Roundup 184

New Events

Egypt / Sudan

Owners of the Republic: an anatomy of Egypt’s military economy – Link
… The Egyptian military’s takeover in 2013 transformed its role in the national economy, turning it into an autonomous actor that can reshape markets and influence government policy setting and investment strategies. Downloadable PDF.

Western Africa / Lake Chad

Islamic State says it massacred soldiers in Mali – Link

Three-country crisis across central Sahel puts whole generation at risk – Link

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Why the Seychelles has the world’s worst heroin problem – Link
… 10% of its 94,000 are addicted …

Central Asia / Caucasus

“In a Tajik village… children’s laughter echoes in fatherless homes” – Link
… The breadwinners had been away for months and sometimes years in Russia, the country that … today still takes in Tajik workers en masse with the promise of wages that will help support families left behind in poor, remote places like Budiyon.
… Almost one-third of Tajikistan’s GDP is dependent on remittances from Russia, and some Tajik men find new wives there and never return to the women and children to whom they bade farewell.

Kyrgyzstan: living off illegal “black gold” (coal mining) – Link

Teachers toil in cotton fields as Tajikistan tries to fix the trade imbalance – Link
… “Farmers are forced to grow it. Teachers are forced to pick it. And though everyone loses, the government still thinks cotton will fix its lopsided balance of trade.”

Protests revived in Georgia following election reform failure – Link

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

8 years later, Syrians still feel welcomed in Jordan – Link
… Jordan is the third-largest host of Syrian refugees today, behind Turkey and Lebanon. Over one million Syrian citizens live in Jordan, 654,000 of them being UNHCR-registered refugees.

Economic crisis looms as protests rage in Lebanon – Link
… they’ve been burning for a month, sparked by an effort by the government to tax WhatsApp.


Iran Protests:
Reduction in fuel subsidies sparks protests – Link
50% increase in first 60 liters bought monthly, 3x for any additional purchases
Iran knew price hikes would cause protests but did so out of necessity – Link
… By the same token it is likely Iran is willing to crack down harshly if protests continue
“Four days that shook Iran” – Link
Amnesty: over 100 protesters killed – Link
… “security forces have been given a green light to crush the protests”
Iran blocks nearly all Internet access – Link
… “Shutting down the Internet to get away with murder” – Link
Revolutionary Guards warn of decisive action if unrest continues – Link
… at least 100 banks, dozens of cars, buildings torched
… worst unrest since 2017
11/21 Iran says protests are over – Link
… but evidence says otherwise
US sanctions are sending Iranians to Turkey in droves – economy migrants & asylum seekers – Link

Iraq Protests
Key bridges sealed as protest pick up pace, security forces work to stop gatherings – Link
… “keep up until government is forced to resign”

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

As American ground forces in Afghanistan shrink, US and allied planes are dropping bombs, firing missiles at a record pace in the 18-year-long war – Link

One-third of Afghans need urgent humanitarian aid – Link

… “millions suffer from acute food insecurity”

Prolonged Patience: the results of the Afghanistan elections are still being debated – Link


Book review of “Nightmarch: among India’s revolutionary guerrillas” – Link
… short review of what looks an interesting book about the Naxalite insurgency, which impacts numerous unreached areas in India.

Why Hindu nationalists are cheering moves to build a temple, challenging a secular tradition – Link

India to create a registry to “weed out those living illegally in the country” – Link
… “The state said [alleged undocumented] would have an opportunity to prove their citizenship at tribunals set up by the government.”

India pushes to grant citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbors – Link
… very specifically excluding Muslims, which is unsurprising; yet curious that they are granting citizenship to non-Hindus …

Maldives / Sri Lanka

Blessed by Buddhist monks, Sri Lanka’s new president prioritizes security – Link
… marks the return of a powerful dynasty – Link


China’s gender imbalance and the marriage squeeze – Link
… marriage market demand for females = females moving to more prosperous areas, leaving less-prosperous males with fewer prospects

China increases church surveillance and monitoring – Link
… “facial recognition and fingerprint software installed; congregants scanned before each entry to building”

A Christian’s experience in detention – Link
… excerpts from an article by Brother Xu reflecting on his experience in prison, compelling reading

How China influences media in Central and Eastern Europe – Link
… “aims at identifying outlets that can carry messages on behalf of China whether through outright acquisition, co-ownership (whether the share is above or below controlling level), and/or forming partnerships through content-sharing.”

Hong Kong Protests
“Riot weary Hong Kong residents clear roads” – Link
… “residents removing road blocks, protesters yelling at them”
Over 1,000 detained at university, and a warning from Beijing – Link
… “Too scared to escape”: a handful remain inside – Link
PLA soldiers sent into streets for first time – Link
… “to help clear roadblocks near garrison”
… ostensibly just cleanup help, but does normalize their presence
… PLA keeps watch on HK as turmoil rages – Link
HK index hits one month low – Link
… Hong Kong sliding toward recession

Japan / Koreas / Mongolia

“South Korea’s success-obsessed culture is finally reckoning with its dark side” – Link
… “many young Koreans feel that ‘failing once means your whole life is a failure'”
… “Last year [the government] held the first ever Fail Expo in Seoul…”
… “Suicide was the leading cause of death in 2018 among Koreans aged 10 to 39, with the government noting that reports of celebrity suicides helped fuel copycat incidents. “

No expectation of any negotiation breakthrough with N Korea soon – Link
… “no interest in giving Trump further meetings to brag about unless it gets something substantial in return”

North Korea in photos – a collection shot by NK News – Link

Southeast Asia

Monks in Myanmar have a new target – folk religionist nat-worshippers – Link

Book Review: “The hidden history of Burma” – Link

Powerful earthquake shook northern Thailand – Link

Notable Europe / Americas

Anglican Church of Canada may disappear by 2040 – Link

Colombia to close its borders to contain mass protests – Link

Barna: US adults see evangelicals through a political lens – Link
… “define evangelicals by their conservatism” …

Interesting piece exploring why Millennials “don’t want to leave their apartment anymore,” with implications for the social spread of the Gospel & disciple-making – Link

“Greece’s Moria refugee camp: a European failure” – Link

New Data

Europe’s unauthorized immigrant population peaked in 2016, then leveled off. Half live in Germany, half in the UK. Link

Where America’s international students come from (mostly Chinese) – Link
… but Chinese are often apprehensive about studying abroad – Link
… fear petty crime, shootings highlighted by China as the “scourge of Western societies.”
… Isn’t this a great opportunity for believers to befriend Chinese and demonstrate the “peace that passes all understanding”?

Longer reads

Everyone should have seen the “Xinjiang Papers”, a massive leak of documents to the NYT exposing how China organized the mass detention of Muslims – Link

“Few Chinese officials are blushing at a damning leak about Xinjiang” – Link
… “The West should be thankful for China’s police state”
… Here are five takeaways from the files – Link

“How Jeff Bezos makes fast, smart decisions under pressure” – Link
… ok, he’s a billionaire, and everyone wants to be a billionaire. Making decisions this way won’t make you a billionaire. But there’s some key things in this system: (1) make decisions reversible, (2) make decisions when you have 70% of the info needed (waiting for all the info paralyzes you), (3) “disagree and commit,” (4) recognize misalignment issues early.

“How to be a career-changing mentor: 25 tips from the best mentors we know” – Link
… lots of good advice on how to be a good mentor in here. Example, #5: most of mentorship is getting the mentee to focus on the right problems. #7 – Skip the instructions, share stories and resources instead.

The Economist, on “Why the arguments against immigration are so popular” – Link
… part of a series of articles on the “magic of migration”


Huawei’s “Safe cities” products have fueled concerns that China is exporting authoritarianism – under this label, it sells facial & license plate recognition, social media monitoring, surveillance … with benefits that are “difficult to verify and grossly exaggerated.” … Link

Interpol plans to condemn encryption spread, citing predators – Link

OTOH: How laws against child abuse imagery can make it harder to detect – Link
… shows some of the nuance and complexity to stopping the spread of such images. It’s a crime to view images or store them; but you need to view them (and store them) to moderate them and to train AI to detect them.

Quartz Obsession: African fintech – an interesting deep dive – Link

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