Roundup 168

Research Findings

With the merger of Pakistan’s FATA province into Khyber P., I project in 2025 the five largest Stage 0 provinces (<0.1% Christian) in my database will be: (1) Pyongan-namdo, North Korea; (2) Pyongyang, North Korea; (3) Mazandaran, Iran; (4) Hamgyong, North Korea; (5) Kerman, Iran. Each has a population of between 3 and 4.5 million people.

I project in 2025 the five largest Stage 1 (<2% Christian) provinces will be: (1) Maharashtra, India; (2) Bihar, India; (3) West Bengal, India; (4) Rajasthan, India; and (5) Madhya Pradesh, India.

New Events

North-West Africa

Turmoil in Algeria: military clamps down on rising protests – Link
… dozens of arrests, news websites blocked

North Africa / Warring States

Libya: “no solution,” powers call for de-escalation – Link
… “growing humanitarian emergency”, 1,000+ dead

Egypt / Sudan

Sudan powers signed a transition agreement – Link
… but many details are left unsettled, and more protests likely
… Despite the crisis, the door is ‘wide open’ for the Gospel – Link


Stopping Herder-Farmer Violence (Longread Analysis) – Link

CFR tracker explores the statistics and history of violence – Link
… 37,500 killed since 2011, 2.4 million displaced
… “The farmer-herder conflict has become Nigeria’s gravest security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency”

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Eritrea’s gulag state is crumbling – Link

Eritrea closes last Christian-run health center – Link

Protestors in Ethiopia seek new Sidama region – Link

Hotel attack in Somalia leaves 20 dead – Link

Middle Africa / Lakes

Ebola reaches city of Goma, DRC – Link
… declared a global health emergency – Link
… has infected 2,500+ and killed 1,700+

National Geographic had a beautiful photographed piece in May on the battle against Ebola – Link

Central Asia / Caucasus

Kazakhstan: “The Long road to recognition” – Link
… diaspora minority churches in Central Asia: history & recent recognition

Kyrgyzstan: “Registration only gives you permission to exist” – Link
… “giving registration does not guarantee people can exercise their freedom of religion and belief”.

Turkmenistan: Motherland of prosperity, or famine? (Longread) – Link

Uzbekistan video: the silkworm harvest – Link
… “the silk economy buttresses the pensions of many housewives”

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Story of Armenian Christian woman horrifically martyred by fundamentalists in Syria – Link

In Southern Syria, under government control, disappearances & arrests abound – Link

West Asia / Turkey

“Play and Pray: mosque’s playground draws kids” – Link
… “teaches Quran in summertime classes. When he noticed only a few children would sign up for classes…”
… he who has an ear …

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

Over 590 killed, 2,500 wounded in Afghanistan in three months – Link

NYT: “What kind of peace talks are these? On the frontlines of a 17-year-old war” Link
… 17+ years, billions of dollars, 45,000 Afghani police/soldiers killed
… this article features interviews with Afghani police/soldiers about the peace talks

“Real question: how long after US [exits] will Taliban be back in power?” Link
… this op/ed author suggests 2023 …

Pakistan has lifted its restrictions on civilian air traffic – Link
… which it had closed after India struck an alleged terrorist training camp
… a sign that Pakistan-India relations are returning to normal


Madness in the hills: India declares millions of its citizens to be foreigners – Link
… “The unlucky victims must prove the opposite in special courts”

Reviving plan for Hindu settlements in Kashmir – Link
… just when things had mostly settled down

Delhi rolls out a massive network of surveillance cameras – Link
… they say it’s to fight crime. And, maybe it is. But …

Chennai: Life in a city without water is anxious, exhausting, sweaty – Link

10 killed in caste-driven land dispute in India – Link
… “one of the deadliest such episodes in years”
… “The case exemplifies the pressures on land in India, where 1.3 billion people are crowded into a space about the size of a third of the United States, experts said. The violence may also reflect harsh caste dynamics in rural India, even today…”

Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet

Millions displaced as monsoon rains, floods hit north India, Nepal, Bangladesh – Link

Bengali / Bangladesh

“To survive in a wetter world, raise ducks, not chickens” – Link
… “Farmers in Bangladesh are adapting to climate change
… having an impact on faraway places, including on restaurant menus.”
… affects NGO programs, microenterprise, etc.


ABC (Australia) produced a 45 minute documentary on the Uighur crisis – Link
… “tell the world”: I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s got good reviews

Hong Kong working on plan to solve political chaos – Link
… “military force has been ruled out”

The trade war between the US and China is impacting regional economies – Link
… but I haven’t seen this impact any mission deployments yet.


might not want foreigners, but has 2.6 million of them – Link
… increasing by 170k yearly. Mostly Chinese, S Koreans, Vietnamese

Southeast Asia

The insurgency in the south of Thailand is gaining strength – Link

Singapore deploys robots to spruce up city – Link
… “They scrub, mop, vacuum and sweep autonomously, and can entertain by rapping in English.”

New Data

Pew releases 10th annual report on changing restrictions on religion – Link

Why big data is getting bigger – updated infographic on the fascinating and fun “how much data is generated every minute” chart – Link

New State of Food Security and Hunger 2019 report released – Link
… over 820 million hungry

Longer reads

An argument that religious freedom and economic growth correlate – Link

How the local church can help returning missionaries in the throes of reverse culture shock – Link


Interesting: “despite the known surveillance risks, 70% of Tibetans use WeChat” – Link

“Chinese messaging app WeChat relies on the input of unwitting users to autonomously expand its blacklist of sensitive images” – Link

Chad returns to the Internet social media after a 16 month blackout – Link

India is shooting for the moon – Link

Why driverless cars are taking longer than expected – Link

Google officially closes ‘Dragonfly,’ it’s controversial Chinese search project – Link

Not just people: a Chinese AI startup is tracking lost dogs using their nose prints. (Also, irresponsible pet owners.) Link

Connecting the unconnected: 9 startups expanding Internet access around the world – Link

Fascinating: AI smokes 5 poker champs at a time – Link
… a brief examination of Monte Carlo counterfactual regret minimization. You’ll thank me. Maybe.

I don’t remember seeing this: an infographic “visualizing Internet repression around the world.” Link

Air pollution in China is so bad that solar panels don’t work – Link


“Girl child-soldiers and their children born during captivity have become the most stigmatized and ostracized population in Uganda. People reject them because they are a constant reminder of the atrocities that occurred during the war.” ~Bonnie Hatcher, quoted by Lausanne

“If we are uneducated, we shall not know how very old are all new ideas.” ~G.K. Chesterton

“‪If your religion is all about being right, don’t expect it to make you good or gracious as well.”‬ ~Dan Bouchelle

“I reject a heaven that I must enter by shutting my eyes to the sufferings of my fellow men.” ~A.W. Tozer

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