Roundup 242

New Events

East Africa

Kenya plans to close Dadaab, Kakuma refugee camps, home to numbers of Somalis.  CNN
… gave UNHCR two weeks to present a plan for camp closure … 
… camps together host more than 410,000, largely from Somalia … 
… Dadaab established 30 years ago, at its peak hosted over 500,000 …

Mozambique: Cabo Delgado displacement could reach 1 million.  UN
… US military advisers have deployed to help Mozambique.  BBC
For 3+ years, northern Mozambique has been ravaged by violence and destruction.  NPR
… ‘The stories are heartbreaking’ …

Tanzania’s first female president urges country to unite after death of Covid-19 sceptic Magufuli.  Reuters

Political unrest: Uganda told to end abductions of opposition supporters.  Reuters

Tigray-war: some possible paths toward peace, but a long road to reconciliation, healing
Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: a rare view inside the conflict zone.  BBC
Ethiopia PM says Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its troops from the Tigray region. Al Jazeera
Fear and hostility simmer as Ethiopia’s military keeps hold on Tigray.  NYT
… accounts of atrocities keep coming in, as the wounded flee to Mekelle …
MSF staff say they witnessed soldiers killing civilians. BBC
Doctors say rape is being used as a weapon of war in Ethiopia’s conflict.  CNN
UNHCR reaches destroyed refugee camps in northern Tigray. UNHCR
… some 20,000 refugees lived in the camps, both of which had been looted, vandalized, destroyed.
A border war looms between Sudan and Ethiopia as Tigray conflict sends ripples through region.  WPost

Middle Africa

Could a popular movement end Chadian President’s 30 year term? AllAfrica

Northern Africa

Libya’s eastern administration hands power to interim government.  Al Jazeera
… the interim executive still faces daunting challenges …
… ‘Libya has staged an unlikely comeback’: a good survey of the current position.  WPost

Western Africa

Suspected jihadists attack villages in Niger, kill 137.  Guardian
… just one more data point in the long-running trend; over 300 dead this year …

Eastern Asia

Clothing retailer H&M “erased” from Chinese e-commerce over Xinjiang stance. WSJ

Think Covid’s messed up your travel plans? try getting into China.  NYT
… to keep the virus out, Beijing enacted some of the world’s toughest border controls … 
… solo travel, month-long quarantines, China-made vaccines, and swabs …

Facebook moves against ‘evil eye’ hackers targeting Uighurs outside China.  Wired

China’s Social Credit System in 2021.  Merics
… a deep dive into where the system is now, and where it’s going …

International spectators to be barred from entering Japan for Olympics.  Reuters
… could affect sports ministries? …

N Korea fires 2 short-range missiles, but US plays the tests down.  Reuters
… and some thoughts that NKor may be holding back a bit, even in the tests.  AP

How North Korea evades sanctions to get oil.  NYT
… where there’s a will, there’s a way to sustain a government …

South & Central Asia

The economic struggle Afghanistan faces, which drives people turning to militancy – NYT
… The Taliban and the Afghani government have an uneasy truce forged by fear of IS 
… high poverty levels, absence of govt jobs and aid projects push some toward IS
How 20 years of conflict have reshaped Afghanistan’s capital. WPost
In Kabul’s streets, dogs [and thieves] rule the night.  NYT
New weapon in Kabul: sticky bombs slapped on cars trapped in chaotic traffic. AP
… “used by militants, criminals, and those trying to settle personal scores”
… “sticky bombs can be made for about $25 and are easy to carry”

And, Hazara students pursue education at bombed academies.  NYT

Bangladesh: Thousands homeless after fire tears through Rohingya camp.  NYT

India: once every 12 year festival will draw 150m to Haridwar, Uttarakhand.  Reuters
… massive religious gathering worries India as Covid-19 cases surge…
… And a story of young boys who dive to pick up the coins tossed in rituals in the Ganges.  MSN

‘Terrible tradition’: Pakistan’s crippling dowries put huge burden on poor brides.  RFE
… marriage proposals fall through because families of potential grooms demand hefty dowry … 
… laws limit dowries, but rarely enforced or followed … 
… women susceptible to domestic violence when in-laws unhappy with a dowry …

Turkmenistan: Internet welcome, but no VPNs allowed.  Eurasianet
… policy of making the Internet more widely available, but stepping up controls too …

South-eastern Asia

Myanmar-coup: protests probably continue to grind, but increasing possibility of violence.
Britain, US impose sanctions on Myanmar military-controlled businesses. Reuters
Economic pressure is unlikely to force Myanmar’s junta to retreat.  Economist ($)
… Myanmar protesters answer military’s bullets with an economic shutdown.  NYT
… country is at a stand still, strikers hope actions will force army to return power …
Alarming rise in preparation for armed response to military coup:
… Inside the ‘spring revolution’ opposing Myanmar’s military coup.  Reuters
… ‘I will die protecting my country’: students/office workers being trained as resistance troops.  NYT
… Amid Myanmar’s post-coup crisis, armed rebellion brews.  Al Jazeera
UN expert calls for emergency consultation, says conditions ‘likely to worsen.’ UN

Western Asia

New Christian sites in Israel are ready for pilgrims.  Jerusalem Post
… in 2019, Christian pilgrims made up half of Israel’s 4.55 million tourists …

Lebanon’s financial collapse hits where it hurts: the grocery store.  NYT
… once affordable foods have soared out of reach …
… Specter of civil conflict as economic meltdown gives way to violence.  CNN

Turkey withdraws from 2011 Istanbul Convention protecting women.  AFP

Saudi offers a comprehensive cease-fire in Yemen; Houthis demand end to blockade first.  WPost

The container ship blocking the Suez Canal will lead to global economic disruption. Bloomberg
… ships are already re-routing around Africa. WPost
… blockage is holding up $9.6 billion of goods per day. BBC

North America

USA: More than half of evangelicals will be back in church for Easter.  CT
… Catholics, black & mainline Protestants are waiting to return …

Data

Fascinating interactive view of migrant transfers, 2019.  Link
… rotate the globe to see where people are coming from, going to …

Covid-19
… 3/25: 124.9m cases, 2.74m deaths
… 3/19: 121.5m cases, 2.68m deaths
… 3/12: 118.7m cases, 2.63m deaths
… 3/5: 115.7m cases, 2.57m deaths
… 2/26: 113m cases
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYTCovidTracking

Global Covid-19 infections rise for fourth consecutive week, deaths level off.  UN
… infections rose notably in SE Asia, western Pacific, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean. 
… trend line indicates that Covid-19, its impact, and policies regarding it, will not decline soon worldwide 
… I still expect there to be ‘pools’ of Covid-19 in the short-term future
Globally, vaccinations now stand at 6 doses per 100 people worldwide.  
… some vaccines require 2 doses per person, of course …
EU, China backing vaccine passports.  WSJ
Massive second wave of infections emerging in India.  WPost
… India tells foreign partners for vaccines that it will prioritize its own for now. Reuters
… global vaccine shortage of 90 million doses, because India can’t ship as much. WPost
US has a glut of vaccines “while rest of the world is begging.” NYT
Africa is seeing ‘a hidden pandemic’: patchy data is hiding the true picture. Telegraph
… Kenya seeing a deadly third wave, gradual shut-down, orders lockdown.  NationReuters … 

Reading

The Hunger Hotspots report.  FAO-WFP

Recently ran across this: Underground Church Networks: The Surprising Role of Women’s Networks (IJFM, 2004). Shared this with several in my network and they found it useful.

Verisk Maplecroft new Political Risk Outlook 2021 report estimates 88 countries will see increased risk of political instability this year. “Algeria, Iraq, Nigeria will be among the first casualties of a slow-motion wave of political instability that will engulf the most exposed oil producers over the next 3 to 20 years.”

Eddie Arthur, “Evangelical Mission Agencies & Social Media” analysis. Most agencies are using social media primarily to maintain their (aging) supporter base, rather than attract new people.

Technology/Futurism

SMS text messages are the weakest link securing just about anything online.  Krebs
… an entire ecosystem of companies that anyone could use to silently intercept text messages intended for other mobile users …

Japanese car makers assess impact of fire at chip plant.  Reuters
… global semiconductor shortages of chips can be aggravated by any source going offline …

Some states in the USA are cracking down on 3-D printed guns.  Forbes

Twitter thread about US government accessing text of Signal chats.  Link

‘Battling the bots’: a review of new book Futureproof.  Link