Roundup 272

Top Events

Months of tension in Sudan crystalized this week as the military seized power, dissolving the transitional government, and arresting the PM (who was later allowed to return home) and others. Thousands protested. The international community condemnedthe move. The military says it did it to prevent civil war, and that it would appoint a technocratic government to lead it into elections in July 2023. It has since arrested many of its opponents.

Aid agencies report Afghanistan is on the verge of starvation. Over half of Afghanis will face an ‘acute food crisis‘ this winter. Sweden and Pakistan both warn Afghanistan is ‘hurtling toward collapse.’ Aid agencies are trying to help people without aiding the Taliban.

Christianity Today has a great piece on Christians trying to decide whether to leave Lebanon or stay and help. Over 380,000 Lebanese have already left. CT

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Sudan’s military takes power in coup, arrests prime minister. AP
— “casting democratic transition into chaos.” NYT $
— “says it seized power to prevent ‘civil war.'” Al Jazeera
— protesters draw on generations of experience to resist military takeover. Middle East Eye
— AU suspends Sudan until civilian rule is restored. Bloomberg
— USA cut off aid to the Sudanese government after the coup. NYT $
— Coup leaders shrug off global pressure, launch wave of arrests of opponents. Bloomberg
— how months of tensions led to Sudan’s coup. AP
— and a timeline of the political situation since 2018 al-Bashir removal. Al Jazeera
— worried Christians ‘wait and see’ about religious freedom after Sudan coup. CT

Lebanon’s Christians resist exodus from worst economic collapse in 150 years. CT
— over 380,000 Lebanese have already left
Libya’s chaos is a warning to the world. Foreign Policy
— 10 years after Qaddafi’s death, a harbinger of enduring global disorder to come.
How Tunisia reached financial meltdown. Al Jazeera
— in “one of the most dangerous economic crises since independence”
Open Doors: Life for Christians in post-Gaddafi Libya ‘as dangerous as ever.’ Link
Turkey plans to sell strike drones to Ukraine; Russia says “destabilizing.” Reuters
— Ukraine already using Turkish drones against Russia-backed separatists. RFE
Syrian government deploys military in response to Turkish threat. Al-Monitor
— Turkey deploys 100s more troops to northern Syria. Ahval
Surviving in Kuwait’s “unbearable heat”: 53C. BBC

East Africa (520m)

South Sudan’s dismal tenth birthday: ‘once synonymous with hope.’ Foreign Affairs
Ethiopia: New airstrike in Tigray, with children among the dead. AP
— textile industry at risk if US suspends trade deal over Tigray war. Reuters
Somalia: “Why Al Shabab, despite a decade of covert action, are at their strongest…” NYT $
— Renewed clashes dim hopes of a credible election. DW

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Trail’s end: the days of roaming free are over for Nigeria’s herders. Guardian
— “government-created reserve is an area where they can peacefully feed livestock”
Nigeria: 12 million children ‘afraid’ to go to school in the country. VOA
— because jihadis and heavily armed criminals kidnapped 100s of students for ransom
Children in Mali, Niger, B Faso face incr. risk of recruitment by armed groups. ReliefWeb
— “after thousands of schools closed in the past 2 years due to violence, Covid”
‘Kill them all, don’t spare anyone’: a massacre in Burkina Faso. Al Jazeera

South + Central Asia (2b)


Taliban allows girls to return to some high schools, with big caveats. NYT $
Some girls trying to continue learning–some online, others in hidden classes. Reuters
“Forced to sell my baby”: Afghans in dire poverty, humanitarian crisis. BBC
Afghan Muslims asking questions, these Christians ready to answer. CT
— “Mike, born in Afghanistan, worked alongside US military, converted…”
— “I’m engaged with 30,000 Afghans now… 100s of questions a day…”
Pakistan hosts more Afghan refugees than any other country. Pray for them: CT

China’s charm offensive in Bangladesh. East Asia Forum
Religious violence flaring on both sides of India-Bangladesh border. WPost $
— anti-Muslim violence flares in Tripura. BBC
China will build an outpost for Tajik special forces near Afghan border. Reuters
Iran: Friday prayers return to Tehran despite risk of 6th Covid wave. Link
Sri Lanka economy a “ticking time bomb.” Nikkei
— foreign reserves plummeting, cost of living rising, central bank printing money
— New government powers to seize essential food items hoarded by traders. Link

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China removing domes from mosques to make them more Chinese. NPR
— all the religions are getting ‘Sinicized.’
Hong Kong passes new film censorship law. BBC
— banning films deemed to violate China’s national security interests
Fresh lockdowns in China as Covid-19 spreads to 11 provinces. CNN
— mostly in the north, in regions like Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Ningxia, Guizhou, Beijing
N Korea may be making plans for a future without Kim Jong Un. Business Insider
— all of this has been written before. Still, interesting deep dive into nuance of succession
N Korea tells hungry citizens to ‘tighten belts’ until 2025. RFA
— the border with China remains closed.
South Korea plots course to scrapping Covid curbs by early 2022. Reuters
— 3-phase strategy to end of all limits on gatherings, distancing by February.

Southeast Asia (700m)

Myanmar: military unity under unprecedented pressure. East Asia Forum
— one big Q is graft: “ambitious soldiers wait for turn to become leaders, live lavishly”
— free fall of Myanmar economy means less ‘lavish’ to go around
Myanmar military uses systematic torture across country. AP
Myanmar refugee #s: 589k IDP, 22k refugees in neighboring countries. ReliefWeb
Thailand tests its readiness for tourism reboot with airport drill. SCMP
— will reopen to visitors from selected countries on November 1
— “QR code, Dept of Disease Control, all details about insurance, vaccine cert, hotels”
Laos makes Asia’s largest single drug bust ever in Golden Triangle. Reuters
— 55 million methamphetamine tablets, 1.5m tons of crystal meth
— spike in drugs seized in Laos due to shifting of smuggling routes in Myanmar

New Data

Covid global case data

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

… 10/28: 245.7m (+3.1m/wk) cases, 4.98m deaths
… 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
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

Longer Articles

Clegg, Nick. “Will Islam dominate Europe?” Denison Forum. A long read that surveys current population growth factors and the response of cultures to larger Muslim components. Pretty good article–acknowledges multiple migration scenarios (hard to know how those will play out) as well as declining fertility rates.

Fulton, Brent. “Rhetoric and reality.” China Source. Questions whether the rhetoric about China, from Christian sources in particular, is getting too heated. “The one-dimensional picture they paint and the stereotypes they reinforce may prevent a deeper look into what else may be happening, particularly in the lives of Chinese Christians…”

Bogost, Ian. “People aren’t meant to talk this much.” The Atlantic ($). “The capacity to reach an audience some of the time became contorted into the right to reach every audience all of the time. The rhetoric about social media started to assume an absolute liberty always to be heard; any effort to constrain or limit users’ ability to spread ideas devolved into nothing less than censorship. But there is no reason to believe that everyone should have immediate and constant access to everyone else in the world at all times.”

Book Notes

I just finished You’re Not Listening: what you’re missing and why it matters. It’s about all the temptations not to listen, and all the benefits of listening. Fantastic book, quick read, not academic, highly recommended.

The Economist has a book review up on two new books on the plight of the Uyghurs. I haven’t looked at either one yet.

More: The books I’ve read this year as part of my 100 Books project.

Tech & Futures

Korea’s space ambitions: heading to the moon by 2030. Link
— Australia wants to send a lander to the moon by 2026. Link

Russia is censoring the Internet, with coercion and block boxes. NYT $

Five points for anger, one for a ‘like’: how FB formula fostered rage, misinformation. Post $
— emoji signals valued over traditional ‘likes’

FB has ‘language blind spots’ around the world that allow hate speech to flourish. CNN
— moderation teams often equipped to handle only some of the languages

Autonomous, robotic boats could transform city waterways. Fast Company
— already in use in Amsterdam as water taxis, trash collectors, package deliverers and more

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