Roundup 2017-10-20

New events

North Africa

Egypt:Huge crowds descend on city to celebrate Sufi mystic
Libya:October brings highest flows of Libyan migrants to Italy
Morocco:To launch first reconnaissance satellite.
CNN explores surge of surfing on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast.
… Sounds like it’s ripe for a sport evangelism initiative to me.

West Africa

4 West African leaders plan shared currency by 2020
Niger:The difference between Niger and Nigeria: a short read.
Nigeria: “Boko Haram strapped suicide bombs to them”
… “somehow these teenage girls survived.”
… and, manhunt underway for gang suspected of abducting British-led missionary teamCentral Africa Republic:Faces potential genocide if stability, security can’t be found

East Africa/Horn

In Kenya, election re-run challenges a young democracy.
Low turn out raises concerns: ‘the vote is a massive flop’
And, clashes mark the poll re-run
Ethiopia:A largely hidden war in remote areas of Ethiopia has killed hundreds
… and displaced more than 100,000.
Somalia:Death toll from double bombing climbed to 358.
Sudan hopes for a quick turnaround after U.S. sanctions end
will the lifting of US sanctions revive Sudan? (BBC Video)
South Sudan:Violence, War, Destruction: It’s ‘not easy’ being Catholic here
… ‘a church that is small and regarded at times suspiciously by authorities’

Central Asia

Kazakhstan:Leader orders switch from Cyrillic to Latin letters
… 3rd change in century distances them from Russia, makes digital devices simpler to use
Kyrgyzstan:Cancels $100 million in aid from Kazakhstan amid tensions
Uzbekistan:Once closed and repressive, Uzbekistan is opening up(NYT)
… loosened police controls, testing limits of gradual political change
… and,HRW cautiously optimistic about changes in Uzbekistan

West Asia/Gulf

Iraq:Kurds lose but that doesn’t mean Turkey’s a winner
… army, PMU wrest control of 40% of territory Kurds controlled since 2014.
Kurds defeated, displaced and divided after Iraq reclaims oil-rich Kirkuk
Kurds offer to suspend independence drive, seek talks with Baghdad
Iraq dismisses Kurdish offer
Too early to pop champagne: the micropolitics of territorial control in Iraq
… This will affect any attempt to finish the task in Iraq, too.
Iraq’s Christians ponder future in wake of Kurdish independence vote
… History:the birth of Baghdad in 762 was a landmark for world civilization
Qatar:Commits to Kuwaiti mediation on Gulf crisis
Saudi Arabia:Prince pushes greater tolerance, disavows extremism
… discusses $500 billion futuristic city of ‘robots and renewables’
… ‘return to a moderate past, forward to tech-driven future’
Saudi Arabia becomes first country to grant citizenship to a robot
‘I will return to Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince’ (Guardian)
… ‘the ultra conservative state has not been normal for 30 years’
Saudi Arabia’s grand plan to move beyond oil: big goals, bigger hurdles(NYT)
Saudi Arabia’s footprints in SE Asia: increased influence in Muslim-majority countries…
Syria:Following IS ouster, tribes key to stability in east
Turkey:Golf’s long game in Turkey: is there an entry point here, somewhere?

South Asia

Afghanistan:Due to increases in violence & targeting, Red Cross to scale back
Conflict severity, mapped by district
How the Taliban are evolving to compete in Afghanistan: broadening ranks, tactics
Iran’s Republican Guards flex muscle in Middle East despite Trump’s warning(Video)
India:The uninhabitable village(NYT interactive, video, reporting)
… ‘hotter temps forcing families in southern India to decide: try to survive here, or leave?’
Nepal:Criminalizes Christian conversion and evangelism
… President approves new sanctions targeting non-Hindus, foreign missionaries
Pakistan:Youthful population creates education challenges
… fast growth, 50 million school-age children, 20 million out of school
… and,China’s $62 billion bet on Pakistan
… The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative.

East Asia

China’s universities are courting and seeking American teachers, researchers
… ‘recruitment not limited to overseas Chinese students…
… ‘also open to high level foreign experts’
China expert sees religious revival
… ‘millions turning toward folk religions, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, other forms…’
Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens
… to judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents.
China creating a database of its citizens’ voices to boost its surveillance capability
… use the database to pick out individual voices in telephone and other conversations
China university uses facial recognition to track student attendance
… what else can they track students doing?
A smart city in China tracks citizens, and yours could too
… goal to ‘improve life in Hangzhou’ and ‘it seems to have worked.’
Xi Jinping thought enshrined, elevating him to Mao-like status.
… A big deal: only happened to Mao (while living) and Deng Xiaoping (posthumously).
These seven men now run China(NYT).
… none are young enough to be Xi’s possible successor, meaning Xi could rule for decades.
Japan:The Ghosts of the Tsunami: 2011 earthquake/tsunami killed thousands
… ‘those left behind were haunted by the dead, and some were possessed by them’
N Korea:Statues and ammunition: North Korea’s Africa connection.
No one is laughing at North Korea cyberpower any more.
No longer the Hermit Kingdom–but how long will China be its lifeline?

Southeast Asia

Cambodia Daily relaunches as noncommercial, digital-only, publication based off shore
Malaysia to host global durian festival, riding on China’s Belt and Road Initiative
… November 25-26, 2017. This link is for Beyond’s President.
Myanmar:MSF says more than half the Rohingya girls treated for rape are under 18.
Rohingyas ‘untenable,’ must go home but to safety, Bangladesh says
Singapore:Now has the world’s most powerful passport: easy access to 159 countries
… [very] narrowly beats Germany (158)
Thailand:Begins funeral for late King Bhumibol Adulyadej
… 5-day ceremony, vast cremation complex, draw as many as 250k from across Thailand

New Data

Asia has more billionaires than the USA, but USA billionaires control more assets..
Report:Out of Africa: Why people migrate. ISPI, PDF.
Pew:5 Facts about Muslim Millennials in the USA
Pew:Many minority students in schools where >1/2 their peers share their race/ethnicity
… from the ‘86% of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists do not know a Christian’ department.

Longer reads

Should you risk your kids for the kingdom?
… on taking children to unreached peoples, by John Piper
Should debt disqualify a missionary?
McKinsey:Understanding the evolution of the Global Economy
Millennial search for experiences over luxury is driving Airbnb’s growth in Africa
… ‘experiences over luxury’ is a driver of Millennials
Why Boko Haram uses female suicide bombers
… they used to arouse less suspicion–but that may be changing

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

Becoming incredibly successful means saying no to the wrong money
… the wrong money will keep you in mediocrity.

Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy

Quick/cheap failure helps you identify which ideas not to pursue
… allocating budgets to ‘productive failures’ makes sense in the long run.


The future of online dating is unsexy and brutally effective.
… why do we link to these articles?
… Because globally church growth is 3x more births than converts
… the higher the % Christian, the more important demographic growth (births) is
… big function of church is to help believers marry believers, raise believing children
… online dating impacts traditional meet-greet-date through social community
… (note the article mentions a founder Justin Long; this is a different person from me.)
Tonight is using a different algorithm: not matches or swipes but successful dates.
AI has learned how to pick out a voice in a crowd
… developed by Mitsubishi researchers, demo’d in public in Tokyo
How ‘fake news’ could get worse with AI-generated audio & video
… these kind of technologies could be used to frame/implicate missionaries
The RoboBee learns to launch itself out of water.
Walmart to launch shelf-scanning robots in 50 US stores
… replenish inventory faster, save employee time. ‘Will not affect employee headcount.’
Twitter to label election ads after US regulatory threat
The destructive switch from search to social
… ‘no longer enter the Internet the way you would a public library, to browse and read…
… ‘now it’s more like the Las Vegas strip, bombarded with attention demands,
… ‘need not exert any effort to be entertained…’


“Do not attribute to malice what could equally be explained by stupidity.” ~Hanlon’s Razor

“People are unhappy in large part because they are confused about what is valuable.” ~William Irvine

“Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible.” ~C.T. Studd

“As a leader, you will receive a large amount of praise and criticism and you should not be unduly affected by either.” ~John Wooden

“Let’s not confuse getting better at stuff with being a better person.” ~Ryan Holiday

“A bad system will beat a good person every time.” ~W. Edwards Denning

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