Roundup #223

New Events

North Africa/Egypt-Sudan (266M)

Starvation used as a weapon of war in S Sudan conflict. Link
… food insecurity in W Bahr el Ghazal, Jonglei, C Equatoria
… “intentionally deprived communities of critical resources”

East Africa/Horn (520M)

Eastern Sudan rocked by protests, calls for independence. Link
… “historically marginalized tribe” [Beja] “leads unprecedented calls for a secession of Eastern Sudan after a controversial peace deal”

Also, Sudan protests over shortages of bread and fuel and rising food prices. Link
… “prices have doubled, some cases tripled… many eating only one meal a day”

Uganda: thousands finally return to places of worship. Link

Flooding hits 6 million people in East Africa. Link
… # affected by seasonal flooding increased 5x in 4 years

2 million Somalis face acute food insecurity crisis. Link
… “combined effects of widespread, severe flooding, Desert Locust infestation, Covid-19, cumulative impacts of previous shocks”…

Djibouti (<2%C) building the largest free trade zone in Africa. Link
… gateway for 90% of Ethiopia’s imports
… $3.5-billion China-backed initiative

West Africa/Nigeria-Sahel (457M)

Senegal: “The pilgrimage must go on.” Link
… pilgrims from across Senegal flock to holy city of Touba …
… “festival that could draw millions” despite Covid concerns
… West Africa’s largest religious gathering–the Magal
… “pilgrims do not book hotel rooms–residents open up homes”

How religion inspires the Nigerian diaspora to play a role in Africa’s development. Link

In Togo, there is no place to hide. Link
… Africa’s oldest single-family autocracy is tightening its grip with foreign made surveillance tools.

West Asia/Saudi-Iran (303M)

Emirates resumes flights to some European cities. Link

#ArmeniaVsAzerbaijan
Rockets, cluster munitions rain down on civilians. Link
Is N-K conflict a Christian-Muslim clash, or simply politics? Link
Stereotypes, hatred drive Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Link
Turkey strongly backing Azerbaijan. Link
Presence of Syrian mercenaries in Azerbaijan. Link
Iran warns war could escalate into regional conflict. Link
… This NYT op/ed agrees, explores reasons. Link
Karabakh’s critical supply line fights to stay open. Link
Half of N-K population displaced by clashes. Link
On the road to Karabakh: a report’s diary. Link

Iran hits highest Covid death toll since July. Link
… now at 475,000 cases and 27,000 deaths confirmed.
… “just the confirmed numbers… likely numbers are higher…”

This is perhaps one of the most fearsome videos of the Beirut blast I have seen. Really gives you an idea of the impact on the city and its people. Link

Saudi eases restrictions for Umrah pilgrims. Link
… first group of worshippers allowed into Grand Mosque …

Long-read: “A threat from within”: Iraq & the rise of its militias. Link

South-central Asia (2.1B)

India seeks up to 500m Covid-19 vaccine doses by July. Link
Outbreak spreads through rural areas. Link
… refusals to be tested: “we can’t afford to quarantine”
… infections rippling into every corner of the country
… megacities have populous mostly on guard
… rural India is resisting… no one wearing masks… no social distancing

“Awaiting the migrant.” Link
… a look at the travails of migrant workers in India …
… AP seeing a “severe shortage of workers”

Pakistan’s drug habit is endangering the region. Link
… long-read reminder in Diplomat of the “Golden Crescent”

Kyrgyzstan: “on edge of chaos”. Link
… Police, protesters clash in post-election melee. Link
… Anarchic power transition unfolds under shadow of violence. Link
… as dawn breaks, protestors control government buildings. Link
… 2 presidents have been overthrown in the past 15 years
… PM Boronov resigns amid protests of vote-rigging. Link
… parliament election results cancelled. Link
… opposition groups make rival power grabs after toppling govt. Link
… no clear leadership after days of unrest. Link

East Asia (1.6B)

“Chinese Christians deserve a better label than persecuted.” Link
… an important and informative long-read from Brent Fulton in CT, exploring four different narratives often shared about the Chinese church, and how we need to move beyond these stereotypes.

Phase 1 Study: China’s experimental vaccine appears safe. Link

China forcing 500,000 Tibetans into labor camps. Link

America closes immigration door to 91.9 million communists in China. Link
Pew: Negative views of China soar in 14 (mostly Western) countries. Link
… these trends could impact both recruitment & deployment …

Chinese families postponing plans to send kids abroad to study. Link
… 4 out of 5 affluent Chinese parents with children studying foreign curriculums, taking foreign examinations, say they have postponed plans to send kids abroad;
… concerns mount among wealthy, middle-class mainland Chinese after US revoked 1,000 visas of graduate students.
… continued trend impacting ministry to international students

China ramps up a war of words over Taiwan. Link
… and Economist asks if America would have the stomach for a fight. Link
… “prospect of war remains remote, but…”
… watching this trend carefully. incr propaganda could blunder into actual clashes.

Japan to allow travel to 12 (largely East/SE Asian) countries. Link

Southeast Asia (700M)

Protests spread across Indonesia over jobs law. Link
… in 60 locations spread from Aceh to Papua, over 1 million participating.

Protests against Thai government, monarchy continue to escalate. Link
Anti-govt groups make demands ahead of October 14th protest. Link

Thailand Health Ministry wants to reduce foreign tourist mandatory quarantine period to 10 days for those arriving from ‘safe’ countries (#TravelBubble). Link

Haven far from home: the Bosniaks of Malaysia. Link
… interesting ethnography that explores the history of a diaspora

Singapore’s Changi Airport suffers 35% drop in profits. Link
… “has a ‘daunting’ forecast for the future of air transit”

Others/West (1,125M)

USA, graph: not much evidence of evangelical collapse in the last decade; in fact, some evidence of a small increase in size. @ryanburge

Only 4 European countries are below crucial Covid level. Link
… ‘alarm threshold is 7-d average of 20 cases per 100,000 people’
… (only 2 states and 2 islands are below that in the USA.)

France: Paris will close bars, cafes for 2 weeks. Link
… stemming a surge of covid cases in the capital …

New Data

Covid-19

… 10/9: 36.5m cases, 1.0m+ deaths
… 10/1: 34.4m cases, 1.0m+ deaths 
… 9/25: 32.3m cases, 984k deaths 
… 9/11: 28.1m cases, 909k deaths 
… 9/4: 26.0m cases, 862k deaths 
… 8/28: 24.2m cases, 826k deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYTCovidTracking.com

Africa-wide confirmed Covid cases near 1.5 million. Link

Head of emergencies at the WHO thinks roughly 10% of the world has been infected with coronavirus (20x confirmed case total). Link

Other data

UNODC Report: interlinkages between trafficking in persons and marriage. Link

New Longreads

PDF: Ten ways to make ten friends from unreached people groups. Link

Viral effects are not network effects. Link
… viral = existing customers bring new customers for free
… network = each customer adds incremental value for all customers
… most PR efforts on mission-related websites are viral, not network

EMQ Oct/Dec 2020: Rethinking People Group Missiology. Link
… member-only content, but many readers will be part of orgs with access. Summation of a many-month conversation (of which I was part).

Op/Ed: Coronavirus church closures are not persecution. Link
… from a writer who spent 20 years in intl religious freedom work

No email should take more than 5 minutes to write. Link
… (ideally, no more than 30 seconds.)

Futuristics & Technology

CommonPass app, the “answer to Covid-free air travel?” Link
… beginning trials now.
… digital health pass designed to allow travelers to carry their Covid-19 test status in a standardized, global format.

Want to see what the detonation of a 50-megaton thermonuclear bomb looks like? Recently released, previously classified footage will show you. 40 minute video, the detonation is about 22:30. Link

Long essay: the end of the American Internet. Link
… 80 to 90% of Internet users are now outside the USA
… more smartphone users in China than USA+W Europe

Pew deep dive on Americans sourcing news from Youtube. Link

Atlanta Falcons uses ‘disinfecting drones’ to sanitize the stadiums. Link

Swarms of Azeri drones vs Armenian tanks & artillery. Link
… a new iterative advance in warfare

State of AI Report 2020. Link
… deep, technical PPT. I haven’t gotten through it yet.

Youtube’s plot to silence conspiracy theories. Link
… “It turns out that human nature is awful, and the algorithms have figured this out, and that’s what drives engagement.”
… new AI changes reduced watch time of ‘borderline content’ by 70%