Roundup 271

Top Events

Some of Egypt’s churches are playing matchmaker as Christian marriage declines. This piece reminds me of a fact I brought out in the last week while teaching Lesson 9 for Perspectives: globally, each year, about 45 million people are born into Christian homes, while 16 million convert in (and 12 million defect) each year. 3x as many people are born in as convert in. For places where there is an imbalance of males & females or where, for one reason or another, marriage is declining, a loss of Christian marriage (and families) leads to a loss of a key component of church growth. If you lose the demographic growth rate, you’d have to work many times harder at conversion (in fact this is the challenge of work in less-Christian places–you can have the conversion rate, but the majority religion has the demographic growth rate). Turkey faces a similar problem as Egypt. It’s a conundrum, but one of the important keys is for the church to help believers marry believers and raise believing children. Al-Monitor

The drumbeat of war, rumors of war, and isolation continue and will not likely end soon. I estimate Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, N Korea, Myanmar, and parts of India, China and Syria will continue to see significant disruption of access for the next year or more. Lebanon, Libya and Sudan are all in the throes of dangerous instability. This is not to say accessing the countries or the peoples is impossible–only that it is difficult and requires significant amounts of creativity and courage.

I continue in my own estimate that China will not intentionally invade Taiwan–but that “bumbling into a conflict” is possible. A long read piece published via CNN will give you a lot of nuance and reasons that I tend to agree with. And, somewhat more comfortingly, this analysis suggests there should be plenty of warning. Additionally, a Taiwanese security official says “odds of war with China in next year are ‘very low.'” That said, I continue to believe revisiting your evacuation plans would be a good idea. CNN, Reuters

Significant droughts and environmental disasters are disrupting access to some peoples, and forcing the movement of others. Where there is significant people movement, there is also instability, chaos, and great need. Several articles this week look at the rising number of droughts in the world, ranging from Africa to Asia; the Middle East is in a severe drought once more, especially in Iraq and Syria. The Iraq example affects several of the least evangelized mega peoples. WPost

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Egypt’s president seems to promote religious choice during human rights rollout. CT

Egyptian churches play matchmaker as Christian marriages decline. Al-Monitor
… not everyone is happy …

Iraq: Climate change is turning the cradle of civilization into a grave. WPost *
… “No one live here any more. For miles, there’s no water to be seen.”
… People depend on the Tigris & Euphrates
… but upstream, Turkey & Iran have dammed the water, weakening the southern flow
Iraq to reduce winter crop area by 50% due to water shortage. Reuters *
Water crisis plagues 10s of 1000s in Iraq, NE Syria, say NGOs. Al Jazeera

PM: “Sudan facing worst, most dangerous crisis.” Link

Lebanon: Beirut clash fires up sectarian anger in echoes of civil war. AP

Syria: shelling, new attacks in Idlib, heavy civilian casualties. @MattCutts
… Syrian government shelling rebel-held Idlib. Al Jazeera

Tunisia’s president promises ‘dialogue’ over political system. Reuters *

Sahrawi youth return to W. Sahara to stand up to Morocco. Daily Sabah
… “everybody is ready for war… We are fed up…”
… hopes of independence suffered major blow last year when US backed Morocco
… “I don’t like war, but I feel that nothing is going to change without it”
… “Here, we live as if we were dead…”

East Africa (520m)

Ethiopia hits Tigray region in third day of air strikes. Reuters *
Mekelle airstrike marks an escalation in Tigray conflict. Africa Report
The civil war in Ethiopia is intensifying. NPR
‘God have mercy’: Tigray residents describe life under siege. AP
“Ethiopia is deliberately starving its own citizens.” Economist

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Kidnappers, zealots, rebels are making Nigeria ungovernable. Economist *
Gangs raised millions kidnapping children; now the gov’t can’t stop them. WSJ
Gunmen kill dozens in Nigeria’s troubled north. Arab News

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban-led future. Link
Intensifying violence between Taliban, IS-K “heralds new war.” RFE
Economy on the brink, Taliban rely on former technocrats. AP
Taliban blames US for freezing funds as 1 million Afghan kids face death by starvation. CBS
IMF: Af economic collapse could prompt refugee crisis. Reuters *
Smugglers pushing up rates after Af fall to the Taliban. IranWire
Remote corner of Af offers peak at country’s future. Diplomat
For Hazaras, where to pray can be a life and death choice. Reuters *
… suicide bombings are targeting mosques …
Thousands of former fighters in “mundane jobs,” govt struggles to stay on its feet. WSJ *
… Taliban commander who launched bombings in Kabul is now a police chief
Taliban tells Kabul’s female city gov’t employees not to come to work. WPost *

Bangladesh

Protests erupted in Bangladesh amid Muslim-Hindu tensions.AP

Pakistan

Eases travel restrictions, announces $28m in humanitarian aid for Afgh.Al Jazeera

Central Asia

Power rationing in Central Asia, as winter draws nigh

Kyrgyzstan turns off the lights at night, to provide the populace with power. Link
… power levels down due to water levels at Toktogul reservoir, hydroelectric power
… this is one of periodic waxing/waning of glacier runoffs in decade-long cycle
… Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan usually supply power, but have their own problems
Kazakhstan rations power after coal-fired plant outages. Link
… and regrets its embrace of the power-hungry crypto-mining industry. Link
Uzbekistan continues to export electricity to Afg. despite unpaid bills. Link
… also sent 1,300 tons of humanitarian aid …

India

India is closing in on a billion shots given. Link
… when vaccination requires 2 doses, a billion doses is < 1/2 the population.
… but millions have yet to receive a single dose. CNN
Festival glitter lures crowd, but Covid chief warns: “vaccine alone is not enough.” Link
… “There cannot be large gatherings. Let us celebrate festivals at home with the family.”
What is behind the recent surge of violence in Indian Kashmir? Reuters *

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China isn’t about to invade Taiwan, but the two sides are on a dangerous path. CNN
… people predicted invasion in 2000s, 2010s, hasn’t happened yet …
… “life goes on as normal in Taipei… people are unconcerned…”
… China wants to keep Taiwan in a box. Crossing red lines could blunder into war …
… China using Taiwan as issue to drum up nationalist sentiment, support …
… Communist Party has “major priorities for 2022 that a war would complicate” …
Taiwan says odds of war with China in next year are ‘very low.’ Reuters*

China drafts a law to punish parents for kids’ bad behavior. CNN
… because that’s how you encourage leery parents to have more kids.

China’s “drifting” migrant mothers tell their stories. Sixth Tone

In Xinjiang, officials are trying to stamp out Uyghur identity. Economist *

Southeast Asia (700m)

New 620-mile train line connects China, Laos. CNN
Myanmar’s hidden hunger: “We are just eating whatever is available.” NewHum
The deadly stalemate in post-coup Myanmar. Crisis Group

The West

There are now more evangelicals than Catholics in Honduras. Link

Haitian gang seeks $1 million ransom for each of 17 kidnapped. AP
And threaten brazenly to kill them. NYT *
… “underscores the growing clout and confidence of Haiti’s gangs”
… “control much of the capital… troubling alliances between criminal groups…”
… “initial ransom demand often bears no resemblance to what is finally negotiated”
In wake of kidnapping, workers go on strike to protest lack of security. DW

Russia: apathy, wariness of Kremlin leave Russians unvaccinated. NYT*
… hit 1,000 deaths per day …

New Data

Covid global case data

At current pace, 300m cases by Jan. 28.

… 10/22: 242.6m (+2.9m/wk) cases, 4.93m deaths
… 10/15: 239.7m (+3.2m/wk) cases, 4.88m deaths
… 10/8: 236.5m (+2.8m/wk) cases, 4.82m deaths
… 10/1: 233.7m (+3.5m/wk) cases, 4.78m deaths
… 9/24: 230.2m (+3m/wk) cases, 4.72m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

Phuket’s sandbox to Singapore’s travel corridors. Link
… as Asia wakes up to travel, destinations weigh risks, rewards …
Vaccines? Masks? Japan puzzles over sudden virus success. AP
Social distancing dropped at Mecca’s Grand Mosque. Al Jazeera

Other data

World Risk Report 2021. PDF
Why global fuel prices are up. India Express
Increasing droughts and floods on African continent. Brookings

Longer Articles

Without documentation, who are you? Africa Report
… over half of African children are legally unregistered
… face difficulties getting education, jobs, bank accounts, mobile phones, driver’s license

Increasing droughts and floods on the African continent. Brookings
… citing new World Bank report released in early October …

The bomb will backfire on Iran: Tehran will go nuclear, and regret it. Foreign Affairs

I have a chapter in an upcoming book that is available now for pre-order, Motus Dei: The Movement of God to Disciple the Nations. It releases on October 19. There’s a virtual book launch on 10/20; you can register for that here.

Book Notes

MoreNonsense (ambiguity) – Scarcity (poverty, tunneling) – The Talent Code (coaching)
Wanting: the power of mimetic desire in every day life (book notes)
Art of Statistics: how to learn from data (I expected charts, but this is about practices)
Predictably Irrational: The hidden forces that shape our decisions, Dan Ariely
The Data Detective: 10 basic rules to become more ‘numerate’. (book notes)

Tech & Futures

How big tech will reshape the global order. Foreign Affairs
… “States have been the primary actors in global affairs for nearly 400 years. That is starting to change, as a handful of large technology companies rival them for geopolitical influence…. The same goes for Chinese technology companies, such as Alibaba, ByteDance, and Tencent. Nonstate actors are increasingly shaping geopolitics, with technology companies in the lead. And although Europe wants to play, its companies do not have the size or geopolitical influence to compete with their American and Chinese counterparts.”

Facebook uses deceptive math to hide its hate speech problem. Wired
… and its policing of vitriol is even more lackluster outside the US. Link

Quran, Bible app taken out of Apple store for China. RNS
… Technology companies are not universally powerful. The intersection of tech and China continues to have challenges.

The Uyghurs in Xinjiang were early phone adopters. Then it betrayed them. Link

Robot trains could be the answer to America’s clogged infrastructure. Link
Reliable Robotics raises $100 million for robot cargo planes. Link

“Maybe losing the AI race to China isn’t such a bad idea.” Recode

UK schools use facial recognition to speed up lunch payments. Engadget

China successfully tests hypersonic weapon. Space.com
… a tech the US doesn’t have, can avoid missiles.
.. but China says, “no, it wasn’t a weapon, it was reusable space tech. Nothing to see here.”

Water-poor Egypt eyes quadrupling its desalination capacity in five years. VOA

Quotable

“History teaches us nothing except that something will happen.” ~Lord Dacrae

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