Roundup 2017-12-08

Note: In this issue I’m working on a slightly new arrangement for organizing events. Each subsection represents ~100 million people. I welcome your feedback. I may revert after the New Year.

New events

North-West Africa / Warring States

Tourists to Morocco up 9%: tourists being welcomed! (short-term, prayer-walk, note)
… increase driven by surge from ‘emerging tourist markets’ (China, Brazil)
… some travel companies (like this one) are taking advantage of this
Morocco replaces Arabic w/French as language for high school science, math
… reversal of long-standing policy emphasizing Arabic-medium education
Tunisia lifts ban on interfaith marriage
… Muslim women can marry non-Muslim men, but note rules on women inheritance
… sensitive topic as widely considered to be ‘apostasy’
After 6 years in jail, Gaddafi’s son Said plots return to Libya’s turbulent politics
… if allowed to stand despite 2011 indictment for crimes against humanity
The migration dilemma: ‘we were treated like animals’
… thousands trying to get to Europe often ended up trapped in Libya, abused, enslaved
… DW series looks at why people risk the journey


US State Department warns against travel to the northeast.
Government implements ‘fortress towns’ strategy against Boko Haram
… displaced housed in fortified garrison towns, ringed by farms
… rest of countryside left to find for itself, ‘stark admission of the reality in the northeast’
… north very dangerous unreached area, how will the Gospel spread/bless?

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

The death toll in Somalia’s worst attack rises to 512
… October’s massive truck bombing capital’s casualties have climbed
Puntland, Somalia declares state of emergency over drought
The Starving Lands: a bleak read about the countries in the area

Middle Africa / Lakes

DRC disaster, 3.2 million at risk as funding dries up (ReliefWeb)
… ‘displacement crisis worse than Middle East’ (BBC)

Central Asia

Uzbekistan-Afgh deal to connect railroads may give Uzb. a link to the sea
… Uzb-Herat-Iran-Persian Gulf. A big deal for landlocked Uzbekistan
Cities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Modern Diplomacy)
… ‘a story of urban growth and decline’. PDF: 58pp.

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Israel: Amid warnings, US Pres. Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
… move of the embassy wouldn’t happen for 3 years – 2nd term, or diff Admin
… demonstrations, protests, riots, likely? what will Americans in the region face?
… maybe not: Arab outcry against Jerusalem as capital may be muted.
a nice CFR backgrounder on the issues, potential impact
another good backgrounder, short NYT video
Lebanon: Then again, maybe not: PM Hariri revokes his resignation
Lebanon emerges from crisis with Iran on top, but risks remain
Saudi Arabia: Government says most detainees in graft sweep have agreed to settlements
… with settlements, detainees admit to corruption, get a pardon
Ex-Yemeni Pres. Saleh killed in severe fighting over the weekend.
… In short term, more violence likely. But some analysts say this simplifies the conflict.
Houthis have seized control of Sanaa. But fighting continues elsewhere, not the end.
Saudi bombed the presidential palace 8 times, as war takes new turn
Yemen’s new, dangerous post-sales power vacuum (Al-Monitor)
How Yemen became the most wretched place on earth (Economist)
This argues Yemen is rooted in long-standing conflicts between govt, tribes (FA)


As of now, over 50,000 have been arrested and 110,000 dismissed from jobs
… over alleged links to terrorism and the US-based imam Gulen.


Proposed Iraq law allowing children as young as 9 to marry draws UN ire
Does Iran’s deep religious influence in Iraq translate to politics? (PBS)
… millions of Iranians come to Iraq for Arbaeen festival in Karbala, Iraq

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

Displacement challenges in a country on the move
… ‘few countries have witnessed the scale of pop. movements Afgh. has experienced’

Northern India

Marriage in India is becoming less traditional
… pre-marriage contact between husband/wife different based on education
… ‘caste is weakening more than appearances suggest…’
Madhya Pradesh named rape-capital of India for 6th year in a row
… 13 rapes per day. Minors make up 50% of the victims.
New battle looms in powerful Indian states as PM Modi tightens grip
… BJP has extended control to 18 states, 60% of India’s GDP

Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet

Millions voted in Nepal, in a (mostly) peaceable election: some bombs reported
… observers didn’t report any significant issues in the election sites visited.
… still watching to see which way the election went: political winds can impact work
Nepal recently passed laws criminalizing evangelism, conversion

Bengali / Bangladesh

Diphtheria spreading fast among the Rohingya


Why are the migrants being kicked out (of Beijing)?
For decades, China’s laborers moved to cities: now they’re being forced out (NPR)
… (not really a new trend, but a recently reinforced one)
… migrant worker flows are a big driver of Gospel spread
The Sinicization of religon
… interesting parallels with transition from Jewish Christianity to Greek Christianity
Invisible millions: China’s unnoticed disabled people: 85 million
… ‘disability = to be overcome/pitied, not accommodated through infrastructure’


Documentary: forced into hiding, Japan’s ‘hidden Christians’ kept their faith
… tells the story of missionaries and early Christians in the 16th century in Japan
Nagasaki: the Japanese city with a Christian history
… Christianity introduced 450 years ago by Francis Xavier


Background: the likely conditions under which China would respond in North Korea
… if NKor strikes first, if US strikes first… ‘firmly resist any change to status quo’
Jilin province takes unusual step of publishing ‘how to survive nuclear strike’
The price of war with North Korea: another piece on the potential terrible cost
… most likely scenario still NKor closed/glacial opening over next generation if at all

Southeast Asia

Girding Malaysian ruling party for election, Najib rallies Muslims over Jerusalem
… courting Muslim vote in midst of controversy over a development fund
US to restrict visas for Cambodians who are ‘undermining democracy’
Cambodian governmental response largely muted
… Local workers need to keep a weather eye on the horizon.
Indonesia’s hardline Islamic leaders call on voters to vote only for Muslim candidates
… but situation with Ahok may lead to voter move back to the middle
Singapore’s aging ‘time bomb’ will tick louder in 2018
… over-65s = under-15s. may mean changes to taxes, immigration rules, social services
No such thing as Rohingya: Myanmar erases a history
… ‘it is fake news’

Notable Europe / Americas

Putin will run for President of Russia (and most likely win, of course)
USA: On their way? a portrait of young adults
… 40% of 18-to-24s not in school, do not have a college degree
USA Millennials most likely of USA gens to cancel trip over security concerns
… also, much more likely to travel with others than Boomers.
… many unreached places have security concerns, obviously…
The end of Raul Castro’s administration, and its legacy
… ‘paved the way for successor leaders to push Cuba forward into 21st century’
… notable revivals/movements happening on the island

New global data, resources

Global rise in average age at first marriage (Economist Special Report)
… expect more singles in mission, & Ms at 5-and-10-year mark leaving due to marriage.
… ‘In 2015, 40% of all American babies were born to unwed mothers…
… ‘France, 59%; Colombia, 84%’
… ‘Values very different from those in Asia, where the polar opposite is true…’
Special discounts on Stubborn Perseverance
… ‘reveals the inner workings of a CPM and invites readers to launch a movement’

Longer reads

Struggle over Scripture: Charting the Rift between Islamist Extremism, Mainstream Islam
… new longform report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
Has Caste Discrimination followed Indians overseas?
… The UK debates anti-caste discrimination legislation (Diplomat)
The sex trafficking trail from Nigeria to Europe (CNN)
How chickens and goats are helping to stop child marriage (NPR)
… dowry often pushes parents to arrange early marriages for daughters
… gift of an animal gives families an economic incentive to hold off
The consumerist church of fitness classes
… gyms provide ritual and community, serving as a sort of religion
… promote values American culture already worships: capitalism and overwork
… odd, but it does make one think about communities and small groups
AP 13-article series: Collapse of the Caliphate

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Afghanistan: 11-year-old has spent her life in jail, a serial killer as a cellmate
… never committed a crime, but her mother is serving a life sentence
… Afghan prison policy: daughter remains with mother until 18
Guardian’s 20 photos of the week include shots from some unreached places & peoples

Pioneering Startups

How startups actually grow: short read on experience of one VC firm
… actually grow linearly, with either small changes in AGR or jump in size, then same AGR
… analysis has implications for rapidly-multiplying movements, too. May be same in them.


#Ag: Superbeans: Africa’s new hope against famine
… can grow in the driest locations
#AutoDrive: How driverless cars will change the feel of cities.
GM says it will mass-produce fully-autonomous electric cars by 2019.
Volvo and GM to offer monthly subscription services: drive any car you want.
#Bitcoin: Processing req. as much power as Slovakia, ~2% of US households
… and power usage is growing by 30% monthly.
#Censorship: China’s top ideology calls for tight control of the Internet
… ‘Cybersovereignty’: countries free to control Internet within their borders
#ChinaSurveillance: the unprecedented reach of China’s surveillance state
… ‘Inside China’s big tech conference, new ways to track citizens
Social credit system will rate how valuable you are as a human
#Drones: Slaughterbots: Military grade untraceable killer drones available now
Drone makers say, “what should be done?” Explore complexity, nuance of issue
#Encryption: ProtonMail expands to desktop (eg Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail)
#Facebook: killed the viral star: Upworthy’s traffic plummets after newsfeed tweaks
… it could happen to you: from 90 million in November to 48 million in January.
… ‘media company depending on FB for traffic, make sure FB benefits from your existence’
and, Facebook “Messenger Kids” lets under-13s chat with those whom parents approve
… We could all see this going bad. But kids are already using chat apps.
… This way, it might be more controllable. (and obviously gets them into Facebook early.)
Quantum computing will change the world. Led by Google. If it works.


“I have often repented of speech but hardly ever of silence.” ~C.S. Lewis

“Many failures are caused not by incompetent execution, but by reality failing to live up to the assumptions built into the plan.” ~Eric Ries

“Short cuts make long delays.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien

“Society demands conformity. If you fall beneath its standards, it will punish you; if you rise above its standards, it will persecute you. It demands an average, gray conformity. But Christians are different-they are a departure upward . . . ” ~E. Stanley Jones, Abundant Living

“There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue.” ~Eugene Peterson

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” ~John Maynard Keynes

“All of us, more than we recognize, are products of the thinking around us. And much of this thinking is small.” ~David Schwartz

“We can be truly successful only at things we are willing to fail at.” ~Mark Manson

“Repetition can be boring or tedious, which is why so few people ever master anything.” ~Hal Elrod

“Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.” ~Benjamin Hardy

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” ~Henry Ford

The Last Five

December 1
November 17
November 10
November 3
October 27

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