Roundup 2017-05-26


Thirty Days of Prayer for the Muslim World kicks off May 27.

New events

North Africa

Egypt: blocks 21 websites for ‘terrorism’ and ‘fake news’
… including Al Jazeera, in spat with Qatar.
Morocco: ‘Moroccan Christians insist on breaking taboo and media cliches
… and, Christians ‘Speak out, demand their right to worship
‘Africa’s Last Colony’: the forgotten Sahrawi struggle against Morocco

West Africa

In Ghana, Christians embrace faith with fervor: more than 70% are Christian
… ‘common to see people studying the Bible on the bus’
Gambia: How it plans to shed its sleazy reputation for sex tourism (UK Telegraph)
Mali: Spreading south, jihadist violence threatens future of children in central Mali
… and, suspected jihadists wreck Mali primary school
Mauritania: wants to take part in China’s Belt and Road initiative
Nigeria: Extreme inequality in numbers.
The church under attack: particularly the diocese of Maiduguri.

East Africa/Horn

Djibouti: Doraleh Port (Chinese-funded) officially opens (Xinhuanet)
Eritrea: Christians reportedly detained in new crackdown (BosNewsLife, CSW)
Somalia: 7 things to know about Somalia, video from UNHCR
S Sudan: Local aid workers on the front line of the civil war
… ‘Danger is by no means rare… but no aid workers risk quite so much as national staff.’
… and, Kiir announces truce, national dialogue (VOA)
… comes with a unilateral cease fire.

Central Asia

Tajikistan: Takes up Chinese: classes on the rise, but still not a priority for students,
… last week: Pakistani children are being taught Chinese.
… and, Tajik churches investigated for underage attendees (from April).
Turkmenistan: The growing economic crisis: debt and prestige in Central Asia
Uzbekistan: A place where religious tolerance prevails

West Asia/Gulf

Iraq: ‘Convert or die, says Shia leader to Iraqi Christians’; 180 Chritian families sue him
Christians slowly return to war-damaged Qaraqosh.
‘Olive tree’ ceremony marks start of program to rebuild Christian homes.
Jordan: The Refugee Waiting Game: the time bomb on Jordan’s border
Kuwait: An inside look at the native Christian community of Kuwait (Dec 2016).
Lebanon: launches religious cultural tourism project.
… ‘important… contributes to sustainable tourism throughout the year.’ #prayerwalk
Syria: ‘has effectively ceased to exist’ (Foreign Policy)
Turkey: ‘extends state of emergency until ‘welfare and peace’ are achieved
Yemen: Water, Conflict and Cholera: report from CIGI/ReliefWeb

South Asia

Afghanistan: German aid worker, Afghan security guard killed in Kabul
… guest house in the capital city attacked.
… promised Taliban spring campaign is in high gear: many attacks around country
Bangladesh: Most of Europe’s illegal migrants are from Bangladesh (W. Post)
women migration from Bangladesh up 217% in the last 5 years
Iran: Rouhani wins: ‘Conservatives lose a presidential election and more
… Foreign Affairs: ‘Iranians choose reform’, win with 57% of the vote
India: ‘more than 18 million living in slavery in the country
… ‘Dramatic surge in attacks on Christians in India is “deeply concerning”
Nepal: PM Kamal Dahal resigns. Why it’s unusual.
Pakistan: Abp of Lahore admonishes Pakistani Christians not to ‘live in fear’

East Asia

China: Farming the World: China’s epic race to avoid a food crisis.
China’s Astounding Religious Revival (Review: The Souls of China).
… ‘What I learned from two years traveling China’s belt and road.’
… ‘off-shoring Chinese companies… building up high-tech… starting own brands…’
Japan: Vietnamese students are pouring into Japan.
Mongolia: Meet “Bat”; he’s one of the first 20 Christians in Mongolia
… interview with Batjargal Tuvshintengel, director of FEBC in Mongolia: 60k to 90k Christians today
N Korea: ‘Despite horrific persecution, Christianity is growing’ (CNA)
What might N Korean nukes target? Washington Post infographic analysis
… ‘Military solution to N Korea would be tragic on an unbelievable scale
Philippines: Martial law declared on Mindanao Island; could be extended nationally

Southeast Asia

Cambodia: The shocking reality of Cambodia’s child sex workers (
… UNICEF: ‘about a third of 100,000 sex workers are children’
Indonesia: Ahok withdraws blasphemy conviction appeal
Laos: On the borders of the Empire (Al Jazeera)
… ‘we investigate China’s rising influence in Laos & the potentially disastrous consequences’
Catholics in Laos welcome appointment of first cardinal.
… ‘in the wake of the government’s warming relations with the Catholic church’
Thailand: Cyber crackdown expanded to Internet users who even view ‘illegal content’
… and, how https: protects against govts seeing which domain-specific pages are viewed

New Data

Pew: Restrictions on religion among the 25 most populous countries, 2007-2015
USA: Where immigrant growth matters most, Keelan Cook
… an interesting analysis of trends in domestic migration and immigration.
These countries are facing the greatest skills shortages. BAM?
Unemployment rate among Africa’s large youthful population is potentially dangerous
… BBC interview with former Nigerian Pres. Obasanjo.
They’re not coming to America so fast: fewer refugees arrive, with declines in 46 states
… falling from 9,945 in October to 3,316 per month in April.

Longer reads

The lights are going out in the Middle East.
… no longer enough electricity: daily outages, crippling impact.
Western Conservatives are wrong on Christians in the Middle East.
… ‘situation is worst among some of the West’s staunchest allies’
… ‘Iran a far safer place for Christians, even if only by admittedly low standards of region’
The small town in Georgia that welcomes 1,500 refugees per year.
… and, How Dallas became one of America’s most refugee-friendly cities.
Eliminating the human’, by David Byrne
… much of recent tech development about eliminating human interaction.
… implications for evangelism, discipleship, spiritual generations?
… after all, half of all retail jobs could be automated in 10 years
… (most likely to hit women hardest)
Or, ‘maybe the Internet isn’t tearing us apart after all’ (WIRED excerpt)
… more likely to meet someone with contrary views online than offline
Eddie Arthur: There is no such thing as a literal translation.
… ‘words do not mean one single thing that can be clearly identified.’
… good short read on the challenges of meanings and interpretation
That old story about tulip mania and bubbles? It’s probably wrong.
… long application to Bitcoin and other bubbles.

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

50 books recommended by this year’s TED speakers.
Mental models I find repeatedly useful
… understanding these concepts will make you think clearer.
Four conundrums of the universe that lead to all biases
… too much data, not enough meaning, not enough time, not enough memory.

Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy

Working Backwards: how Amazon does it, in four steps
… a practical way of beginning with the end in mind.

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

China: Two maglev trains passing each other at 268 MPH in Shanghai
Burkina Faso: “Hanging out” with the Hausa Community
Kazakhstan calling: a jaw-dropping trip to Astana: astonishing architecture.
Afraid of visiting Lebanon? Here’s why you shouldn’t be. (Houstonia)


Operation World has a new prayer app for mobile devices.
Walt Mossberg’s Last Column: tracked the last 25 years of computing, ponders the next 25.
Malwarebytes: How to beat ransomware: prevent, don’t react.
Google to track billions of credit/debit sales offline to compare with online ad clicks
… Google Attribution will help advertisers see if online ad campaigns = offline sales
… Google said it captures around 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the US
Bitcoin blows past $2,000 for the first time.
Facebook shakes up Live with new social chat features.
… ‘lets you go live with another friend in a side-by-side conversation’
… not sure if this could be used for Panel discussions or mobilization of some kind?
Asteroid mining: billion dollar costs, trillion dollar rewards.
India copes with terrible commutes by watching Netflix.
Where Apple Photos (iCloud) and Google Photos match up and compete.
… missionaries have to store a lot of photos. Google Photos is a compelling offering.
… wait a sec, Google Photos recognizes faces – places – and things? #Hmm
… search my private Google Photos for “Justin Long and dog” gets results!


“It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus.” ~Robert Murray McCheyne

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” ~Epictetus

“God scatters his church to advance his gospel.” ~Micah Fries

“The history of missions is quite clear about this: Christianity is at its very best when it is on the more chaotic fringes.” ~Alan Hirsch

“Humility makes you disappear, which is why we avoid it.” ~Paul Miller

“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” ~C. S. Lewis

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