Roundup 260

New Events

Northern Africa (266m)

Tunisia: President fires PM; many Tunisians cheer the move.
… Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating political instability. DW
… PM sacked after violent Covid protests. BBC
… Kais Saied’s power grab. Brookings
… an economic recipe for unrest ignites in Tunisia. Al Jazeera

The interdependent tracks of Libya’s ceasefire are in danger of reversing. UN 

East Africa (520m)

Ethiopia war enters “most dangerous phase yet”:
Lone route into conflict-torn Tigray blocked, leading to risk of starvation. NYT
… “unofficial Ethiopian government blockade effectively cut off the road”
… “170 WFP trucks stranded in Semera, Afar, waiting to make the journey”
In Ethiopia’s civil war, Tigrayan forces take the offensive. Economist
… “rebels from Tigray are advancing fast, meeting weak resistance”
… advancing south to Weldiya, within 80km of Gondar
… aiming to control road/rail link to Djibouti, and 95% of Ethiopia’s trade
… Abiy has called for “total war”
Amhara state mobilizes ‘all young people’ to arms against Tigray. Reuters
… “all young people… armed with any… weapon… join the anti-TPLF war…”
Massacres, war fuel ethnic fervor in Amhara. France24
Militias from Afar have attacked, looted towns in Somali region. Reuters
… “Afar militia have ‘massacred hundreds of civilians’”

Madagascar’s famine “first to be solely caused by global warming.” TIME
… “1.14million are food insecure, 400k headed for famine”
… “next planting season 2 months away, forecast is bleak”
… “land is covered by sand, there is no water and little chance of rain”

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Nigeria: 28 of 120+ students abducted from Bethel Baptist HS freed. CT
… so far, 34 have been released or have escaped. Ransoms demanded for rest.

Record numbers forced to flee ongoing violence in Burkina Faso. UNHCR

Niger: the land that Covid-19 forgot. WSJ
… “hot/dry climate, sparse population, poorly connected settlements, world’s youngest population”

Western Asia (303m)

Lebanon’s people line up in ‘queues of humiliation’ as country unravels. LAT
… water system on brink of total collapse, says UN. CNN
Syria’s “bread crisis” in a series of graphs – New Humanitarian
… money is worth less, while bread & fuel costs more …
Iraq’s perfect storm: climate, environmental crisis + scars of war. ICRC

Al Jazeera interactive: how Mecca has changed over 100 years. Link

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghanistan’s Taliban say they want a political settlement. Al Jazeera
… but its fighters continue to press ahead on the ground …
… “have made it clear they intend to take Kandahar” …
Why N Afghanistan has fallen so quickly this time. WPost
… “the Taliban has capitalized on political, ethnic tensions & grievances”
Thousands of Afghans fleeing daily abroad daily as violence soars. RFE
… fleeing Ziranj over into Iran …
… 2-minute video from Farah province, also overrun. RFE
China warns its national to leave Afghanistan, welcomes Taliban for talks. SCMP
Pakistan reopens Afghanistan border crossing held by Taliban. Reuters
… 100s of merchant trucks with perishable goods allowed over
Curfew imposed as Taliban militants advance. BBC
… month-long curfew almost all of the country …
Puts Tajik militants partially in charge of AF northern border. RFE
… these militants becoming known as the “Tajik Taliban.”
… have to think that’s probably making Tajikistan nervous

XREF: Afghan crisis = chance to show off Central Asian military might. Eurasianet
… “living with the Taliban’s ascendancy, signaling they can deal with any spillovers”

War goes on: Azeri-Armeni fighting surge around Yeraskh. Eurasianet

Kerala orders lockdown as infections rise. Reuters
Over 60% of India have Covid-19 antibodies. Guardian
… surge #2 probably affected more people than the reported figures
Covid deaths likely 10x official toll: closer to 4 million. NBC
Pandemic leaves Indians mired in massive medical debts. AP

Student rush: Air India doubling flights to US in the fall. Link

Heavy rains pummel India: floods, landslides, 1000s evacuated. NYT

Iran fast running out of water, says exiled expert. The Times
… “all sources of water are starting to run dry” …
Also running out of hospital beds, especially in Tehran. IranWire
… 349 cities are on red & orange alerts … 17k arrived at Tehran hospitals on 7/18 alone…

Central Asian growing season shortened by climate change. Eurasianet
… bad news for farmers, worse news for herders
… extreme drought starving thousands of cows, horses on the steppe …
… Kazakhstan bans export of livestock fodder. Eurasianet

Kazakhstan is awash in fake vaccination passports. Economist

Destructive flooding sweeps Rohingya camps in BangladeshAP
… thousands left homeless …

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China: Record-breaking flooding leaves 1+ million displaced. NPR
“Utterly ruined”: the debris-strewn aftermath of China’s record rains. CNA
Foreign journalists harassed in China over floods coverage. Guardian
… another example of rising nationalistic sensitivity to negativity about China
Poorly prepared, rural Henan faces slow recovery. Sixth Tone
Wanting more? Check Joann Pittman’s piece, with lots of good links. Link
… also, thanks, Joann, for the pronunciation guide – I’ve been saying Henan wrong …

Number of foreign-born residents in Yunnan up 8x in 10 years. Sixth Tone
… now home to China’s largest foreign population …
… more advanced tech made 2020 census more accurate count of migrant workers …
… is there an outreach strategy in here, somewhere? …

China’s Xi visits Tibet amid rising controls over religion. AP
Hong Kong: first person charged under national security law found guilty. BBC
… more than 100 arrested under the law since it came into force in 2020 …

China’s looming succession crisis: what happens when Xi is gone? FA
… Someone’s thinking long-term …

Some dramatic footage of sandstorms in western China. Guardian

Covid-19 (Delta) outbreak in Nanjing, and enhanced controls. Global Times
… spreads to 15 other Chinese cities – SCMP

National Geographic has an issue focused on JapanLink
… fairly open, yet among the most populous least-Christian nations in the world …

North & South Korea restore communications link: a mild thaw? BBC

Southeast Asia (700m)

Cambodia races to contain outbreak, sets up forced quarantine centers. NYT
… closes border with Thailand, locked down eight provinces. AP

Indonesia: Children are dying as virus surges. NYT
“After the pandemic we probably will have a lost generation.” NatGeo

Half of Malaysia’s small-to-medium businesses could fold if the lockdown is extended beyond September; they employ about half of the country’s workforce. SCMP

Malaysia’s current state of emergency will end 1 August, and many are angry because current measures are not enough. BBC

Myanmar’s electricity supplies threatened by collapsing revenues. Nikkei
… urban areas suffer frequent power failures, prolonged blackouts …
More & more protesters see no hope for return to democracy, take up arms. Diplomat
… “We can’t just wait to get help until we die” …
Residents say leaders using the pandemic to consolidate power, crush opposition. AP

Thailand: street protests return to Bangkok. SCMP
Airport warehouse in Bangkok turned into 1,800-bed field hospital. CNN

Vietnam: 4th wave takes grim toll on labor migrants, factory workers, service industries. SCMP

N America / W Europe / Pacific

UK will reopen borders to fully vaccinated from US, Europe. WPost

New Data

Covid global case data data

… 7/30: 196.1m (+3.5m) cases, 4.18m deaths
… 7/23: 192.6m (+4.1m) cases, 4.13m deaths
… 7/16: 188.5m (+2.8m) cases, 4.06m deaths
… 7/09: 185.7m (+3.0m) cases, 4.01m deaths
… 7/02: 182.7m (+2.6m) cases, 3.96m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

At current pace, cross 200m cases by August and 300m cases by Jan. 28.

Covid-19 infections rise, Delta variant spreads to 132 countries. UN
Delta goes global: a detailed analysis in a Twitter thread. Link
… including great graphics from FT data visualizer …
Five graphics that show the Delta variant’s threat. CFR

Other new data

Interesting: product placement in movies, TV is a $23 billion business. Link

New Longreads

New WEA book: Co-workers and Co-leaders: women & men partnering for God’s work.
… free PDF download …

Embrace the 2-way-door rule to make better & faster decisions. Link
… put simply, have a bias toward easily reversible actions …

Great twitter thread on the nuts and bolts of SEO. Link


Noise, by Daniel Kahneman, is turning out to be a long but intensely useful read. Chapters 10 through 12, on how much is actually predictable, were incredibly useful.

Tech & Futures

QR codes are here to stay… as is the tracking they enable. NYT
… spread of the codes during the pandemic allow more tracking & analytics …
… enable attaching people’s personal information, identity to QR scans …

Chip supply shortages could last through 2023, says Intel. Link
… first, it was cheaper chips for cars. Now, shortage reaches iPhone. Link

Facebook’s next target: the religious experience. NYT
… what does church look like on FB? …
… consider: many different missional strategies are based around FB ads, etc.

Wickr acquired by Amazon. Link


“The problem with network effects is they unwind just as fast. And so they’re great while they last, but when they reverse, they reverse viciously. Go ask the MySpace guys how their network effect is going.” ~Mark Andreesen

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