Roundup #226

Slightly shorter Roundup this week, as nearly all my sources were overwhelmed with material about the US election.

Don’t Miss

The last Disciplemaking Nugget held by Beyond, on 11/5, had over 45 people participating in a discussion of how to multiple disciples toward movements. The next Nugget training, on 11/18, will focus on how to multiply churches toward the same goal. Come join with us as one of our field leaders facilitates the conversation. Some have asked for recordings. We don’t provide recordings–first, because of security reasons; and second, unique to nuggets, nearly all of the conversation is in small breakout groups as people read Scripture and discuss how to apply it in their own lives. It’s less a presentation and more a community discovering Scriptural truth together. This is a truly unique series of events; I’m proud of the people who work hard on it, and I hope you’ll join. Link

New Events

East Africa

Ethiopia is headed into a potential civil war.
Tigray province, in north, on border with Eritrea. Mostly Orthodox Christians.
“Ethiopia mobilises for war in northern region.”  Reuters
“major escalation of bitter feud with PM’s rivals in Tigray” Foreign Policy
… military action ordered in reprisal for alleged attack on federal army camp … 
… “for months, observers sensed a showdown brewing with Tigray’s rulers”
“State of emergency declared.” Hiiraan
Ethiopia shuts down phone, Internet service in Tigray.  AllAfrica
Air strikes, bombardments. NYT
Explainer: Why Ethiopia is suddenly on brink of civil war.  AP

Plus, intercommunal violence in Oromia.  UN

Northern Africa

Algeria: Requiem for a Revolution.  Link
… “aborted democratic dream offers lessons for the rest of the Arab world”

Libya’s warring parties reach agreement on cease fire.  UN
… “agreed [to] practical steps toward implementing a cease fire agreement”

Western Africa

Ivory Coast: 3,000 flee abroad amid electoral violence.  UN

Fear dominates the lives of Nigerians.  Conversation
… “near universal absence of even the most minimal form of … governance…”
Also: Has Nigeria missed the manufacturing bandwagon?  FT
… “In order to go into any form of production in Nigeria, you have to create a mini-state: your own security, water, electricity, roads…”

Eastern Asia

In Tibet, China preaches the material over the spiritual.  CNA
China wants to build a Tibet with more wealth, less Buddhism.  Bloomberg
… “Due to some outdated conventions and bad habits, particularly the negative influence of religion, people put more attention on the afterlife, and their desire to pursue better living in this life is relatively weaker… we’ll need to not only feed the stomach, but also fix the mind.” ~Tibet Governor Qi Zhala

China launches 5-year plan: become self-sufficient global tech superpower.  Fortune
… but it might be an uphill battle …

China’s Southeast Asian Vaccine Diplomacy.  Diplomat
… China will “not turn vaccines into any kind of weapon or diplomatic tool” 
… “but hard to see Beijing not using vaccines to foster goodwill, advance its interests…”

South Asia

Deadlocked Afghan peace negotiations at point of collapse.  RFE
… “the historic negotiations aimed at ending the bloody 19-year war are in danger of collapse”…
On Afghan highways, even the police fear the Taliban’s toll collectors.  NYT
… As US retreats, Taliban increasingly taken over highways …
Highway checkpoints: Taliban stop people, comb through their phones for data.  RFE
… Thousands stopped at checkpoints, smartphones taken, combed through for data 
… “They found some photos of Afghan Army soldiers, and then they beat me”…
Afghanistan after attack on university: “We live in constant fear”.  Guardian
Bombs and blackboards: schooling girls in rural regions.  RFE

India Allahabad Court: conversion for sake of marriage is unacceptable.  TOI

South-eastern Asia

Thailand’s religious pilgrimages by airplane flight.  CNN
… sightseeing “flights to nowhere” overflying Buddhist sacred sites 
… celebrity fortune teller/religion history expert lead in chanting mantras

Western Asia

Azerbaijani forces “within 5 km of Shushi”.  Eurasianet
… “who controls Shushi controls Karabakh” …

Local Iraqis want Syriac Christians to return to Mosul.  Reuters

Growth in population stressing economics of Iraq.  MEI
… Iraq population projected to grow 25% by 2030, reaching 50.2 million … 
… 5 million people will enter the labor market … 
… “simply no way the public sector can absorb those numbers” …

Syria is the deadliest place for aid workers.  Syria Direct
… “and there is little hope for change” …

Photos: foreign Muslims return to Mecca for pilgrimage.  BBC

Saudi removes key restrictions on migrant laborers.  AP
… some improvements, not total abolishing of kafala system … 
… but the “devil is in the details” …

Turkey Quake
A dozen buildings destroyed, 1,000 wounded, 100+ dead.
Rescuers race to find survivors after mag-6.6 quake in Izmir.  Hurriyet
Searching for survivors under rubble.  BBC
Drone footage shows major destruction after earthquake in Turkey. Twitter

North America

US evangelical churches pursuing multicultural, international worship music.  CT

US visas granted to students from China down 99% since April.  TechCrunch


… 11/6: 49.1m cases, 1.24m deaths (2% CFR)
… 10/29: 44.8m cases, 1.17m deaths
… 10/23: 41m cases, 1.1m deaths
… 10/16: 40m cases, 1m deaths
… 10/9: 36.5m cases, 1.0m+ deaths
Trackers: Johns

Infographic: less than half the world lives in a democracy.  VisualCapital
… saw a Tweet from a USSR-born guy: a blessing to live in a country where the result of an election isn’t known ahead of time …

Air travel: intl passenger demand still down.  Link
… plunged 88.8% in Sep 2020, compared to Sep 2019 …

Hotspots in 4 countries on brink of famine.  Al Jazeera
… parts of Yemen, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan all at risk … 
… 16 other countries at high risk of acute hunger …

Covid confirmed fatality rate (deaths/infections) 
USA = (235k/9.6m) = 2% 
India = 1.5% – Link 
One Iranian dies of Covid every 4 minutes.  IranWire
… “Tehran has borne the worst of these fatalities” …
New restrictions in Iran as Covid deaths soar.  Al-Monitor
… daily deaths reach into the 400s …

Beijing bans UK, Belgium due to Covid waves.  Link


Most of the world’s food comes from only 15 crops..  Link
… Kew’s State of the World’s Plants & Fungi 2020 report …


Memories startup enables pre-recoded videos to be sent posthumously.  Wired
… might something like this become part of a missionary’s preparation? …

WhatsApp launches new disappearing messages option.  Verge
… new option to wipe chat messages after 7 days … 
… unclear from the article whether this is on the receiver or sender side …

2020 State of AI report is out.  Link

China: State of Surveillance.  ChinaFile
… “addressing the difficult problem of how to control people”… 
… the strategy involved in some of this is chilling. … 
… Xiqiao: “Portrait Perception Network” particularly so.

But: Hangzhou 1st city in China to push back against surveillance.  Radii

Walmart scraps plan to have robots scan shelves.  WSJ
… online orders up, employees walking aisles to fill orders, scanning shelves at same time, more efficient …