Roundup 151

Don’t Miss

Beyond’s next Disciple Making Training Nugget:
Biblical Evangelism: How to Share the Gospel the Jesus Way
Tuesday, March 12, 7pm-8:30pm
Ever about whether there was a strategy behind the way Jesus shared the Gospel? We’ll examine this question more closely in the next Nugget. Through scripture we will learn more about Jesus’ model for reaching the lost, and a Beyond field director will share key principles in Jesus’ strategy. This Nugget will provide practical training on how to reach those who have not heard the Gospel. We look forward to having you join us: invite a friend or your Bible study fellowship as well!

New events

How China exports repression to Africa – Link
… China’s ‘techno-dystopian expansionism’ is undermining democracy in African countries. (But contrast this narrative with the evangelism/conversion of many Chinese by Africans in previous issue.)

North Africa

Algerian police used tear gas after 3 days of antigovernment protests: Thousands in various cities to protest Bouteflika standing for another presidential election. – Link

There was speculation the 75-year-old Sudan strongman al-Bashir might announce his resignation on Friday. But he’s not stepping down just yet: instead, he dissolved Sudan’s national and state governments and ordered a show of force in the streets of the capital, Khartoum. – Link
… Sudanese protesters defy ban on rallies amid crackdown – Link

West Africa

Nigeria elections:
Three dozen killed, election tightest since end of military rule in 1999. – Link
Buhari won, and the electoral map is pretty interesting. – Link
Analysis: The challenges awaiting Buhari in this term: – Link

East Africa

More and more people need humanitarian aid in South Sudan: Acutely food insecure people shot up 13% since January 2018. – Link

West Asia

The rise of Islamic finance on China’s Belt and Road: China has “made efforts to establish outbound Islamic financing frameworks.” – Link

Eight more arrests of Christians in IranLink

South Asia

Afghanistan: “Peace, peace,” but…
Some leaders believe Taliban serious about peace – Link
Taliban sees ’foreign forces withdrawal key to peace’ – Link
… I’m sure they do. Foreign troops are what have maintained the stalemate. ‘Our people will be included in the national army.’
War killed a record number of civilians in 2018 – Link
Nearly 40 militants killed in Afghan Special Forces ops & airstrikes – Link
Ex-Taliban official: ‘No Afghan peace deal if air raids continue’ – Link
‘The new Afghanistan will be built on ceasefire solutions and Taliban tradeoffs’ – Link
… ‘We hope credible assurances on human rights are addressed too.’ Likely?
… ‘Until talks occur between the Taliban and [the government], hard to get enthused…’
‘Don’t sacrifice Afghan women’ freedoms for a flawed peace deal’ – Link
… the freedoms of women can be the “canary in the coal mine” signaling reversion to brutal Taliban rule

Lots of eyes on the deepening Pak-India Kashmir crisis – Link
… also, lots of saber-rattling talk about nuclear brinkmanship.
… Pakistan says it will release pilot in gesture of peace – Link
… A NYT explainer for why the two countries keep fighting over Kashmir – Link
… My read: this will settle down.

Balochistan: China’s Achilles heel – Link
… “crucial to the success of the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor, but … Baloch nationalists up in arms against what they see as Beijing’s designs to exploit the area”

Tajikistan’s troubled Pamir region – Link, $
… “Appears little in mainstream media… The less visible events and processes that inform violent incidents, often reaching much further into Tajikistan’s past, have received little recognition internationally.”

India: ‘Free pass for mobs’ – Link
… re vigilante murders of religious minorities is about ‘cow protection groups’ attacking Muslims, Dalits and others. But it illustrates a broader trend—China has surveillance; India seems to be enabling conditions that incite mob violence. This impacts relations with Christians also.
… Related: New York Times: “As many as 90% of religion-based hate crimes in the last decade occurred after Mr Modi took office.” – Link
… and, case in point: New Martyr: Orissa Christian beheaded for his faith: “The murderous fury was triggered by his conversion to Christianity nine months ago, followed by that of the whole family. According to the locals, the Hindu radicals of the village never accepted it…” – Link

Nirvana and ‘glamping’ – Link
… The 2019 Kumbh Mela was the biggest and most expensive, but some holy men were not impressed – “too corporate, to luxurious” meant few coming to stay with holy men, give alms. A fascinating look with great photos.

Indian Hindu Nationalism’s Nepali Cousin – Link
… “Hindu nationalism has taken hold in India but in Nepal things are more complicated…” Interesting: “The BJP is expected to struggle to maintain its hold on power” in the April India elections.

East Asia

The discovery of an unsecured database reveals how a Chinese surveillance company tracked the movements of 2.5 million people in Xinjiang. – Link

China says ‘preventive’ work in Xinjiang detention camps should be applauded – Link
… The very definition of spin: “China will continue to make its due contribution toward the global fight against terrorism.”

China’s demographic crisis is a reality – Link
… Peak new births was hit in 2016; simply removing the 1-child policy won’t be enough to stabilize the fertility rate. “China’s share of the world’s population will decline rapidly.”
… in the long run, this will have a significant impact on China’s influence.

China’s economy as told through the world’s biggest building – Link
… A look inside how China operates: “started evaluating officials by how quickly the economy grew under their watch.” Reminds me of the old anecdote I’ve heard: China is ruled by men, not laws.

In photos: young people left behind in China’s snowbound rust belt – Link
… ‘capture a loneliness the photographer saw in his own trek from village to city.’
… and, Living by the rivers: a roundup of China’s best photojournalism – Link

The end for China’s notorious household registration system? – Link
… reviewing the hukou system as the country grapples with an ageing population and a shrinking workforce. (Changes would not apply to the 4 largest cities.)

US President ends meeting with N Korea early – Link

In Pictures: Growing up in North Korea – Link
… “I travelled to eight out of North Korea’s nine provinces… not many outsiders get a chance to visit the country… pictures highly restricted and controlled…”

North Korea: a 1.4 million ton food shortfall in 2019 – Link

Southeast Asia

Indonesia’s Democratic Discontent – Link, $
… “At first glance, this year’s election might appear to be just a rematch…”

Data

Infographic: how to pray for Hindus: – Link

Reading

Care for migrants is changing the world of religion – Link
… “Humanitarian corridors are an impressive case of inter-faith cooperation in a humanitarian cause.”

The city of Angkor Wat died a slow death – Link
… in the “early Middle Ages,” 0.1% of Earth’s population lived in this city

Jeff Bezos’ Annual Letter to Shareholders is as always instructive – Link
… mission agencies could learn from this clear articulation of principles—I know I do

Future, Tech

Top 10 social media tools in 2019 – Link

Humanity+AI: Better Together – Link
… Explores many of the ML/AI apps being developed to automate repetitive tasks, including some that could impact missions (DialPad, etc).

One answer to rule them all – Link
… Amazon Alexa and audio assistants: as we move into a world of voice answers to questions, we are moving away from a Google-style list of answers and their nuance. Control of the “one perfect answer” to a question could have enormous consequences. 

China’s social credit system bares its teeth – Link
… Millions are banned from planes and trains, labeled ‘untrustworthy’

Surveillance Capitalism – Link
… China’s powerful surveillance state has created at least four billionaires
… wealth collecting around acquisition/sale of data = powerful force to draw more players, expect more surveillance

China uses DNA to track its people – Link
… with the help of American companies

OTOH: Is China’s social credit system as Orwellian as it sounds? – Link
… “in which a government mechanism is welcomed by many citizens fed up with rampant fraud, counterfeit products and public health failures.”

You must be positive – Link
… China’s censors are purging the internet of millennial angst.

How does moderating the junk on social media impact moderators? – Link
… If “as man thinks in his heart, so is he” then what happens to the people who have to moderate the sinful natures of mankind all day?

Famed hacker Kevin Mitnick shows how to go (almost) invisible online – Link

Streaming possessions – declining costs + increasing shipping speed = replay ownership with the physical equivalent of streaming media – Link
… but will ‘stuff subscriptions’ bring you joy?

AI+AutoDrive+Drones+Weapons = Turning tanks into autonomous killing machines? Link