Roundup 2018-01-26

Roundup 2018-01-26

New events

North-West Africa

Spain to hire 10,400 Moroccan seasonal workers

North Africa / Warring States

UN warns of lost generation in S Sudan’s grinding conflict

… 70% of S Sudan children are out of school

… ‘risks losing a generation… make it harder to rebuild…’

Over 250k children in =S Sudan ‘at risk of imminent death’: malnutrition

Mines still claim legs and lives in Libya’s Benghazi, months after fighting ceased

Sudan’s widening bread price protests: in spite of government crackdown…


ODUSA Stories of Martyrs in Egypt

… in 2017, 130 reportedly killed for their faith

Major geopolitical crisis may erupt over who controls world’s longest river

… Egypt vs just about everyone over the Nile

Western Africa / Lake Chad


Battle for land is Nigeria’s biggest security challenge

… Boko Haram dominates headlines, but 2x killed over land (farmers vs herders)

… also: Yoruba in Kogi state reject proposal for Fulani herdsmen cattle colonies

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Rising piracy in the Indian Ocean in 2017 off coast of Somalia

Crowds jostle for holy water as Ethiopia celebrates Epiphany

Ethiopia army suppressing protests in Amhara: gunfire, deaths reported

Middle Africa / Lakes

Southern Africa

Cape water crisis could lead to outbreak of deadly diseases

… especially with the food-borne listeriosis outbreak

Central Asia / Caucasus

Uzbekistan’s first Islamic university opens

… also, approval for construction of several new ‘mini-mosques’

Frontier Ventures’ Central Asia Trek

… recruiting workers to help reach overlooked nomadic peoples

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Tiny, wealthy Qatar goes its own way, and pays for it

Oman: thousands visit festival venues over three days in January

Syria promotes tourism despite civil war


What’s behind Turkey’s attack on the Kurds

… a good, short NYT explainer.

… also, As Turkey attacks Kurds in Syria, US is on the sideline

With more Islamic schooling, Erdogan aims to reshape Turkey

… ‘drive to put religion at the heart of national life’


How corruption and cronyism in banking fueled Iran’s protests

Iran’s protests suppressed but not forgotten (RFE)

Iran’s conservatives step up scrutiny of university students

… most of the protestors were young and students

Iran may try to loosen Revolutionary Guard grip on economy

… estimated to hold around a third of Iranian economy

Millions in Iran watching Christian satellite TV programs

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

Kabul: 22 killed in attack on International Hotel

Save the Children offices attacked in Jalalabad

… suspends all activities in Afghanistan.

… Had branches in 16 of 34 provinces reaching 700k children.

A total of 377 incidents registered against aid workers in 2017, up.

Lack of political will behind increasing Afghan drug trafficking

… biggest drug producer in the world, surged 87% this year


Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet

Maldives / Sri Lanka

Bengali / Bangladesh


NatGeo: how to feed 1.4 billion appetites: revolutionizing ag system

Making inroads into the Middle East, starting with Israel

… China using investments and soft power. More Chinese in Middle East.

Party members sign pledge to shun religion

… in Muslim-majority Hui region of NW China

… ‘atheists in public, who harbor religious sentiments in private’

… ‘this is a serious pledge’

Catholic Bishops asked by Catholic Church to stand aside in favor of those approved by Beijing

… if true, I think this would be a first?

New Ark-shaped church dedicated in Shaanxi

… with seating capacity of over 1,000.

1 in 60 million: life as a ‘left-behind’ child in China

Beijing parents put off having 2nd child by financial pressure

… bad downward spiral

The truth about China’s unknown millions of drug users

Foreign workers typically pick Shanghai

… BUT other cities on the rise, new incentives, opportunities



Preventing a post-collapse crisis in Korea (Foreign Affairs)

… how to avoid famine and mass migration

Southeast Asia

The rapid rise of censorship in Southeast Asia

… governments clamping down on the Internet, social media

Rohingyas and the unfinished business of partition

… ‘crisis has roots in the partition of 1947’

… see also “The great divide: the violent legacy of Indian partition” (New Yorker, 2015)

Cambodia: crackdown crushes media, opposition

… ‘last vestiges of democratic govt disappeared in 2017’

The role of Facebook in the fall of democracy

Myanmar: who dares speak truth to power?

… fate of two detained journalists is intertwined with future of political transition

in the north, long-forgotten conflict (Kachin) flares out of view.

Laos: check out Team Expansion’s Vision Laos conference, Feb 26-27

Thailand: bomb in market in southern Yala province kills 3, wounds 22

… area has had a long running insurgency, but first bomb in some months

Notable Europe / Americas

Fastest shrinking populations on Earth are in Eastern Europe

… Bulgaria, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, etc., shrinking by > 15%

Europe brings on charm and blue skies to lure Chinese tourists

… 12.4 million Chinese visited Europe in 2017; likely 20.8m by 2022

Number of murders soared in Mexico

… violence due to expanding Jalisco drug cartel

New global data

Riding the Wave: the East Asian Miracle

… World Bank PDF/book on wave of prosperity, 3 out of 5 citizens lifted out of poverty

Preventive Priorities Survey (CFR)

… 8 conflicts considered ‘top tier’ risks

… these areas could impact unreached work, but also

… possibilities for being blessing to those affected

… also, The Black Swans of 2018: below the radar national security threats

CFR Interactive exploration of Modern Slavery

… root causes, and the human toll: over 40 million victims

Major hotels a prime target of attack around the world

… places in style with vacationers, Westerners have been targeted 

Economist: the world’s most dangerous cities

… San Salvador is the worst.

FAO: Shaping the future of livestock (PDF).

… over 770mln survive on

Longer reads & Resources

Video: The Changing Demographics of Global Protestantism, 1517-2017

… Dr. Todd Johnson, at Gordon-Conwell’s Reformation Celebration Conference

Looking for ancient African religion? Try Christianity. (CT)

… it’s been in Africa so long it can be considered an indigenous religion.

IRIN: Five migration trends to watch in 2018

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

15 books every first-time manager should read

… lots of good recommendations in here.

Don’t just network: build your ‘meaningful network’ to maximize impact

… written especially from an introvert’s standpoint.

… TONS of practical advice here!

For a more creative brain, embrace constraints

… limitations inspire better thinking

Why willpower is overrated

… ‘effortful restraint is not the key to the good life… what is?’

9 antidotes to the Facebook algorithm squeeze

… good practical tips, including the ‘mom test’

Success Metric vs. Fail Condition: to the pain!

… ‘almost impossible to accept failure… always potential rationalization…’

… instead of trying to prove a hypothesis, we should try to disprove it

… (this is a key element of testing!)

In defense of experiment velocity

… it’s not how many experiments you run

… It’s whether those learnings validate or invalidate a critical element of the business model.

… if incentivized based on any metric, we will game it

Startups, Strategy, Books

New Book: Building Bridges to Oral Cultures: journeys among the least-reached

… Jim & Carla Bowman in Mexico, develop of local oral arts to communicate the Gospel

First 30 Daze: Practical encouragement for living abroad intentionally

… Great little devotional book. 30 chapters, each focus on a specific topic (‘prayer’, ‘humility,’ ‘language learning,’ etc). 2 pages of why/vision casting/inspiration, followed by a page of practical suggestions for getting out and doing it, and then one page of guided journal questions for the day (who did you meet, what did you eat, where did you visit, etc) and a page for freeform journal notes. I’m not all the way through it and I’ve found some really good nuggets I wish I’d had in our first 30 days abroad. Highly recommended. From same guys who brought us Tradecraft, another high recommendation.

Little Bets: how breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries. This short read is all about why you should encourage experimentation (primarily in work contexts) and how to go about doing it. It encourages you not to bet the farm (consider what you can afford to risk); how to have a growth mindset; failing quickly to learn fast only works if you learn; why ‘play’ can unlock innovation, and so on. Lots of little nuggets in here for how to leverage small experiments to iterate toward big innovations.

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Restoring hope for refugees

… a story from the Ali Addeh camp in Djibouti

Moroccan halal food in South Korea’s capital

On Google Maps, take a trip down the road that leads from Russia to North Korea

ICYMI: A dozen camels disqualified form a Saudi beauty pageant

… because of botox injections.


Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble (NYT Longread)

… driven by greed, but could build something more important than wealth

Ecuador is fighting crime using Chinese surveillance technology

… crime down 24%. China biggest buyer of Ecuadorian crude oil.

China’s Great Leap to wallet-free living

… over 650 million smartphone users in China (2x USA population)

… $9 trillion in mobile payments in 2017 (US, $112 billion)

In China, big data is watching you

… ‘and that could be a huge challenge to the West

China, unhampered by rules, races ahead in gene-editing trials

… first to test Crispr biotech on humans

The iOS economy in statistics

… developers earned $26.5 billion in 2017 (more than McDonalds annual revenue)

… $100 million per day in purchases of Apps; = Google Adwords yearly revenue in 2012

NatGeo: They are watching you, and everything else on the planet

… tech and increasing demand for security have put us all under surveillance

Report (PDF): Corporate surveillance in everyday life (Cracked Labs)

China drone company building a UAV capable of a 20-ton payload


“To push the boundaries, you need to know where the edges are.” ~Mark Boulton

“The religious man makes everything about himself. A righteous man makes everything about serving others.” ~?

“Our most dangerous areas of ignorance are in the shadows of what we know best. We stop learning everywhere we think we’ve achieved expertise.” ~Dan Bouchelle

“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.” ~A.W. Tozer

“We get angry when we feel like God owes us a better life than we have.” ~Tim Keller

“Unfortunately, when it comes to mission, we Westerners like to be central to the solution, not peripheral. We like to be in the limelight.” ~Craig Greenfield

“Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either.” ~Bonhoeffer

“Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

“Nothing of real eternal value is in jeopardy while Jehovah is on the throne.” ~Charles Spurgeon

“One of the ways we think too highly of ourselves is by thinking too little of others.” ~C. M. Clark

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