Roundup 171

New Events

North-West Africa

Tunisia’s Islamist party announces presidential candidate – Link

Another story of a church closing in Algeria: just another data point in the continued trend – Link

Egypt / Sudan

Another report on how poverty keeps climbing in Egypt – Link

Half the people in Sudan and Jordan want to emigrate – Link

How Sudan’s military overcame the revolution – Link


Enugu diocese facing Islamic militia attacks says ‘Enough is enough’ – Link
… demands ‘bad’ members of Fulani tribe be ‘flushed out’ and local self-protection groups be ‘equipped’

Anti-Christian attacks in Nigeria threaten the precarious balance of faiths – Link
… “The most immediate cause of strife is a government proposal to move Fulani herdsmen from their historic areas in the north of the country into the south, which is occupied by Igbo Christians and Yorubas, who are both Christians and traditional religious practitioners. The program, the Rural Grazing Area settlement program, or RUGA, was designed to help herdsmen escape depleted herding areas and drought.”

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Al Jazeera has a 2-part video article on Hassan al-Turabi, one of the most influential political figures in Sudan – Link

Catastrophic droughts are becoming the new normal in Somalia – Link

Southern Africa

A million Zimbabweans are on the brink of starvation – Link

Central Asia / Caucasus

Kazakhstan halts implementation of an internet surveillance system criticized by its lawyers as illegal – Link
… we originally reported the system back on 7/26 (#169) …

Kyrgyzstan’s ex-president arrested “after 2 days of unrest” – Link
… “political crisis sparked by standoff will cost long-term stability and prosperity”

Turkmenistan’s president, on the other hand, appears to be on summer vacation – Link
… for some time people thought he was perhaps sick or dead as he ‘disappeared’
… still, not everyone’s convinced … Link

Uzbekistan says it’s reforming, but democracy seems to remain out of reach – Link
… elections slated for late-2019/2020, but will it remain basically a one-party state?

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

” Saudi Arabia extends new rights to women in blow to oppressive system” – Link

Over 2 million Muslims are in Mecca for the start of the hajj – Link
… here’s a fun infographic from Al Jazeera exploring people flying to Saudi for the hajj – Link

An estimated 100,000 have been detained or gone missing in Syria , UN estimates – Link
… “reports suggest”
… “government mainly responsible”
… “can’t confirm, because can’t access detention centers”

West Asia / Turkey

Turkey’s deportation policy is killing Syrian refugees” – Link
… “once welcomed millions of refugees
… now being sent back,
… where they face danger and death”

Magnitude 6 quake in western Turkey: 20 injuries, no deaths – Link
… 1999 magnitude-7.4 quake killed 17,000. But remember, magnitudes are exponential

Visa-free travel between TurkeyRussia begins – Link


In Iran , “Five years after Christians forced out of Erbil, the situation still delicate” – Link

Iran allegedly jamming GPS systems to get ships to wander into its territorial waters – Link
… tensions between Iran and various Western nations continue to increase

Caught between the militias and the Islamic State in Nineveh Plains, Iraq- Link
… 18 months after IS was defeated, militias still guard checkpoints in cities, and reports of misbehavior are common …

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

“Violence worsens as US-Taliban peace talks plod on” – Link

“In ** Afghanistan** , endgame demands a difficult balancing act in a region on edge” – Link

A car bomb attack in Kabul left 18 dead, 145 wounded – Link

Stratfor looks at Balochistan , Pakistan: “a strategically significant frontier” – Link
… 40% of the landmass, Belt & Road project site, massive resources of minerals, but insurgencies and lots of problems.


India’s water crisis – Link
… “facing the ‘worst’ water crisis in history
… 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress…”
… “21 cities will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people”

The big event of the week: Kashmir’s special autonomous status to be scrapped – Link
… It not excessive to say it is something that could very possibly lead to war with Pakistan. There are many analyses articles and explainers in the press. I’ve tried to curate a collection of links that bring out the various data points.
… the strong mandate for the Modi second term led to it – Link
… is it all about land? Link
… or is it all about Modi trying to make India a Hindu nation? – Link
… life in Kashmir comes to a halt under India’s clampdown – Link
… 500 arrests, communications blackout from Kashmir – Link
… “residents say they are starving”: first hand accounts from inside the region – Link
… “protests flare in Kashmir” – Link
… Pakistan strongly protests the action – Link
… severe tension between Pakistan, India
… Pakistan expels the Indian ambassador – Link
… will downgrade ties, suspend trade with India – Link
… halts train service, bans India films in Pakistan – Link
… Pakistan’s military commanders: will go to “any extent” – Link
… In other articles, Pakistan rules out military action
… so unclear – Link
… perhaps more importantly, China has a role to play in this too – Link

Floods displace 140,000+ in Maharashtra- Link


The Hong Kong protests: unstoppable force, immovable wall fast approaching: the city seems paralyzed by protests that have continued for 2 months now. Not enough is being done either to listen to the protesters or to stop them. Eventually China will step in. Chinese officials delivered a stern warning, but some watchers think the protesters think the officials are bluffing and will test them this weekend.
… China official: HK “facing the worst crisis since 1997” – Link
… “strike sinks city into chaos, and HK government has little reply” – “over 200 flights disrupted” – Link
… “protests spread, leaving city paralyzed”
… “hundreds arrested” – Link
… “Hong Kong not ready to give up: historic protest” – Link
… “armed thugs in white attack protesters” – Link
… Beijing warns protesters “not to take restraint for weakness” – Link
… “Protesters pushing Hong Kong ’to the abyss’
… those who play with fire, Beijing warns…” – Link
… Top HK police commander recalled from retirement as violence escalates – Link
… US issues travel warning – Link


“Craving freedom, Japan’s women opt out of marriage” – Link
… in the mid 90s, just 1:20 women were unmarried at age 50. By 2015, 1:7.
… growing number of businesses now cater to singles, and esp. single women
… implications for the church, church growth, and church expansion?


China detains 60 N Korean defectors , begins repatriating them to N Korea where they could face punishment – Link

Southeast Asia

Myanmar’s military controls an extensive business empire that enables it to avoid accountability and conduct operations with impunity against ethnic groups” – similar to Iran’s Republican Guard – Link

New Data

4 out of 10 indigenous languages are at risk of disappearing – Link
… friends at SIL confirm this data. In a recent conversation, Patrick Johnstone commented on his own prediction: by 2100, over 90% of the world’s population would probably be actively using several hundred languages only, with most of the others extinct or only used in the home by older people. This leads to significant ramifications for people group and language thinking.

High unemployment rates among rural youth are destabilizing North Africa and the Near East – Link

Longer reads

Mission Catalyst has some great resources to praying for Muslims during the hajj pilgrimage – Link

Shane Bennett: “Five sure fire ways to start a conversation with a Muslim” – Link

White nationalism, terrorism, and leaderless resistance: this article in The Atlantic looks at the powers and limitations of ‘leaderless resistance’ – Link


Conspiracy Counteroffensive: authoritarian governments have been using disinformation to disrupt protests; now protesters are evolving to take them on – Link

Chinese officials have finally discovered Twitter. “What could possibly go wrong?” (Might want to be more aware of who follows you on social media?) Link

China’s mysterious ‘Biang Kong’ blacklist that can bar anyone from entering or leaving the country – Link

Why you think your devices are listening to you: the power of big data and prediction – Link
… everything is listening to you. Just not quite in the way you think.

There have been some notable recent instances where people are listening to conversations, but companies are addressing the privacy implications – Link

One example is Amazon, giving options to disable human review of recordings – Link

“The Trump administration is coming after WhatsApp” – another data point in the idea of companies voluntarily opening up so the government can monitor. I judge there to be low risk of this happening – Link

The trend of Internet shutdowns – Link

Chinese people are pushing back on Beijing’s surveillance – Link


“How long will you put off what you are capable of doing just to continue what you are comfortable doing?” ~James Clear

“You count what counts.” ~Warren Buffett

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