Roundup #225

New Events

East Africa

Eritrea: has never had an election. Conversation
… A look at Eritrea’s president & political process …

Ethiopia: Violence in Benishangul Gumuz.  AllAfrica

Negotiations on the Dam reopen. AllAfrica
… Cairo warns “not be able to fill … without consequences”
… Egypt relies on the Nile for 90% of its water;
… Blue Nile contributes 85% of the Nile’s volume.

Somaliland: Taiwan trade fair in Hargeisa. Link
… open Taiwan, East Africa to Somaliland …

Northern Africa

Proposed changes to Algeria’s constitution, reviewed. Middle East Eye
… Article 2, Islam as the religion of the state, would remain …

The Mediterranean Red Prawn War. FP
… Italian fishermen being kidnapped off the coast of Libya.

Hell in the desert: Bangladeshis detained in lawless Libya. Daily Star
… migrant workers detained, tortured, extorted in camps in Libya … 
… families back home go in debt to pay traffickers …

Sudan: Darfur still caught between war and peace. MEMO
… despite the latest peace agreement, journeys through the heart of the 17-year armed conflict area is an arduous task… with major concerns about safety and security. “Peace is just another word with no real meaning. Nothing has changed on the ground…”

Sudan: protests continue into day 4.  MEMO

Western Africa

Nigeria: crowds ransack food warehouses during unrest.  Yahoo
… food meant for distribution during Covid lockdowns … 
… “We are hungry… there is plenty of food… gov’t cheating us by parking away this food” 
… looting comes after days of violent rioting following shooting of unarmed protesters …

Eastern Asia

Forecast 2025: China adjusts course.  MacroPolo
… “China will be a near-majority middle class for the first time” … 
… increasingly technological parity with Silicon Valley … 
… all under the aegis of a stronger Xi Jinping …

Dreams of a Red Emperor: the relentless rise of Xi Jinping.  LAT
… Xi Jinping seems himself a savior, anointed to steer the CCP/China away from corruption, foreign influence … 
… Xi is “a disciplinarian, not a revolutionary… driven by a need for control… an ethnic nationalist…” 
… explores origin myths/legends/realities of Xi. 

Babies
China: lingering fear of 3-child families.  Sixth Tone
… ended the 1-child policy, allowing everyone to have two children–
… but couples that have a third child face heavy fines.
Other parents aren’t interested in having more than 1 child.  Sixth Tone

Hong-Kong
Hong Kong activists continue to flee, seeking refuge in the West.  NYT
… China calls them “violent criminals”; they are the latest catalyst of deteriorating relations …
China warns UK not to offer citizenship to Hong Kong residents.  BBC

South-central Asia

Kyrgyzstan schedules early presidential elections for Jan 10.  RFE
… after weeks of political upheaval, marred Oct. parliamentary elections …
… Foreign Policy: protests won’t keep corrupt criminals out of politics. Link

Analysis: Kyrgyzstan’s protracted political, economic crisis.  Chatham House
… making the Central Asian state’s future even less predictable than usual …

India: Millions queueing to vote in Bihar’s elections..  Straits Times
… booths packed, little mask-wearing or social distancing …

Iran’s Covid death toll may be 4x the government’s official tally.  NBC
… would put the death toll at 100k to 135k out of 80-ish million …

South-eastern Asia

Myanmar: next month’s elections could worsen ethnic tensions.  Diplomat
… unlikely to translate to sufficient representation for minority groups … 
… will likely amplify disaffection with electoral politics among minorities …
Worse, decides to cancel voting in many precincts.  RFA
… without consulting local political groups,
… disenfranchise more than a million ethnic minority voters …

Millions affected as monsoon strikes Viet Nam.  UN

Western Asia

Iraq: Sunnis languish in camps, years after recapture of Mosul.  Guardian
… “The militias are not allowing us back”
… 400,000 who fled Isis still interned in the north …

Thousands of Iraqis head back to the streets to protest.  Post
… “Everything’s desperate… can anything change around here?” …

Lebanon: Beirut is a shambles, only refugees are helping.  Foreign Policy
… “govt is AWOL, international donors are wary,
… most reviled residents are making the difference”…

Saudi plans to end ‘kafala’ labor system for foreign workers.  Daily Star
… much criticized system has been called a form of indentured servitude,
… unclear what will replace it.

Saudi Arabia sets a target of 100 million tourists a year by 2030..  MEMO
… top tourism destinations are right now unable to reach that figure … 
… Paris is #1, averaging 90 million visitors per year as of 2018 …

Syria: the permanently dispossessed of their homes.  SyriaDirect
… 12 million Syrians displaced …

Yemeni children suffer record rates of acute malnutrition.  UN
… an ‘entire generation’ is at risk …

Nagorno-Karabak
Azerbaijan: a string of explosions, screams, blood.  NYT
… NYT has up an ongoing section, “The Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh” …
Third attempt at Karabakh cease-fire quickly collapses.  Hurriyet

Western Europe

Aftermath of more Charlie Hebdo cartoons…
Three people killed in French church knife attack.  WPost
… man shouting ‘Allahu akbar’, investigation opened … 
… probably meets the WCE technical definition of martyrdom …
French churches urged to heighten security.  CT
… all worship centers in Nice closed temporarily after attack …
Malaysia’s Dr Mahathir comments on France made waves….  Twitter
… but the entire thread is more than the one wave-making tweet …
Turkey’s Erdogan calls for a boycott of French products. Al-Monitor
… but, analysis: it’s more about distracting people from govt’s failings
After terror attacks, Muslims wonder about their place in France..  NYT

North America

USA, 2018: nones eclipse Catholics, Evangelicals.  @ryanburge
… Just ran across this chart in the NYT and tracked it back to Ryan’s original tweet with data from the GSS. Nones are not greater than Christians as a whole, but they are greater than any single chunk of Christianity.

Data

Covid-19

… 10/29: 44.8m cases, 1.17m deaths
… 10/23: 41m cases, 1.1m deaths
… 10/16: 40m cases, 1m deaths
… 10/9: 36.5m cases, 1.0m+ deaths
… 10/1: 34.4m cases, 1.0m+ deaths 
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT, CovidTracking.com

Infographic: how Covid-19 spreads through the air in various spaces.  Link

Impact of Covid-19 on remittances to Africa.  Brookings
… In Africa, 1 in 5 send or receive international remittances … 
… Since 2009, the flow has ~2X, now >5% of GDP in 15 countries … 
… 2019, $85 billion total in remittances … 
… Due to Covid-19, remittances projected to decline by 21% in 2020 …

The influence of the pandemic on baby booms/busts.  Economist
… Rich countries, fewer babies; poor countries, more.

Covid-bits
Vaccine likely ‘in next few months’, ‘normal’ unlikely before end-2021. SMH
Russia reinstates mask mandate, restricts nightlife. Link
France, Germany lock down as second Covid wave grows. NYT
China: Scores of cases in new outbreak in Xinjiang. RFA
43 Iranian cities (incl Tehran) under severe restrictions. Al-Monitor
Laos to reopen border to travelers from China. RFA
Police break up lockdown protests in Italy. Guardian

Reading

Women, children at greater risk of being trafficked, enslaved as pandemic deepens.  ReliefWeb

Second and third generation of diaspora Arabs are integrating into Brazil, but at the expense of their language and culture.  MEMO
… First generation held on to their language and culture; second and third are mostly monolingual in Portuguese.

Why Karachi floods.  ReliefWeb
An interesting deep dive into the complexities of flooding in Karachi’s situation: increased rainfall can and is being caused by climate change, but how that water is handled (or not) is also a significant factor in flooding.

The science that spans #MeToo, Memes, and Covid-19.  Wired
… A brief introduction to ‘network science’, with some good links to key reads on the subject … 
… network science can inform thinking about movements …

What happens if my church won’t send me as a missionary?  Upstream
… a good piece on leaning in to a church’s critique of your readiness … 
… but I could wish for a piece for what to do when the church doesn’t want to send for reasons unrelated to you …

Great Overland Routes: the Pamir Highway.  Overland
… picturesque travelog of a journey in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, …

Differing views of foreign threats in the USA.  Pew
… foreign policy experts vs the general public … 
… useful to remind us of the perceptions & fears of general public, donors, candidates, etc. While potential candidates may have come to grips with the nuanced realities of the places they will serve, their families & potential donors may not …

A consumeristic reset: having a “no-buy” year. Link

Technology/Futurism

UK Muslims turn to apps to find love, marriage in lockdown.  Al Jazeera

How to turn on Zoom’s new end-to-end encryption.  Fortune
… but, why you may not want to. …

Censor-Facebook
Pakistan’s PM asks Facebook to ban Islamophobic content.  BBC
Egypt says freedom of expression ‘stops’ when Muslims offended.  Reuters

How WeChat censors content for over a billion users.  Inkstone
… even pro-regime articles can get censored if they draw attention to an issue the Party does not want the public discussing …

Round the clock, three dimensional control: the ‘Xinjiang Mode’ of counterterrorism.  TheChinaStory
… “outside of the re-education centers, the region’s Turkic Muslim population is subjected to a dense network of hi-tech surveillance systems, checkpoints, and interpersonal monitoring…”

A different use for facial recognition.  NYT
… a Portland activist used it to identify police officers who taped over their names during protests …

Other small bits
Massive AI powered robots are 3D-printing rockets.  Wired
Flippy robots replacing burger flippers in fast food joints.  Engadget
Robotic couriers shifting into high gear in Chinese cities.  Straits Times

Quotable

“As Christians, we can live on one of three levels. We can return evil for good, which is the satanic level. We can return good for good and evil for evil, which is the human level. Or, we can return good for evil, which is the divine level.” ~Warren Weirsbe

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” ~George Orwell