Roundup 274

Top Events

Six different ways a war for Taiwan could be fought. Reuters Investigates has a very good set of six scenarios of war between China, Taiwan (that would spiral into the international community). Helps frame some of the low-to-high range possibilities. Link

Ethiopia is organizing pro-government rallies, and rounding up Tigrayans–including some who work for the UN, or who are US or UK citizens. In the north, there are dark stories of forced conscriptions. There is no word yet of how close rebels are to the capital, or of any other increase in fighting, and no indication that a peaceful resolution of the conflict is possible.

Marching toward starvation“: Aid agencies are telling us that hunger + winter in Afghanistan is going to be catastrophic. And, thousands of Afghanis are trying to get out.

Several stories in the news this week point to the ongoing movement of peoples–internally displaced, refugees, migrant flows, and the like. Wars, plagues, economic crises, and climate change are sparking this now, and it will likely only increase. UPG research would love to keep up with this, but the flows are changing far too quickly for any centralized list to really manage. Rather than try to achieve total situational awareness of all the migrant flows in the world, a better route would be for churches to cultivate an attitude of observing the community immediately around them and reaching out to those from other places, and try to be a blessing to them, even at our own risk (perceived or actual).

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Thousands of Afghanis are fleeing to Iran every day. AP
Libya: Tripoli, a city once again brimming with life. Africa Report
Sudanese court orders restoration of the Internet, but no sign of it happening. Reuters
Syria: Short wordless video: daily life in one of the IDP camps in Idlib. @MattCutts

East Africa (520m)

Ethiopia rounds up high-profile Tigrayans, UN staff. Reuters
— from a bank CEO to priests, mass crackdown on suspected supporters of rebels
— the UN staff are Tigrayan humanitarian aid lorry drivers. BBC
— “they just vanished”: ID’ing secret camps where Tig. disappear for months. Globe & Mail
People fleeing tell of attacks, forced conscription by Amhara + Eritreans. AP
— revenge killings, identity changes, bribes, mixed heritage as protection
— Allegations of Eritrean soldiers visiting homes at night to take people away
US orders non-emergency government employees in Ethiopia to leave. Reuters
10s of 1000s of Ethiopians in pro-government rally, US denounced. Reuters
The collapse of Ethiopia’s capital could bring regional chaos. NPR

“If they die, we all die”: drought killing livestock in Kenya. AP
— 2 million food insecure, national disaster in 10 of 47 counties

Dropping out and taking menial jobs: Uganda has closed schools 18 months.NYT$

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Two Christians killed, dozens abducted in attack on church.Link
— report from Open Doors UK says at least 60 kidnapped.Link
— Christian Association of Nigeria says over 100.Link
— noted this originally inMission Catalyst. Like them, haven’t seen any report of releases.
— if you have an update on this story, hit REPLY.

South + Central Asia (2b)

PBS Video (9:02): 14 million Afghans need food assistance to survive. Youtube
— 23 million marching toward starvation. A winter catastrophe is coming. @WFP Chief
With Haqqanis at the Helm, the Taliban will grow even more extreme. FP
— “long been the most lethal and vicious element of the Taliban”

In a region in strife, India’s moral high ground erodes. NYT $
— “losing leverage in S Asia as its government tries to reshape India into a Hindu state”
India’s sacred Yamuna river covered with toxic foam caused by pollutants. Al Jazeera
— Hindu devotees taking Chhath Puja customary dip, despite pollution. Youtube

Bangladesh’s villages bear the brutal cost of climate change. AP
— an instance of internal displacement; as many as 30 million could be displaced

Tajikistan’s teachers are leaving for Russia and not looking back. Eurasianet
— 1.6 million Tajiks have gone to Russia seeking work, 25% of working age population
More on: Electricity shortages causing chaos in Tajikistan. Link

Turkmenistan denies having any Covid-19 cases, but… RFE
— insiders say 25,000 deaths on secret list reported to Ministry of Health daily

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China passes history resolution enshrining extended rule of Xi Jinping. W. Post
— clears the way for a “near inevitable” term lasting until 2027.
T-Day: the battle for Taiwan is a long-read with 6 scenarios. Useful. Reuters
— several of these scenarios don’t involve the invasion of the main Taiwanese islands.
— good illustration of how simply taking some islands close to the Chinese coast = problem
Taiwan alleges ‘gray zone warfare’, says China can blockade its key harbors. Reuters
A “porcupine strategy”: The U.S. is getting Taiwan ready to fight on the beaches. FP

US Pres. Biden faces call for N Kor sanctions relief re humanitarian efforts. VOA
… N Korea teetering on the edge of famine. Hungry citizens should tighten belts ’til 2025.

Southeast Asia (700m)

Cambodia announces start of reopening, phased reentry of tourists. AP
— more than 85% with at least one vaccination; children age 5 and up being vaccinated
“The final battle”: the young generation risk all to topple the Myanmar junta. Reuters
Myanmar says it will begin welcoming international tourists in 2022. CNN
Singapore: the unvaccinated-by-choice can no longer receive free Covid treatment. W. Post
Malaysia will reopen its borders to international visitors by January 1. CNN

The West

Belarus brought in thousands of migrants from the Middle East (mostly Iraqis) and then dumped them on the Polish-Belarusian border, allegedly hoping to provoke a political crisis over migrants in the EU. It’ll probably backfire, but in the mean time there are 10s of 1000s of Middle Easterners caught in the middle of it. Economist $

New Data

Covid global case data

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

… 11/11: 251.8m (+3.2m/wk) cases, 5.07m deaths
… 11/05: 248.6m (+2.9m/wk) cases, 5.02m deaths
… 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
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

Covid-19 is likely to fade away in 2022.” Economist
— “as covid settles into its fate as an endemic disease like flu or common cold”
— “drugs like molnupiravir, dexamethasone, remdesivir, antibody cocktails”
— excess death data suggests true death toll of 10 to 29m, 3x official count
— become less troublesome to more vaccinated, richer countries w/better care
— remains far more troublesome to poorer countries w/less access to health care, vaccines

International travel will get easier, but restrictions will remainEconomist
— restrictions “still tight and lifting only slowly” – only 3 countries impose no restrictions
— “Asia’s recovery has been slow and may continue to lag the rest of the world”

Taiwan’s pursuit of zero-Covid strategy is starting to strain. Guardian
— “restricted border crushing international tourism, hindering trade, supply chain issues”
— example of why many countries will opt for “live with endemic disease”

WHO: Coronavirus deaths falling worldwide, except in Europe. SCMP
— deaths across continent rose 10% in past week, only region where fatalities up
— 2/3 of new global Covid-19 cases in Europe
Also: possible new winter wave (albeit likely smaller) in the USA: W. Post

Other data

Groundswell report: internal climate migration. World Bank.
— as many as 216 million people could be displaced in countries due to climate impact
Displaced, worldwide, first half of 2021: 84 million. UNHCR
— refugees, 20.8 million (+172k over 2020). Asylum-seekers, 4.4 million.

Longer Articles

Do churches transform society? Here’s one interesting piece: “Sinning in the Rain,” from a Duke University researcher. Apparently, when it rains on Sunday morning, fewer people go to church (in the USA)–and when fewer people go to church, white collar crimes (but not violent offenses) go up. Over 36 years, a clear correlation. CT

Protests in Africa: fascinating animated-GIF map from ACLED shows the growth in protests and riots in Africa since 2010. Great example of a visual easily shared on social media. Twitter

For many members of the Arab American diaspora, Mansaf offers a taste of home: the traditional Beoduin dish of bread, rice, lamb and yogurt is a talisman of identity in Jordan–and in various communities in suburban Detroit. (For Shane.) NYT $

Book Notes

More: The books I’ve read (corrected link) this year as part of my 100 Books project.Tech & Futures

Tech & Futures

Robots & the Great Resignation: Companies in North America are struggling to add human workers and speed up assembly lines in the face of record surges, so are adding 29,000+ robots. Reuters $

Costs rising. Globally, demand for energy rebounded from the pandemic quicker than supply. In the USA, gas is the most expensive it’s been in 7 years. This causes increases in prices in everything else–such as food, with the potential for instability. W. Post $

An app called Blue Wolf. “The Israeli military has been conducting a broad surveillance effort in the occupied West Bank … by integrating facial recognition with a growing network of cameras, smartphones.” W. Post $

Information combat: inside the fight for Myanmar’s soul. “A parallel battle is playing out on social media…” Reuters $

Iraqi PM survives an assassination attempt using drone attack on his house. Middle East Eye


“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” Daniel Boorstin

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