Roundup 2017-02-03

New events

Algeria: ‘Tales of Algeria’s impending implosion are, frankly, ridiculous.
… the military is still firmly in charge.

China: The Parachute Generation
… sending kids to US high schools to help them get into American universities.
… and, How has the end of its one-child policy affected China? Birth rates up, but enough?

Gambia: stands up, but government faces daunting challenges.

India: considering easing foreign investment limits
… Apple to start iPhone production in India by end of April
… a string of events indicating India was closing its doors; these are contrary data points
… and, Uttar Pradesh goes to the polls and could impact the Modi government
… Punjab is going to the polls, too: high youth unemployment, corruption, drug addiction.

Iran: US-Iran relationship back on tenuous footing, to no one’s surprise.
… New sanctions likelyBut despite saber rattling, cancelling nuke deal unlikely.

Iraq: it will be ‘many years’ before Mosul stable enough for Christians to return.
… Abp. Warda of Erbil announces ‘survival plan’ for Iraq’s suffering Christians

Japan: how to solve its huge sex problem, according to a political scientist
… despite click-baity title, actually about demographics, culture of work, needed changes
… and, Japan’s foreign workforce tops 1 million for the first time

Kyrgyzstan: Old constitution mysteriously vanishes, so government has to make new one

Libya: Report: conditions in refugee camps worse than in concentration camps.
… executions, torture, rapes, bribery, banishment to the desert
… Italy vows to help Libya seal borders, curb flow of migrants to Europe
… EU leaders agree on plan to reduce flow of migrants, human rights groups concerned.
… Related: Niger’s migrant smuggling hub empties after EU crackdown.
… But: the EU’s hollow success over migrant smuggling in Niger.

Maldives: tourist paradise–but for how long? Tourism is 80% of GDP.

Mali: What Mali really needs.
… suicide bombing underscores fragility of Mali & the entire region.

Mayotte: a magnet for Comoros islanders who risk their lives on seas for a better life

Mongolia: Cash-strapped, now selling jewelry and horses to pay $580million debt.

North Korea: The long history of predicting North Korea’s collapse.
… frequently predicted, always wrong. One day the forecast will be right, but until then…

Oman: How much longer can it be an oasis of peace in the Middle East?
… long read with historical data.

Pakistan: Middle class soars as stability returns.
… and, Cold Start: a new way for India to start a war with Pakistan
… could lead to tactical nukes

Russia: It’s Putin’s World. A strange mix of nationalism and ‘Christianity.’

Saudi: Oil minister says Aramco reserve audit ‘very reassuring’
… plans to sell 5% to set up world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, reduce oil reliance
… plans world’s cheapest power with solar and wind.

Syria: rebuilding Aleppo will take billions–and peaceVideo.
… with fall of Mosul, Raqqa, ISIS fortifying Deir ez-Zor, under its control since 2014.
… ez-Zor is the richest oil supply in all Syria, flanked by mountains, with Euphrates river.
… what life in refugee camps in Lebanon is like for Syrian refugees.

Tajikistan: half of Central Asia’s water reserves, but 40% don’t have clean water.
… also: the booming business in organ transplants, where cost for surgery is relatively low

Thailand: cracking down on human trafficking.
… rights groups say millions of migrant workers vulnerable to abuse in fishing, sex trade

Turkey: purges hitting its business class; firms being confiscated.
… over 90,000 public servants have been dismissed (out of 125,485 tried)

Vietnam: Tech Rush: young entrepreneurs transforming the country into Silicon Valley.
… but violations of religious freedom are growing.

Yemen: food crisis could become famine this year, UN warns.
… Yemen Under Siege: 35 minute video from Frontline.

New Data

Pew infographics on regional distribution of Muslims.

Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, Quarterly Report: downward spiral
… 210k hectares under poppy cultivation in 2016, up 10%
… Government controls just 57% of its territory, down from 72% a year ago.
… 583,000 internally displaced due to conflict in 2016
… Taliban collecting taxes on utility bills

Infographic from Christianity Today: ‘Worst Year Yet.’
… top 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian.

USA: from the 1900s to today, a snapshot of immigration to the USA
… most immigrants today come from Asia.

Longer reads

ChinaSource has a new course on Udemy, “The Church in China Today.”
… cost after Feb. 6 is $30. It is a 5-lecture course with supplementary materials.

Fulton, Brent: The “why” behind China’s new overseas NGO law.
… social stability, rule by law, and anti-western sentiment.
… and, Shawn Shieh on The origins of China’s new law on foreign NGOs.

China: a long read on how the nation is feeding its population of 1.4 billion

Ash, Alec. Interview: Talking ‘bout my generation: Chinese Millennials.

Shane Bennett has started a new email letter, ‘Muslim Connect’.
… ‘Thinking about Muslims the way God thinks about Muslims’

Hickson, Gordon. ‘Ordinary’ Christians can reach Muslims better than specialists.

Ghemawat, Pankaj. Even in a digital world, globalization is not inevitable.
… 8 reasons why digital tech aren’t necessarily sufficient to drive globalization forward.

Goodstein, Laurie. Christian leaders denounce Trump’s plan to favor Christian refugees.
… ‘frontlines account of the global crisis is a gift to concerned Christians’

Robson, David. How East and West think in profoundly different ways.
… psychologists uncovering surprising influence of geography on reasoning, behavior…

Addison, Steve. Pioneering Movements: Leadership that multiplies disciples and churches.
Kingsley, Patrick. The New Odyssey: the Story of the 21st Century Refugee Crisis.

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

How to use fewer words: in emails, documentation, anything.

How to get 100,000 Facebook fans in 30 days.
… probably not, but it does outline an interesting little trick I hadn’t seen before.

5 ways to survive war on the mission, by an ABWE missionary in the Middle East.

Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy

Why leadership = storytelling, and how leader stories are different.

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Afghanistan: Under Taliban siege, a doctor’s trial by fire.
… and, Afghan children direct traffic on mountain pass for $4/day.

China: Chinese medicine fuelling rise in donkey slaughter for global skin trade.
… some Chinese are going out to see the world instead of home for Chinese New Year.

North Korean restaurants in Cambodia fall afoul of sanctions, tourists staying away.

Kazakhstan: The hidden ice fishermen of Kazakhstan.


Chinese Internet: yes, 731 million on, but that equals 619 million Chinese who aren’t.

#AI: Computers learn to paint whatever you tell them to; advancing exponentially.
… and learning to win, bluff at poker.
… #Photos: Facebook AI unlocks the ability to search photos by what’s in them.

#Autodrive: Unexpected consequences of self-driving cars.
… Autoships: Commercial vessels will soon have no crew on board

#AR/VR: 16:36 Podcast, Economist Radio, “Babbage: Adding to Reality
… augmented reality to overtake VR as the innovation of choice.

#BlockChain: The future will be decentralized.
… impact of documentation, or lack of; remittance costs; trust; insurance. Bitcoin. Trust.

#Censorship: This is what Facebook’s filter bubble actually looks like

#Fraud: Warning on new scams blending CEO fraud with W-2 phishing to get tax files.
… if it hasn’t happened already, when will non-profits get hit with scams like these?

#Robots: North America ordered 35,000 robots in 2016, up 10%, = $1.8 billion.
… taking over oil rigsAnd tax return preparationAnd local delivery.
… New Boston Dynamics robot self balancing on wheels, jumping (Video)
… The Warbot Builders of the Middle East spill their secrets (Wired)

#SocialMedia: Pew Social Media Update 2016: Facebook up, rest stagnant.

#Translate: Google Translate now provides live on-the-fly translation of Japanese text.

#Crime: Slate: welcome to our month-long cyberdefense class.



“Sometimes the desire to save the whole world can be an impediment to taking even one small action to improve it.” ~George Prochnik

“The real problem is that we judge God based upon how well He carries out my agenda for the world.” ~Voddie Baucham

”To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control.” ~Dee Hock

“If the church uses carnal means to draw carnal men, it will be forced to continue and even grow in carnality in order to keep them.” ~Paul Washer

“You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are.” ~Joss Whedon

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” ~Winston Churchill

“Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” ~Mary Tyler Moore

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