Roundup 2017-02-10

New events

Earthquakes:5.8, Uttarakhand;6.3 off Pakistan.497 quakes in Turkey(5.3 and under).

North Africa

Chad: Shut the Libya border.Helping returnees get papers.Seeking foreign investment.
Egypt:Massive increase in foreign students benefit Egyptian universities.
… 9,500 new students in 2016; 47,000 total; from Gulf, Africa, SE Asia
President: tighten divorce laws. Clerics: no.Struggles of women.Verbal divorce surge.
Libya:after the fall of Sirte, what next for ISIS? Three analysts on what they see.
Morocco: High religious committee retracts death for apostates, Muslims can convert.
Sudan:Expat Christians convicted of alleged espionage crimes; UK concerned.
South Sudan:52,000+ fled to Uganda in January due to continued fighting.
… civilians killed, homes destroyed, rape, looting, risk of mass atrocity.
Tunisia:challenges consolidating wobbly democracy, returning jihadists.

West Africa

This 2015 map shows jihadi attacks in Africa, most in West.
Burkina Faso: Warehouses could help farmers make more money.
… BAM: 80% in agriculture. Lack of storage forces sale of harvests at cheap prices.
Gambia:Big hopes for the future. Buthigh youth unemployment, illegal immigration hub.
Mali: Jihadism. AQIM increasing attacks.Nun kidnapped. German troops(12:03 video).
Mauritania:Women’s Market in Nouakchott: space for women entrepreneurs.
Niger: Christian & Muslim leaders push harder to counter creeping radicalism.
Nigeria: Beyond the Killings: untold stories of farm invasions in Niger State.
… Global Terrorism Index names ‘Fulani militants’ 4th deadliest group in world

East Africa/Horn

The hardships of doing business in Africa: the impact of infrastructure poverty.
… affects connectivity, logistics, communication flows, and opportunities for blessing.
Djibouti:Maiden voyage of Djibouti-Ethiopia China-built train.Hope for pan-African trade.
Ethiopia:Economic gains tainted by violent repression.
Somalia:in run up to election, capital on lockdown, blasts heard,Al-Shabaab attacks.
… security tight, roads blocked, parliamentary vote behind airport blast walls.
Former PM Farmajo, who has dual Somali-US citizenship, wins, first election since ‘91.

Central Asia

Kazakhstan:Going into soft power overdrive, playing host to deflect from sagging economy.
following Tajikistan’s model, bans unregistered mobile phones.
Kyrgyzstan: rural residents cope with water woes.Similar to Tajikistan issues.
… and,Kyrgyz Baptists: a case study in religious persecution in Central Asia.
Uzbekistan:Reform efforts challenged by powerful clans, factions.

West Asia/Gulf

Afghanistan: attack on Red Cross in Jowzjan killed 6, 2 missing. Worst in 20 years.
… Taliban denied responsibility. IS claims it. Red Cross suspends ops.
Iran: US weighing terror label on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard; controls 50% of economy.
Iraq:Schools reopening in east Mosul: work of restoration begins: west still largely IS-held.
Oman: diversifying away from oil, ‘turns sleepy fishing port to bustling trading hub.’
Saudi Arabia: Very quietly, music comes back.
Syria: Al-Bab, last major ISIS outpost, practically surrounded.
… loss here would confine it to its self-declared capital, Raqqa.
government detaining opponents using mass detentions as it reasserts control
Amnesty says thousands executed in mass hangings in prisons. Syria denies.
Turkey:bans on the veil and headscarves have been lifted, creeping conservatism.
… and,how proposed government changes will concentrate virtually unchecked power.
UAE:new visa system to attract top expat talent has been approved.
Yemen: News releases detail use of an improved Scud missile to attack Saudi Arabia.
… Saudi Arabia has not confirmed the attack, but hasn’t denied it either.
… A successful Houthi missile attack on Riyadh would cause regional repercussions.
… to ‘tinker’, improve missile range means a technology partner: possibly Iran or Hizballah.
… the possibility of a Saudi-Iran confrontation has increased.

South Asia:

Bangladesh:Improvements to Korail slum after fire damages 500 homes.
… more than 500,000 live in under 0.25 sq km; fire is a big danger.
India:media praised Defense Ministry for military purchases to bring forces to readiness.
… stockpiling ammunition & supplies for “10 days of intense fighting.”
… Analysts: article aimed at reassuring Indians, warning Pakistan about seriousness
… also,Uttar Pradesh elections 2017: what’s at stake, who’s in fray. Polls finished 15 March.
… and,afraid of foreign donor influence on policy-making, cuts ties with Gates Foundation.
… an extension of the same trend that impacted Compassion.
Nepal:India watching warily as China ramps up investment into Nepal

East Asia:

China:To begin taking fingerprints of all foreign visitors, stepping up border security.
Chinese converted out West are losing faith back home(up to 80% by some estimates)
building highway network for improved links with Pakistan via Xinjiang.
… govt sees Xinjiang as the key trade center on the economic belt.
Tourism to Africa is up, but travel companies wary: Back to Jerusalem, anyone?
Japan:Cultural loss due to villages aging, depopulating.
… ‘the disappearance of Japanese festivals means the disappearance of communities’
… ‘how communities held together… festival can be cause for a temporary visit.’
Japan:Why some in Japan think its better to rent a monk from the Internet.
… with aging, shrinking communities, 30% of 75,000 temples at risk of closing by 2040
… attachment to Buddhism declining; and people don’t trust temple pricing for rituals
… Last week:how to solve its huge sex problem, according to a political scientist.
Mongolia:Deadly virus threatens cashmere and local food supplies.
… and,the toxic smog, most of which comes from the poor “ger” districts.
N Korea:Podcast: North Korea’s information underground, 16:33.
… craving news, entertain from outside: DVDs, USB sticks, SD cards, black-market radios.

Southeast Asia:

Brunei:becoming more repressive? Falling oil revenue = economic unrest = clampdown
Cambodia:Pagoda Problems: the decline of Buddhism in Cambodia.
… growth of non-religious schools, universities has undermined social, cultural influence
… robust economic growth: materialism makes joining monkhood less appealing
Indonesia:Aceh authorities lash hundreds: 2016 first full year of shari’a implementation
… in 2014, extended shari’a to non-Muslims.
Myanmar:Drugs and Bullets: a Christian group is taking matters into its own hands.
… and,Thailand, Myanmar launch tourism initiative: 1.5 million between them by 2020
Thailand:fears country at head of drug superhighway.
Vietnam:The new generation creating a new national identity, Westernized, tech-savvy
… 2/3rds born after Saigon, transforming Communist nation into fast-growing economy.
plans big push in ease of doing business to catch up with Singapore, Thailand.
Loosening restrictions on gambling to encourage local play, win foreign investment.
Chinese-Vietnam tensions eased by record number of Chinese tourists visiting.

New Data

PWC: The Long View: How will the global economic order change by 2050?
… Vietnam, India, Bangladesh 3 of the world’s fastest growing economies.
RAND:Countering Transnational Criminal Networks
USA:20 metros home to 60% of unauthorized immigrants: flashpoints, ministry options.
China:home to 329 million retirees by 2050.

Longer reads

Two new fungal diseases capable of destroying whole wheat crops discovered.
#Disease: Turning the tide against cholera: treatments cure 99% of victims
#Migration: New rapid response fund for Mediterranean migration emergencies.
#Migration:Is freedom of movement a human right?

Books, reviewed

Egypt:Generation Revolution: on the front line between tradition & change in the MidEast
Eritrea:Understanding Eritrea: inside Africa’s most repressive state.
China:Shanghai Faithful. Through a 150 year family saga, see national religious evolution

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

Algorithms to Live By: explores applying key computer science algorithms practically in life
… “sorting” algorithms: and how you do similar things in scheduling, for example.

Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy

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

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

In Benin, up close with a serpent deity.
A trip to Laos and Cambodia: fascinating, inexpensive, fairly easy.
Cambodia’s culture club: Battambang is a deliciously different mix of food and art.
From Sydney to Ulaanbaatar: Grace Brown’s new life in Mongolia
A woman in the souks of Morocco
A taste of rural Myanmar: drums, gongs and xylophones included
1.5 million visitors expected at Malaysia’s Batu caves for Thaipusam festival.
The Ishkashim border market: where Tajikistan, Afghanistan trade goods.


CBInternational N+1 Report on 13 trends shaping 5-10 years of future.
#AI: Mahoney, Matt.The cost of AI. (literally, $ cost). PDF: 21pp.
… looks at the question of whether it’s feasible to automate the global economy.
#AI:Is AI a threat to Christianity?
#Botnets:How Google fought back against a crippling IoT-powered botnet and won.
… even 1% of this kind of attack would cripple most mission agency websites.
#Censorship:A pirate podcast app takes on Iran’s hardline censors.
… how populations are becoming software creators to get around firewalls.
#Media:Why Hollywood as we know it is already over: disrupting finances, Big Data, tech.
… and,how Americans get news(Pew Research)
#Surveillance:Kazakhstan to do away with anonymous commenting online.
… and,China allows sensitive social media posts to surveill those posting & predict protests
… and,How app makers increasingly track your every move.
… and, ‘Everything, everywhere will soon be continuously recorded & uploaded
… and,US Secret Service increasingly go-to agency for breaking into phones.
… if they can do it, others can to. It’s just a matter of whether it’s worth it to do so.


Anything less than a mission that includes all people is not the mission of God. ~Philip Nation

Don’t assume that the things that drive you, feed you. ~Dan Bouchelle

Your calling is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deepest need. ~Frederick Buechner

The unoccupied fields of the world await those who are willing to be lonely for the sake of Christ. ~Samuel Zwemer

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