Roundup 186

New Events

Algeria: even more people want a complete overhaul – Link

“Russia’s backing [in Libya] is a game-changer, say Western diplomats.” Enabled Haftar to consolidate his gains. Thought to be 1,400 Russian mercenaries in Libya. “It’s like a world-class coach taking over a B team… Putin trying to build on his success in Syria, where he rescued the regime of Assad.” Turkey didn’t like that, won’t like this either. Link
Turkey suggests it may send forces to Libya to counter Russia-backed militia forces. Link

The vast level of censorship in Egypt now extends to soap operas too – Link

Sahel Violence: 100 militants attack an army camp in western Niger, kill at least 71 soldiers, deadliest attack in years – Link

Nigeria announced it will provide visas on arrival for all Africans traveling to it. Broadly, Africans need visas to travel to about half of other African countries. Link

Somali militants attack Mogadishu hotel; Al Shabaab still regularly attacks sites in Somalia and neighboring Kenya. (In this instance, it looks from the article as if only the militants were killed; but this illustrates the ongoing instability in the region.) Link

Turkmenistan has the highest level of child mortality of any Central Asian state – Link

Plastic surgery is booming in Kyrgyzstan thanks to Instagram – Link

The collapse of the money transfer system in Tajikistan is causing pain – In 2018, $2.5 billion was remitted from Tajik workers in Russia to Tajikistan (~1/3rd of Tajikistan’s GDP). Any disruption of the flow of remittances has significant repercussions. Link

China is looking to boost its influence, investment opportunities in post-war YemenLink

Most moderate estimates are that ~200 people were killed by Iran in the recent uprising. But Brian Hook, US envoy to Iran, says over 1,000 were killed, and called it “the worst political crisis the regime has faced in 40 years.” We will probably never know the exact number or even if the order of magnitude of the estimate is correct. Link

Thousands of Afghanis are leaving Iran as the sanctions bite and work runs out, returning to Afghanistan – Link

“629 Pakistani girls sold as brides to China” highlights the trafficking of women and the challenges to halting it. The Christian minority in Pakistan is being specifically targeted, because they are often impoverished and get paid to marry off their daughters. Link

This op/ed suggests the Indian economy is in a significant downturn, and likely to get worse. Link

No Muslims wanted: A bill establishing a religious litmus test for immigrants has passed India’s Parliament. It would in essence allow Hindus and people of other smaller faiths from surrounding

countries to become Indian citizens–but not Muslims. Link
… Massive street protests in Assam against the bill. Link
… Tens of thousands protest, quickly turn violent. Government imposes curfew, deploys army personnel across Assam, Tripura. Link
… “Locals fear large numbers of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who they say are intruders, will swamp their homeland.” Link
… The best and most logical explanation for the legislation (obviously), says the Economist, “is politics.” Link

India’s crackdown hits religious freedom [for Muslims] in disputed Kashmir. India “imposed a security lockdown in which it shuttered important mosques, harshly curbed civil rights, arrested thousands of people, blocked internet and phone service.” Link

Rise in extrajudicial justice: “The shooting of four gang-rape and murder suspects by Indian police has highlighted the scourge of extrajudicial killings in a nation grappling with high levels of sexual crimes and a notoriously slow judicial process.” – Link

Repression in Tibet served as a model in Xinjiang – Link

The protests in Hong Kong aren’t done yet. “The biggest march in months” was held last Sunday: the government estimated 200,000, but march organizers estimated 800,000. Link
… The panel of foreign experts looking into police brutality in Hong Kong have all resigned, because the lacked the powers necessary to conduct the probe. Link
… Over 10% of retailers in Hong Kong could shut down in the next 6 months, as the city faces it’s “worst ever” wave of store closures and layoffs due to the turmoil. Link

Vietnam‘s Internet control: following in China’s footsteps? New cybersecurity law suggests that’s the trend. Link

The Philippines will lift martial law in Mindanao by year end – Link

How China persuaded Indonesia to keep silent on Xinjiang camps – Link, $

Public crusades, government speakers at church events in Cambodia signals growth of the church – Link

Postcards from the Protestant decline in America: the life-cycle effect (coming back after you marry and have kids) is less dominant—possibly because many young people are not getting married or having children. (I had not thought about the correlation of those two facts before.) Link
… “Religion, retention, and why we stay or go.” Ryan Burge, in a very important analysis in CT, explores which traditions are “leaky boats” and which ones do “a good job of keeping people in the fold.” This is a really fascinating piece: most evangelicals stay evangelicals; and a lot of losses from other churches are TO evangelical churches. Link
… 538 also has some analysis, focusing more on the “from-Christian-to-not” journey prominent amongst many Millennials. One notable thing: Millennials are now more likely (than previously) to marry non-Christian spouses. In the past, a somewhat nominal male would marry a likely-more-orthodox female, and “come back into the fold.” If this trend changes, it would reinforce a spiral “out” of the church. Link

Um: “As evangelicalism reconfigures the spiritual map in Brazil, Latin America’s largest country, attracting tens of millions of adherents, winning political power and threatening Catholicism’s long-held dominance, its most extreme adherents — often affiliated with gangs — are increasingly targeting Brazil’s non-Christian religious minorities… The mounting violence has horrified mainstream evangelicals.” Link

New Data

New 2019 Human Development Report from UNDP – Link

“Muhammad” breaks into the top 10 list of baby names in the USA – Link

The Economist notes “Arabs are losing faith in religious parties and leaders” – and there is a correlative drop in the number of people who are being faithful in their religious practices, too. Link

Hotter temperatures lead to more premature births. The data is for America, but I’m thinking about the increase in temps in Asia. Link

Longer reads

“Should missionaries focus on unreached people groups? Yes.” This article is in rebuttal to the earlier Carlson/Clark in TGC. Link

Steve Addison’s podcast #206 interviews Rodrick Gilbert about a 60,000-church movement in India. Link

Pope Francis tapped a Filipino Cardinal to head Propaganda Fide, possibly signaled his successor. Link

ChinaSource on developing a ministry of encouragement to Chinese Christians who have returned to China. Link

Dave Datema will present a MissioNexus webinar on January 9, “The people group paradigm in 2020: relevant for today, relic from the past or something in between?” Link

African countries are struggling to build robust identity systems. India (also poor, home to a billion people, with vast language complexities) wants to help them. (I’m actually surprised this help isn’t coming from China.) Link

In case you didn’t see it: Reinhard Bonnke died. Link


The trillion dollar smartphone economy – Link

“Deepfakes” (which are hard to recognize) vs “Shallowfakes” (that are obviously fakes): both more and more common, but the tech powering shallowfakes is also driving deepfakes – Link

New tech from Google allows AR to “hide” virtual characters behind real-world articles (e.g. Pokemon characters can hide behind trees, furniture, etc). This will lead to an order of magnitude improvement in AR applications, especially games – Link

Hackers are breaking into Ring cameras – “After a hacker broke into a Ring camera in Tennessee and spoke to a child…” Link

A Silicon Valley startup completed the first coast-to-coast commercial freight trip (3 days, 2,800 miles) by a self-driving truck carrying over 40,000 pounds of butter (a driver was onboard for monitoring and safety purposes) – Link

People in Japan are strapping on exoskeletons to keep working as they age – Link

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