Roundup 266

New Events

Northern Africa (266m)

Algerian Christians face increasing peril from persecution. Link
Libya-Tunisia border reopens after Covid closure. Link

East Africa (520m)

The Tigray crisis continues, and grows more violent.

The battle for Mekelle: the civil war goes on – in pictures. Guardian
— 2.2m forced from their homes, thousands killed, peace in the region a long way off
Mass detentions, torture, executions of Tigrayans in Humera. CNN
Very brutal: Tigray forces accused of abuses. AP
— “face growing allegations that they are retaliating for abuses suffered at home”
US paves way for more sanctions over Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict. Reuters

Somalia’s economy rebounding from ‘triple shock.’ World Bank
— Covid, extreme flooding, and locust infestation
— Real GDP growth estimated at 2.4%

West + Middle Africa (600m)

The daily weight of water weighs on the poorest in Sierra Leone. NPR
— “… getting enough clean water is an every day challenge …”
— a national concern: less than 1% of 8 million residents have piped water in-house

Soldiers detain Guinea’s president, dissolve government. Link
Guinea’s new junta leaders seek to tighten grip on power. AP

Nigeria: 1 million children could miss school due to mass kidnappings. CNN
— insecurity, kidnappings have led to school closures

Western Asia (303m)

Official figures analysis: For every 100 marriages in Iran, 32.9 ended in divorce. Link

“Turkey’s refugee problem is reaching a breaking point.” FP
— “accepted more refugees than it could absorb and hosted longer than it could afford.”
— “3/4 of survey respondents favor closing borders, deporting undocumented foreigners.”
“We live in fear”: once embracing, Turkey turns on migrants. France24
Why Turkey wants to guard Afghanistan’s gateway to the world. WPost
— concern over prospect of new exodus of Afghans fleeing through Turkey for Europe.

South + Central Asia (2b)


Shot-up SUVs, teens manning checkpoints: a reporter’s return to Kabul weeks after. WSJ
— “profound change coexisting with remnants of the fallen republic, for now.”
Life in rural Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. Link
— big drop in violence: “the guns [are] silent, the checkpoints have mostly disappeared”
— “developing humanitarian crisis, Talib. gov’t at times seems unaccustomed to governing”
— “sharp basic foodstuff price rises”
The other Afghan women. New Yorker
— fascinating long read: stories from rural Af. women stretching back to Soviet invasion.
The Americans staying in Afghanistan. TGC
The Taliban “conquer” holdout Panjshir Valley. Axios
— ceasefire proposed, rebels contest “conquer” claim, but no attacks out of the province
Afghan economy takes a nosedive after Taliban takeover. RFE
Afghan healthcare under threat from international aid freeze. New Humanitarian
— aid suspensions could shutter most public health facilities
— “leaving the country without a working healthcare system”
China to provide Afghanistan with $31 million worth of food & Covid vaccines. CNN
Taliban bringing back feared Ministry of ‘vice’ and ‘virtue’. WPost
Thousands of Afghans on American military bases await resettlement. NYT
— about 64,000 Afghan evacuees arrived in the USA by 9/14
— about 49,000 are living on 8 domestic military bases (Ft McCoy, Ft Bliss, others)
— another 18,000 are in bases overseas, largely in Germany


Afghans are desperate to cross Afghanistan-Pakistan border. NPR
— “This man does it all the time.” A short interview with a cross-border trucker.
After jubilation, Pakistan’s dilemma as Taliban takeover inspires religious militants. Post
— if you’re looking for Pauls, you might look amongst the Sauls.

Central Asia

Tajik interior minister says his country unable to host so many Afghan refugees. RFE

Kazakhstan moves to restrict foreign social media usage. Link
— req. owners of foreign social media to set up offices in the country or risk being blocked.


“They are manufacturing foreigners”: How India disenfranchises Muslims. NYT
— “Sahara is 1 of around 2 million people in Assam who have been rendered stateless.”
— “Many are Bengali Muslims, vast majority marginal farmers and daily wage laborers.”
India could account for 45% of global rice exports in 2021. Link
— becoming the second largest rice grower after China

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

“Sending Chinese missionaries” but can they get passports? Right now, China has tightened passport approvals to keep Covid-19 out. They may loosen these restrictions “later,” but it’s likely border controls and travel bubbles will continue to impact the travel of Chinese abroad. Link

China’s cultural crackdown:
Few areas untouched as Xi reshapes society. Guardian
— “vast range of new regulations prompts fears of a return to tight social control”
China’s Red New Deal. Link
— “a guide to all the different crackdowns on companies going on right now.”

As China moves from a one-child policy to a three-child policy, many Chinese aren’t interested in the additional expense of more children. Various threads get tangled up:

Cracking down on private tutoring sector. Link
— “framing tough new rules aiming to ease pressure on school children
— and boost the country’s birth rate by lowering family living costs
banning private tutors from giving online classes. Link
banning foreign curricula and foreign ownership in private schools. Link
— this is impacting some ministry options around education fields

Marriage arrangements
rising divorce rates: arranged marriages fall apart, or parents fuel conflicts. Link
Chinese millennials aren’t getting married at all, and the govt is worried. CNN
polyandry (1 wife, multiple husbands) who shoulder expense of babies. 2020 WPost
— recent field report that this is being realistically considered by some

Southeast Asia (700m)

Cambodia set to open for tourism in November. Link
— Cambodia schools reopen as vaccinations near targets. Link


Cold, frightened and armed: in Myanmar’s jungles, a struggling resistance. NYT
— The army has escalated attacks, driving thousands into the hills
— shadow government has called for a nationwide uprising
Myanmar’s all out war in the making. Diplomat
— “both the NUG and the junta convinced of victory, headed toward even more violence”

Thailand: Bangkok + 4 other popular destinations will open to tourists from October. Link
— using the same sandbox model as Phuket; tourists must be vaccinated

Singapore: “living with Covid-19 feels like walking a tightrope of uncertainty.” SCMP

Covid restrictions force some retailers to rethink Vietnam as manufacturing hub. CNBC

Indonesia’s long transition to Covid-19 endemicity. Link

The West

A generation of American men give up on college: “I feel lost.” WSJ
— if you’re mobilizing on college campuses, this trend will impact who you mobilize
— most agencies find it notably difficult to mobilize single young men anyway

New Data

Covid global case data data

… 9/17: 227.3m (+4m/wk) cases, 4.67m deaths
… 9/10: (vacation)
… 9/03: 219.3m (+4.5m) cases, 4.55m deaths
… 8/27: 214.8m (+4.6m) cases, 4.47m deaths
… 8/20: 210.2m (+4.6m) cases, 4.40m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT * maintains travel information about Covid-19 in all countries.
Why it’s so hard to predict where the Covid-19 pandemic is headed next. Wired
… “makes things hard now is the interplay between disease state, how people react, and how people react over time.” …
Southeast Asian countries choose to reopen,balancing virus with economy. SCMP
3 new CDC studies: unvaccinated 5X more likely to catch Delta, 11X more likely to die. Link

New Longreads

Op/Ed: Losing your childhood language means losing your own history. Link
— “The first language spoken to me upon my arrival in this world was isiXhosa.”
— “Without our language, our memory is lost.”
— “My home language was competing with a world that taught me to speak English better would be rewarded.”

David Cho Yong-gi, founder of Korean megachurch, dies. Link

Who are the Hazara of Afghanistan? “An expert on Islam explains.” Newsweek

Ran across this: How to sew on a button.
— because you might get stuck somewhere and need it

Also ran across: 40 one-sentence email tips.
— “If a message was truly urgent, it wouldn’t have been sent to you in email.”
— “You don’t need to sign your name at the end of the email–they know who it’s from.”

Book Notes

Reading: Mine! How the hidden rules of ownership control our lives.
Book notes on Predictably Irrational and The Art of Statistics coming soon.

Read more:
Nonsense (ambiguity) – Scarcity (poverty, tunneling) – The Talent Code (coaching)

Tech & Futures

AI: the third revolution in warfare. Atlantic
— “Slaughterbots [AI powered assassin drones] are a [nearly present] danger.”
— I do ponder the availability of cheap explosive drones vs cheap house churches.

Infographic: What’s made from a barrel of oil? Link

SpaceX launches world’s first “amateur astronaut” crew to orbit Earth. Link
— crew contained no professional astronauts, flight completely controlled form the ground
— Why SpaceX’s first all-private mission is a big deal. MIT

Apple is working on AR headset, to be paired (like Watch to Phone). Link

AR displays coming to your contact lenses. Link
— “hexagonal display <0.5mm wide, green pixels 1/4 the width of a red blood cell”
— “We’ve almost got this thing working.”


“Foreign policy is guided by events as much as strategy.” ~Economist

“Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either.” ~Bonhoeffer

“There is no simple explanation for the mix of providence and human will that sets the direction of our days.” ~George W. Bush

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