apple moves to store iCloud keys in China, raising human rights fears

… some concerns over whether China can grab the servers, access data

iCloud service in China will be managed by a data firm started by the government

… Amnesty International: 5 things you need to know about Apple in China

… (including some workarounds to opt out of storing data in China)

Because China’s surveillance is the dystopian future nobody wants

… ‘monitoring tech pioneered in the region is spreading across China and the world’

Big data fuels crackdown in minority region (HRW)

On Christian Olympians from China (China Source)

Left Behind Children: Millions of Chinese kids are parenting themselves (video)

Japan

Koreas

The myth of the limited strike on N Korea: any US attack would risk a war

Even dictators like Kim Jong Un need to keep some people happy

… ‘officials and family members support Kim’s hold on the leadership position’

… why if Kim were gone, N Kor wouldn’t immediately fall/change/open

From Billy Graham to Trump era, he has engaged North Korea

… a profile of Stephen Linton.. ‘this guy is sort of a legend’

… great look at a long-spanning ministry, and some of the history of engagement

Expert say North Korea is incorporating free markets into its economy (BI)

… ‘undergoing a social revolution as a result’

In North Korea, Black Markets are saving Lives

… ’20% of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on markets’

Southeast Asia

‘Recent setbacks in democracy’ leads US to cut aid to Cambodia

the cuts will amount to $8.3 million in financial aid

Indonesia: 2 Christians flogged in public for playing banned children’s game in Aceh

… accused of gambling. ‘Sometimes choose flogging to avoid a lengthy trial/jail term’

Indonesia hopes for ‘exponential increase’ in tourist inflow from India

… seems like an ideal time for Indian CPM workers, trainers…

Chinese to build large tourism complex in Laos’ prime party town

… suggests Chinese are more welcome in Laos: possibly believers find openings?

Myanmar/Bangladesh: Rohingya see no end in sight, 6 months after attacks began

New system in Indonesia blocks more than 70,000 ‘negative’ websites

… reportedly porn, extremist ideology. Ability to monitor, censor, report…

Indonesia’s right-ward tilt under liberal president

… religious conservatives managed to increase their influence in past two years

Notable Europe / Americas

1 French woman in 8 has been raped, study shows (BBC)

… 4 million French women, 12% of total

Bill banning circumcision in Iceland alarms religious groups

… is it secularization? is it anti-religion? conflicting opinions.

Vatican to host training conference for exorcisms in Italy

… ‘demand for exorcisms is up three-fold’

Raised by ISIS, returned to Chechnya (NYT)

… ‘these children saw terrible things’

Labor market integration of refugees in Northern Europe

… 2.7 million asylum seekers: ‘largest mass movement in Europe since WW2’

… lots of churches are seeing lots of refugees: lots of ministry opportunities

New global data

MissioNexus shares new infographic: where US missionaries are sent

Hunger at the heart of UN conference in Sudan: 220 million hungry across continent (video)

International migration from subsaharan Africa up over 30% since 2010 (Pew)

… N African nations also have significant outmigration to Europe

… about 5.2 million N Africans live in EU countries

Longer reads & Resources

NatGeo: Some of the world’s biggest lakes are drying up. Here’s why.

CNN: People Smuggler: “Don’t struggle if you’re raped”

… ‘CNN producer Leposo and I went undercover as two wealthy women paying for travel package from Nigeria to Europe’

… this is more about the possibility & expectations of the journey; the reporters cut out of the trip at first stage.

… the casualness of what is expected on the road is horrifying.

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

25 principles of adult behavior

… not overtly Biblical but not anti either, and some real gems here.

3 principles for how to “work smarter, not harder”

… a book review/introduction of a new book by Prof. Morten Hansen

… ‘7 behaviors that make up 66% of the difference in how people performed’: looks interesting

Which is better, Global Entry or Mobile Passport?

… this article says his experience is: Mobile Passport is quicker

Startups, Strategy, Books

Most leaders know their strengths, but are oblivious to their weaknesses (HBR)

… ‘often completely unaware of their fatal flaws’

… ‘extreme weaknesses… everyone else can see clearly… leader rarely does’

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Futuristics/Technology

a16z Podcast: The State of [Cyber] Security (17:37)

… I haven’t listened to this yet, but it’s got some good participants and probably worthwhile

… also, a podcast on the self-flying camera: truly autonomous commercial small drone

Getting off oil/coal/gas: Over 100 cities get majority of electricity from renewables

… 40 cities currently operate on 100% renewable electricity.

The robots are coming for garment workers

… ‘good for the U.S., bad for poor countries…’

… ‘automation… transforming sweatshops in places like Bangladesh…’

Malwarebytes’ 2017 State of Malware Report (PDF: 32pp)

Quotable

I regard it as a criminal waste of time to go through the slow and painful ordeal of ascertaining things for one’s self if these same things have already been ascertained and made available by others. ~Thomas Edison 

Life is about decisions. If you want to change, make a decision. Decisions build habits. ~@bradlomenick

The unlettered peasant who knows the doctrines of grace by deep experience, and hence will never let them go, is as true a guardian of the gospel treasure as the most profound scholar; and perhaps far more so. ~Spurgeon