Roundup 262

New Events

Northern Africa (266m)

Algeria mourns 60+ killed by wildfires in Kabylie region. France24

Tunisia on a “knife-edge between reform and autocracy.” FP
… halfway through parliament’s month-long suspension …
 

East Africa (520m)

Fighting in Ethiopia continues to spiral wider, with no end in sight. The TPLF has advanced into Afar and Amhara states, saying it wishes to secure access for aid and prevent pro-government forces from regrouping. Meanwhile, horrific reports are emerging from Tigray.

… Ethiopia PM urges civilians to join armed forces as war escalates. AFP
… Amnesty reports widespread rapes ‘with impunity’ in Tigray. AP
… “Hunger emergency” expanding into Afar, Amhara. AFP
… Ethnic Tigrayans targeted, detained across the country. WSJ
… Ethiopia plunges deeper into conflict. CFR
… Govt denounces ‘destructive’ TLPF+OLA alliance. Link
 

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Senegal’s Covid wave: ambulance teams struggling to get oxygen to people. AP

Mali violence “threatens the State’s very survival.” UN

1,000+ Boko Haram militants surrendered to the government. WSJ
… since the death of BH’s leader, BH has lost battles to ISWAP …
… government has offered “safe corridor” to those who surrender …
… may mark a new turn in the war in the north – but ISWAP continues …
 

Western Asia (303m)

Collapse: inside Lebanon’s worst economic meltdown in over a century. NYT

Mapped: Extreme heat, wildfires hit the whole of the Mediterranean. Reuters

Turkey enduring heavy floods and wildfires.
Syrian refugees in Ankara targeted in night of violence. VOA
… “100s of people attacked the homes of Syrians” …

Sabaya: the shocking documentary filmed inside the notorious al-Hawl camp. Link
… embedded with volunteers hoping to rescue some of the est. 7,000 Yazidi girls and women who have been trafficked by ISIS since 2004 …

Water protests erupt in Iraq’s Kurdstan region – Al-Monitor
… “area has not had running water for several weeks… no new wells being dug…” …
 

South + Central Asia (2b)

At this juncture, it appears a near certainty Afghanistan’s capital (and possibly the nation) will fall to the Taliban, probably within a matter of days or a few weeks at most. Taliban rule so far appears every bit as strict as it has been in the past. The apparent strategy of the rest of the world is to isolate the nation as much as possible—but within the country, the upheaval is severe.

… Kandahar, Herat, Lashkgar Gah fall. BBCNYT
… Taliban controls 65%, threatens 11 capitals. Reuters
… Mapped: 9 provincial capitals overrun by the Taliban. Reuters
… US intel: Kabul collapse in 30 to 90 days. WPost
… Marines prepare for possible evacuation of Americans. NYT
… Taliban’s northern strategy puts huge pressure on govt. NYT
… US vows to isolate Taliban if they take power by force. AP
… Executions, forced marriages in Taliban areas. WSJ
… Independent media shut down in Taliban territory. RFE

In India, some religious conversion isn’t “conversion” as Westerners often think of it. This Times of India story is about the Banjara. Twelve years ago, the community “converted” to Islam in order to obtain land to bury their dead; today, 18 Banjara Muslims have converted back to Hinduism on the promise of land for cemeteries. Lots of local complexities tell us “conversion” isn’t always cut and dried, and discipleship is key. Link

Iran: “1 person dying of Covid every 2 minutes.” Reuters

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

Thousands of visitors from Hong Kong will be allowed to remain in the US for 18 months, offered temporary “safe haven.” Identifying and blessing these may be challenging, and yet a strategic opportunity? (Many may already be believers, of course). Link

Hong Kong’s population is continuing to fall as people abandon the political climate. FT *

149 cities in China see shrinking populations – Link
… reminds me of this: meet the 5 urban Chinas – Link

Due to Covid infection, China shuts Meishan, world’s 3rd busiest port – Bloomberg

Largest airport terminal in Tibet operational – China Daily
… 5.18m passenger yearly 2020, target of 9m passengers p.a. by 2025 …
 

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia’s challenges in reigning in the pandemic – DW
… Java improving, but poor health infrastructure in other areas will prolong crisis
… cases outside Java steadily increasing over past three weeks

Myanmar’s military leaders are attempting to legitimize power – UN
… senior general appoints himself PM, pledges elections by 2023 …
6.2 million Burmese could go hungry by October. Link
… “worst situation in living memory”

Thailand projects cases doubling to 45k/day by early September. Reuters
Political tensions rise: an election, coup, martial law could be near? SCMP
Deep South separatism has potential to claim more lives in near future. Diplomat
… examination of Patani Malays and nuances of conflict …

Vietnam extends restrictions to end of August. Reuters
 

N America / W Europe / Pacific

Italy (maybe) registers Europe’s hottest temperature on record. Link
Great visualization: Mapping the growth of American cities. WPost
New Zealand borders to remain closed for remainder of 2021. BBC
Not every US denomination is seeing declines. Link
US census shows population is diversifying, white population shrinking. AP
Is US evangelicalism headed toward a 100-year schism? CT
… and how will these trends impact US mission recruitment & sending?

New Data

Covid global case data data

At current pace, 300m cases by Jan. 28.

… 8/13: 205.6m (+5.1m) cases, 4.33m (2%) deaths
… 8/06: 200.5m (+4.4m) cases, 4.26m deaths
… 7/30: 196.1m (+3.5m) cases, 4.18m deaths
… 7/23: 192.6m (+4.1m) cases, 4.13m deaths
… 7/16: 188.5m (+2.8m) cases, 4.06m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

Vaccines may prove less effective vs Delta, still prevent hospitalization, death

New study in Israel suggests Pfizer 39% effective against Delta. CNBC
… but still 88% against hospitalization and 91% against death
A Provincetown, MA outbreak provided more data about breakthroughs – WPost
… CDC study: 469 infections, 74% were fully vaccinated.
… however, only five were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
Studies show vaccines do reduce severe risk:
… 8x reduction in risk of symptoms, 25x less hospitalization/death
… CFR for vaccinated is 0.0008% vs global CFR of ~2%
MIT TechReview has a good plain-language explainer about contagiousness. Link
Delta has changed the Pandemic endgame – Atlantic
… Original strain R0 est. at 2 to 3, needed super spreaders to move
… Estimated R0 of 5 to 9 – no longer relies on super spreading events
… this article explores a lot of the nuances of recent studies …
WHO announces 3 new drugs for latest Solidarity trial – UN

How the world is grappling with yet another Covid surge. WPost
… Indonesia – “a crisis of the dead”
… Bangladesh: paused its lockdown for Eid al-Adha, now cases climb

Other new data

2021 IPCC report is out. Link
… each decade has been warmer than the previous since 1850 …
… the 1982 Exxon Internal Report got the projection (very nearly) right – Link

New Longreads

New Articles

Infographic: 4,000 years of global power (history). Visual Capitalist
… with high-resolution version linked, available for download …The 25 poorest countries of the world mapped. Visual Capitalist

“An exact breakdown of how one CEO spent his first two years of company building” is mainly about a startup CEO, but there’s numerous takeaways in here for team and company leaders of all types. Link
… 1) “my job is to unblock others”
… 2) “ditch your to-do list in favor of calendar items”
… 3) “your job is to build fire departments, not put out fires”
… 4) “startups are default dead, so ruthlessly prioritize things that get you to default alive”
… 5) “the exact categories I use to track my time”

Tech & Futures

Facebook rolls out new prayer request toolCT
… people seeing it can tap an “I prayed” button …

Lots of dust-up over Apple’s newly announced effort to scan for child abuse imagery in iCloud. Wired’s got a fairly good summary of the “privacy tightrope” Apple’s trying to walk. In the current brouhaha, it’s less recognized that plenty of other services are doing much the same thing Apple is–just within the context of their cloud services, not on specific devices. Link

System trains drones to fly around obstacles at high speeds. MIT
… more nimble drones. war applications. also movie action scenes, probably. …

I found this piece about China enforcing data protection over unfettered growth of their Big Tech companies ironic, as it alleges “regulators in Beijing are cracking down on overseas listings, fearful that US data disclosure rules could compromise national security.” US companies aren’t putting servers in China because they are worried about those servers being compromised; now, it looks like China’s doing the reverse? Link

Bill set to come before Iran’s parliament would restrict Iranian Internet access even further, this time chopping Instagram – Link

Wendy’s is planning 700 “ghost kitchens” (delivery-only). Covid-19 brought us a surge in food-delivery, and people found out they liked it. Will lead to surges in delivery services, but cuts in service personnel within restaurants. Link
 

Beyond 2025

Will Iran’s Isfahan be uninhabitable in 10 years? IranWire
Pakistan 3rd among countries facing acute water shortage. DW
… acute scarcity by 2025, most water stressed in region by 2040 …

Quotable

“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.” ~Neil Armstrong