Roundup 178

New Events

North-West Africa

Split vote complicates government formation after Tunisia election – Link
… “Any government that does emerge will face the same challenges that have bedeviled its predecessors: high unemployment, inflation and public debt, a powerful union that resists change and foreign lenders who demand it.”

Stalemate in Algeria six months after the start of protests that ousted leader – Link
… “people are still demonstrating and the military-backed government appears determined to keep its grip on power.”
… “Thousands of students turn out on Tuesdays and there are larger protests each Friday.”

Egypt / Sudan

Egypt quashes the protest movement, harshly – Link
… “The harsh crackdown — one of the largest waves of arrests in Egypt in decades — has ended the short-lived protest movement and put Mr. el-Sisi back in control, at least for now.”

Western Africa / Lake Chad

Some progress made toward security in Mali, but a long way to go – Link
… accounts of violence continue to surge, but some efforts to accelerate peace have been fruitful.

The story of Sierra Leone’s Krio people, in photos – Link


6 teenage girls, 2 staff members from Christian school Engravers’ College abducted by Fulani – Link

Two Nigerian evangelicals executed in Boko Haram video – Link
… “As ethnic and religious clashes intensify, the terrorists have pledged to kill every Christian they capture.”

“Thousands of Nigerian hunters prepare to chase Boko Haram” – Link
… “It is a sign that Nigerian authorities, who have repeatedly claimed the defeat of Boko Haram, might be running out of options against the Islamic extremists and a recent offshoot that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.”

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Ethiopia’s Oromo celebrate thanksgiving festival in Addis for first time in 150 years – Photos

Ethiopia says Egypt is trying to maintain “colonial era” grip over the Nile – Link
… the comments highlight the difficulties of finding a compromise over the water
… Egypt relies on the Nile for 90% of its fresh water,

Central Asia / Caucasus

China buys 80% of Turkmenistan’s exports, cementing its influence – Link

Uzbekistan: where freedoms are expanding—Slowly – Link

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Saudi oil production will be restored “by the end of the year” – Link

West Asia / Turkey

As has been well documented (just about everywhere), Turkey launches anti-Kurdish operations in Syria – Link

Why is Turkey fighting the Kurds in Syria? NYT Explainer – Link

The US is considering sanctions against Turkey in response to military ops in Syria – Link

Stratfor reviews the fragility of the Turkish economy – Link

Syrian Christians to US: “Don’t abandon us now” (Christianity Today) – Link
… “After surviving a civil war and ISIS attacks, the Christian minority fears a Turkish takeover in Kurdish border region.”


The lucrative business of Iran’s Instagram influencers (and the dangers of it, too) – Link
… so you can find Iranians on Instagram.

Saudi Arabia, Iran make quiet openings to head off war – Link

Iraq struggles to contain waves of protests – Link
… 110 have died in uprising – Link

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

“We are inside the fire”: an oral history of the war in Afghanistan – Link
… from 1989 to today.

Afghan town’s first female mayor awaits her assassination – Link


Jammu & Kashmir reopen to tourists after 2 months – Link

India’s onion crisis – why rising prices make politicians cry – Link
… “fluctuating price is a measure of inflation”

Bengali / Bangladesh

The rise and rise of Bangladesh – but is life getting any better? Link
… “The country has undergone an economic miracle in recent years, albeit at huge cost to its garment workers. But things are finally starting to improve for them…”


More clashes in Hong Kong over anti-face mask law – Link
… “At this stage we don’t feel any hope,” said one demonstrator, who asked not to be named. “We can’t do anything against the police, and obviously the laws no longer work here. Still every time I think of the other protestors who have been injured or arrested, I feel we have no right to give up.”

Hong Kong’s economy “busts” under “triple whammy” of civil unrest, US-China trade war, and falling global growth – I have been theorizing Beijing may be playing a long game in response to Hong Kong protests, thinking an economic down turn + triad violence will affect local businessmen who will in turn pressure the protests to end – they don’t want the bad press of another Tiananmen, but if asked in by HK businessmen to “restore order” they will respond – Link

Lam warns “no options ruled out” if protests continue but holds out carrot, “we should find solutions ourselves” – Link

Repression in Xinjiang leaves tens of thousands of children with parents – Link

Japan / Koreas / Mongolia

Japan’s fertility crisis worsening, sharpest drop in fertility in 30 years – Link
… “as the pool of women of childbearing age shrinks and more women delay having children or decide not to have them at all”

Southeast Asia

“Indonesia teeters on the edge of a student revolt” – Link

How Cambodia’s backpacker haven [Sihanoukville] became a Chinese casino mecca – Link

Ongoing crackdown on online commenters in Vietnam: another arrest for Facebook postings – Link

Notable Europe / Americas

Quito in crisis as Ecuador protests continue – Link

Family, faith and flag: the religious right and the battle for Poland’s soul – Link

Beta O’Rourke: Religious institutions should lose tax-exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage – Link
… I don’t think this has a prayer of happening any time in the short-term (or even mid-term future). But it does show a significant transition. Personally, I’m not sure tax-exempt status has really done the church many (any?) favors.

New Data

“The geography of poverty hotspots” – Link
… “it is increasingly important to know where poverty is concentrated at a level more granular than a country.”
… “majority of developing countries still have at least one region where extreme poverty is likely to persist in 2030”
… “Using spatial data on nighttime luminosity from satellite images, we can generate more granular, detailed forecasts for subnational growth and poverty.”
… (Interesting, because it illuminates poverty locations, but also because of the notable correlation between poverty and unreachedness.)

Travel & Mobility Report 2019 (I haven’t reviewed it yet) – Link

The number of people in the average US household is going up for the first time in 160 years – Link

Longer reads

Here’s a “debate” on CPM/DMM vs. Traditional Approaches (video). The CPM side is taken by my friend and colleague Dave Coles. It’s a pleasant debate that looks at the different sides. I’ve unfortunately had a very full week and haven’t had the chance to watch the debate (2 hours in total) in full, but Doug Lucas recommended it and it was hosted by MissioNexus so it should be worth a watch. Link

Resource: 15 Days of Prayer for the Hindu World, starts 10/20. Link


Microsoft used machine-learning technology to make a bot that comments on news articles – the idea is to make valuable comments on an article to inspire real people to likewise engage – Link

How Spotify’s algorithm knows exactly what you want to listen to – and how it introduces new things you might want to listen to – an examination of how Spotify deals with the explore/exploit problem – Link

An EU court ruling says European governments can force Facebook to remove defamatory content globally – Link

Apple may release glasses next year (“Eyepods”?) – Link

“From porn to scams, deep fakes are becoming a big racket” – Link

Getting a new mobile number in China will involve a facial recognition test – Link

This entry was posted in Roundup. Bookmark the permalink.