Roundup 164

New events

North Africa

Libya: a resolve to fight hardens – Link

West Africa

Thousands of children are abused in Senegal’s religious schools – Link
… “parents sent them to learn the Koran. Teachers beat and starve them…”

300,000 have fled flare-up in ethnic violence in NE DR Congo – Link
… “People are fleeing attacks and counter attacks in Djugu Territory…”

Despite peace deal, Cent Africa Repub population face daily acts of violence – Link

East Africa/Horn

Eritrea seized, closed all Catholic-run health centers – Link
… possible retaliation for Catholic critique of government

Still more sporadic bombings in Somali capital – Link
… quiet-er, but not fully quite yet. 11 dead, 25 hurt.
… another: Kenyan police officers killed in bombing near Somali border – Link

US pouring millions of dollars into aid for Somalia – Link
… Somali foreign minister appeals to diaspora to consider returning home – Link

Burundi showing encouraging signs, still fragile – Link
… “close to 1.8 million need humanitarian assistance…”

Sudan ousted a brutal dictator: his successor was his enforcer – Link

US calls military crackdown ‘devastating’, urges independent investigation – Link

Rape and Sudan’s revolution: “They were crying and screaming” – Link
… “Janjaweed, Sudan’s security forces, raped women as they dispersed protesters”

S Sudan facing famine in all but name – Link

Central Asia

Kazakhstan detains 500 protesting election seen as a shoo-in – Link

China’s Muslim minorities seek sanctuary in Kazakhstan – video – Link
… “Compared to China, Kazakhstan is a relative haven for religious freedom”

Turkmenistan is in the midst of an acute demographic crisis – Link
… 2 million (of 5.8 million total) have fled the country in the past decade

West Asia/Gulf

The kidnapped Yazidi children who don’t want to be rescued from ISIS – Link
… “still living with militants… in some cases have grown to love them…”

Two years after a disastrous referendum, Iraq’s Kurds are prospering – Link

Protests in southern Basra in Iraq resume as temperatures and anger rise – Link

Also, India heat wave, soaring to 123, killed at least 36 – Link
… “heat waves have grown particularly intense in the last decade…”

Chennai water crisis leaves millions in India struggling for access – Link
… delayed monsoons, all 4 primary reservoirs dry, 4 million dependent on makeshift wells, non-potable water

Extreme heat, drought a significant factor in much of the unreached part of the world
… will impact politics, economics, as well as the spread of the Gospel

Syria: BBC audio program on how Assad’s hold on power is changing – Link

South Asia

Afghanistan: The brave merchants of Wakhan – Link
… “unreached”: Drivers put up with 5,000m high passes and extreme weather to deliver basic goods to Afghanistan’s isolated northeast.

Iran threatened to increase its uranium stockpile above the 2015 limit – Link
… “amid escalating tensions with the United States”

Elite defense force finds new funding sources as tensions rise – Link
… “Infrastructure, smuggling helps Revolutionary Guard skirt sanctions”

India’s ailing health sector – Link
… poor quality, expensive, becoming a national crisis
… 54% of health professionals do not have proper qualifications

The Islamic State comes to Pakistan and India – Link
… “Islamic State of Khorasan Province…”

East Asia

The US-China trade war could drive up the price of Bibles – Link
… “particularly hard hit would be Bible producers, according to HarperCollins…”
… the irony and perils of China being the largest printer of Bibles.

China/Hong Kong

With hymns and prayers, Christians help drive Hong Kong’s protests – Link

How Hong Kong’s leader made the biggest political retreat by China under Xi – Link

How big were the protests? How to evaluate aerial images – Link
… this is an awesome piece of work by the NYT to show the full extent of the march

Also, a piece by Reuters more on the measurement of crowds – Link
… lots of photos and illustrations of how it’s done

Did Beijing blink? If so, why? Link

More than 25% of HK population of 7.4 million protested – Link
… 2 million people in photos – Link

China cyberattack against Telegram, used by protestors – Link
… “forced him to open his phone, took data on 20,000 person chat group”

HK anti-terrorism task force goes to Xinjiang to study local methods – Link

BBC given rare access inside China’s “Thought transformation” camps – Video

South Korea to send 50,000 tons of rice to the North – Link
… “in the hope that the aid will improve ties…”

Injuries are killing more N Koreans as push for growth – Link
… “accidents are overtaxing the health care system…”

Southeast Asia

Malaysia: Kelantan aims to convert Orang Asli to Islam in 30 years – Link

New Data

Time to update the datasets – the UN’s new 2019 Population Prospects is out – Link

World’s population will stop growing by the end of the century – Link
… this will change my Perspectives presentation – somewhat
… but population growth will continue in some regions, especially Africa
… Global fertility rate to fall to 1.9, median age will rise to 42.
… Still, this projection is nearly 75 years away! Much can change

China’s populations will peak in 2023 – Link
… five years earlier than official estimates

New UNHCR Global Trends: Forced Displacement 2018 report – Link
… Forced displacement at record high of 68.5 million in 2017
… AP: Nearly 71 million now displaced by war, violence at home – Link

1 in 5 faces mental health condition in conflict zones – Link
… Depression, anxiety, PTSD – I’m surprised it’s that low.

Longer reads

A once unthinkable proposal for [closed, separated] refugee camps – Link

Refugees in a Minnesota city face a backlash – Link
… “as more Somali refugees arrive in St. Cloud…”

Remember the story of post-WW2, “Send missionaries to Japan”? Here’s the story of Ralph Calcote, who was one of those missionaries (#100), who recently died at age 95 – Link

How to acquire your first 20 customers for your startup – Link
… there’s a few ideas here that could be useful both to mobilizers and CPM starters looking for PoPs

Asia Bibi has won her battle, but many more Christian minorities struggle for justice in Pakistan – Link

Minimalism, success, and the curious writing habit of George R. R. Martin – Link
… “So often we think that we need more to be successful
… but maybe what we really need is less.”

Make friends with the monster chewing on your leg – Link
… a great little piece about the emotions that come with trying to do something that scales, and how to manage them. Written for startups but applies to rapidly multiplying movements and the people who are trying to start them.

See also: Give away your Legos and other commandments for scaling startups – Link
… how quick are we to give up our existing jobs/responsibilities as people are added, in order to multiply?

If you can do 40 pushups in a row, … your risk of heart attack is 30x less – Link


Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report (333 slides) – Link

The next big phones could bring a billion people online – Link
… About 50% of humanity doesn’t have Internet access.
… Enter a $20 device with smartphone brains and a 5-day battery.

Facebook announced its virtual currency project, grabbed a lot of headlines. Link
… It’s just an announcement. Who knows if it will be successful.
… But, part of this is about reducing the costs of remittances – Link

Internet shutdowns are on the rise around the world – Link
… obscure to obvious: blocking websites, bandwidth throttling, complete shutdowns
… Example: Ethiopia just now back online after 1-week cut – Link
… Algeria Internet partially blocked during protests – Link

Prototype drones that can combine themselves, hints at modularity – Link

Houthis use armed drone to target Yemeni top brass – Link
… “This event marks a significant milestone during the conflict in Yemen, as well as the application of basic armed drones to conflict in general.”

Hong Kong is a live demonstration of China’s censorship abilities: “
…creating an alternative reality about the Hong Kong protests, in real time.” Technically amazing, strategically sophisticated, clever, and chilling. Link

Adobe’s prototype AI tool automatically spots Photoshopped faces – Link

New deepfake video tech turns single photo + audio file into a singing video portrait – Link
… I’m watching deepfake video quite closely. This could be used in restricted access nations to create confusing videos targeting missionaries that could be launched into communities and rile them up against workers. (Combine deepfake video with Whatsapp/FB viral spread…)

Top AI researchers race to detect “deepfake” videos: “We are outgunned” – Link
… “could undermine candidates and mislead voters during 2020 campaign”
… “much in the same way fake news stories and deceptive FB groups were deployed”

How A.I. can be weaponized to spread disinformation – Link
… “researchers at the world’s top artificial intelligence labs are honing technology that can mimic how humans write, which could potentially help disinformation campaigns go undetected by generating huge amounts of subtly different messages.”

Text based editing of talking head video – Link
… “type the text, the head says the text”

Virtual (“fake”) influencers, news announcers, etc – life-realistic people who are completely controllable, can sell products, ideas – Link

CityLab’s “How to disappear” (from April) – Link
… “is it possible to move through a smart city undetected?”

Twitter turns off location tagging for tweets – Link

How surveillance cameras can be weaponized with A.I. – Link
… “Businesses and the government have spent years installing millions of surveillance cameras across the United States. Now, that technology is on the verge of getting a major upgrade, the American Civil Liberties Union warns in a new report.”

School in Shenzen installed facial recognition at its gate – Link

Chinese balk at using apps to snitch on their neighbors – Link

China boasting it now has “the world’s largest social credit system” – Link
… (isn’t it also, “the only”?)

It’s time to switch to a “privacy browser” – all about blocking tracking cookies – Link

Hoax “sextortion” attacks are on the rise – losses $83 million last year alone – Link

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