Roundup 2017-09-29

New events

North Africa

North Africa will soon be selling power to Europe

… while sub-Saharan has an electricity problem: rolling shortages, blackouts, rationing

… North Africa has invested tens of billions in renewable energy, particularly solar

EU to resettle 50,000 refugees from North Africa

… from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia

Libya: Rival governments, armed militias threaten stability.

… new report on the situation under review, finds armed groups ‘creating havoc’

West Africa

Sierra Leone: Freetown churches grapple with August mudslide tragedy

… 150 of the 1,000 killed were believers

Nigeria: Biafra is Back (CFR Security Tracker): seeking independence.

… Federal high court bans group campaigning for independence

… residents flee Aba, others remain indoors as crisis festers

… Nigeria minister accuses govt opposition of sponsoring Biafra campaign

… Shadow of Nigeria’s Biafra war still looms large, 50 years on

UNICEF: More than half the schools in Boko Haram’s region are shut

… as the insurgency drags into its 9th year.

East Africa/Horn:

Bidi Bidi, in Uganda, is the world’s largest refugee camp, larger than Dadaab in Kenya

… Over 1 million S Sudanese refugees. Over next decade, will likely become ‘big city’

1.1 million (a record) displaced in C African Republic: 500k in neighbors, 600k internal

… ‘spiraling violence … threatens to plunge country into full-blowing conflict’

Ethiopia: bans weapons at upcoming Irrecha religious festival

… to avoid the violence that killed several dozen last year

Somalia: New beginning for failed state?

… China vows to support Somalia’s peace, reconstruction.

… DP World to fund improved water and healthcare access in Somaliland

Central Asia

Tajikistan: Crackdown on observant Muslims intensifies (Economist)

Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan in the spotlight: since the change in government, the nation is opening up

… turned its focus to multilateral regional cooperation, trade, opening borders.

West Asia/Gulf

Iraq: The Kurds went ahead with the referendum vote

… Short Reuters video summarizing

… As Kurds celebrate independence, neighbors threaten military action

… “It’s never a good time for the Iraqi Kurds to become independent

… What the referendum means for Tehran: flights halted

… “may just be Iran’s greatest challenge yet”: their Kurds are growing restless too

… Turkey threatens retaliation after Iraqi Kurdish vote

… Iraq escalates dispute with Kurds, threatening military action

… What did the Kurds get out of the referendum?

… Russia is Iraq Kurds’ top funder, and the only major power not to speak about vote

Jordan: How the waters of the Jordan [River] run foul

… if Syrian farms turn on irrigation, dire water shortage could become drastically worse

Saudi Arabia agrees to let women drive!

… Saudis wonder what’s next after King allows women to drive

… Allowing Saudi women to drive is about more than who’s at the wheel

… Amid congratulations over Saudi decision to let women drive, some are wary

… End of Saudi women driving ban reflects deep changes in society

Saudi Arabia allows women into stadium as it steps up reforms

… ‘intended to capture some of $20 billion Saudis spend overseas… for amusement’

Yemen: Cholera outbreak could hit 1 million by 2018, worst on record

… 750k suspected cases, with at least 2,119 dying since the start of the year

South Asia

Bangladesh: Poor, stressed but last place of refuge for Rohingya.

India: IBM now has more employees in India than in the U.S.

… tentmaking or BAM folks might look inside or on fringes of Fortune 500 companies.

Half a century of India’s Maoist insurgency: a political analysis

… with 8-10k regulars and 40k in people’s militia, largest Communist fighters outside Syria

Nepal: 3-year-old girl becomes Nepal’s new living goddess.

… “when living goddess reaches age 12, we have to find a new one, and the search begins…”

East Asia

China’s modern families: double income and invisible kid.

… “gave our child to raise, while our lives remain centered around each other…”

“My parents say hurry up and find a girl”: China’s millions of lonely ‘leftover men.’

… by 2020, 30 million more young men than women in China

China’s Communist Rulers play Cupid to avert ageing population crisis

… ‘after an expected baby boom failed to materialize…’

Casual sex and late marriage: Chinese young people in the era of living alone

… 200 mln singles, 40 mln empty-nest youth, divorce rate increasing, internet influence

African entrepreneurs have made Guangzhou a truly global city.

… urban center of Pearl River Delta, world’s manufacturing powerhouse, also hub of a CPM

How the top-heavy Catholic Church is losing the ground game in China

… predominantly rural, but rural China is emptying out, faith not making leap to big city

Religious cults feel the heat from revamped website

… new feature allows families to seek loved ones who may have been brainwashed

The end game of China’s arms export strategy

… ‘longer-term geopolitical and strategic influence.’

Tibetan Plateau: Change brings opportunity and angst

… ‘with tourism comes temptation and transformation in Tagong, sacred site for nomads’

The unprecedented reach of China’s surveillance state

… op-ed: “enables government to reach into society to a degree unprecedented in history”

68 things you cannot say on China’s Internet

… ‘new regulatory actions… more expansive blockade… public morality enforced by Party’

China steps up ideology drive on college campuses

… ‘idea of a quality education guided more than ever by the Communist Party’

Mongolia’s Nomads struggling to survive: ‘risk it all’

… some moving across the rivers, others moving into the cities

North Korea threatens test of hydrogen bomb in Pacific Ocean.

… All North Korean firms and joint ventures in China to be closed: will it be enforced?

Southeast Asia

Cambodia: Nearly a dozen independent radio stations suspended

… licenses suspended without notice as media crackdown continues ahead of election

Cambodia wants more tourists: attention short-termers, prayer-walkers, etc.

… government set to give a major boost to tourism to bolster economy

Indonesia: [Over] 100,000 people have fled Bali as tremors from Mount Agung intensify.

… the volcano last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,100.

… Also, another volcano is active at the same time.

Malaysia: Islamic hardliners making promoters think twice about bringing talent

… organizers of pop concerts increasingly wary; politicization of Islam has increased

Myanmar’s front lines of horror

Aung San Suu Kyi gives first significant speech about Rakhine State crisis.

… reveals how much domestic opinion on the matter differs from international opinion

Economics and democracy: Myanmar’s myriad challenges

… Nationalism and the crisis in Rakhine hide the economic roots of the NLD’s weakness

Locating the Rohingya in time and space: Al Jazeera

… history, identity, and belonging, plus an infographic on the peoples of Myanmar

Singapore: From trade to trains, boosts economic ties with Singapore.

… also with Malaysia: note plans for super-fast bullet train from Singapore to KL

Vietnam’s harsh summer: state launches largest crackdown on dissidents in years

… 11 arrested, charged or convicted 

New Data

Spending even more on cats and dogs: Pumpkin Spice Lattes for your pet

… USA spends more on pet costumes for Halloween than on missions to the unreached.

On ‘religious liminals’ in the USA: sometimes religious, sometimes not.

… how we do surveys misses people who are religious part of the time.

Asia will be home to 60% of those aged over 65 worldwide by 2030

… we have to get better at presenting the Gospel to elders.

Longer reads

Neil Howe on USA Millennials: who they are, what they do. Part 1Part 2.

… incredibly important read exploding several myths about Millennials.

Boys are not defective: on why girls in the Middle East do so much better in school

The post-antibiotic era is here: ‘a few weeks later she developed septic shock and died’

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

A 2×2 matrix to help you prioritize the skills to learn right now

… time vs. utility: where the high-value skills are

Consistency beats talent, look, good intentions and even quality

… but most people are not consistent.

How we make up our minds: the NYT reviews four new books

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Men, Muscle, Iron, Rock: driving a new all-weather highway into a cliff in Afghanistan.

Photographer tells stories of women across rural India: a dichotomy is revealed.


China blocks WhatsApp, broadening online censorship. (NYT)

… What’sApp blocked again in China, this time for good? (Shanghaiist)

UAE building a “Mars Science City” in the desert

… to prepare humanity for off-world colonization

Philip Morris pledges $1 billion over a decade to eliminate smoking worldwide

… having cornered the market on cigarette alternatives like e-cigarettes.

Google is spending $1.1 billion to acquire HTC phone designs + 2,000 engineers

… may make the Google Pixel even more of a contender vs. Apple, Samsung.

44 companies are working on driverless vehicles.

Microsoft Excel is about to get a lot smarter

… machine learning: automatically recognize company names, countries, pull data

GPS will be accurate within one foot in some phones next year

… lots of new applications, but also troubling implications for surveillance.

Russia threatens to block Facebook in 2018

… ‘fails to comply with a law requiring … to store personal data of Russians inside Russia’

Russia insists Telegram must provide encryption keys

… ‘violation of controversial law req companies to provide access to encrypted comms’

… ‘we won’t comply’ … ‘40 million users in Iran, 10 million in Russia’

… Iran charges Telegram management over extremism, pornography allegations


“Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.” ~Samuel Johnson

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