Roundup 279

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Lebanon’s soul has been eviscerated by its financial crisis. CNN
… “Not even the children want to play.”
Libya election cancelled. BBC
The many repercussions of the Rif rebellion. NY Books $
The Exodus of Iranian Kurds: crossing into Iraq’s Kurdistan. Newlines
… “crossing into an uncertain future of poverty, neglect, and shaky legal status”
Did Iran’s Supreme Court decriminalize house churches in Iran? Iran Wire
… fears the ruling was “just for show.”
Iraq’s Great Thirst: farmers quit as climate change, politics dry once-fertile land. LA Times
… “Turkey and Iran have activated dams and tunnels to divert the Tigris and Euphrates”
Drought ignites tribal conflicts in southern Iraq. Link
… “inherited blood feud that can be traced back to a disagreement over sharing water”
Glimpses of Christmas showed up in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Gazette
… “extra festive after lifting of Covid restrictions”
Sudan faces specter of full military rule after PM quits. Bloomberg
… “braces for the worst” … “military in control once again…” Sudan News Updates
… US urges civilian rule after PM quits. Reuters
… Internet, mobile services disrupted ahead of latest round of planned protests. Reuters
… From global cause to forgotten crisis: a reporter’s diary from Darfur. NewHum
US concerned over Turkish drone sales to Horn of Africa. Reuters
… Turkish inflation soars to 36%, highest in Erdogan era. Reuters
… Bleak future awaits young Syrians in Turkey. Arab Weekly

East Africa (520m)

Ethiopia, fractured giant: the struggle to build a nation. Reuters Special Report
… The [UAE, Turkey, Iranian] drones that turned Ethiopia’s war. NYT $, Reuters
… Record number of civilians killed in airstrikes across Tigray. RFI.fr
… Impoverished Ethiopia seeks extra $2.5 billion to rebuild from war. Reuters
Kenyan nomads’ way of life falls victim to worst drought in memory–in photos. Guardian
… “Heading into the worst”: how drought drives conflict in Kenya. Al Jazeera
Somalia’s president suspends the PM over corruption allegations. NYT
… but the PM defied the order to step down
… political dispute threatens to further destabilize the nation

West + Middle Africa

W Africa: She escaped child marriage twice. WPost
… now she’s trying to save girls from other pandemic suitors.
Sahel: intercommunal violence and livelihood zones, mapped via ACLED et al. Twitter
… conflict set to worsen in 2022, say analysts. VOA

South + Central Asia (2b)

Parents selling children shows desperation in Afghanistan. NPR
… With famine looming over Afghanistan, millions struggle for every meal. NBC
Islamic countries pledge fund to stave off Afghanistan ‘chaos.’ Reuters $
Would you sponsor an Afghan refugee? New program makes it possible. NYT $
… At every step, Afghans coming to America encounter stumbling blocks. NYT $
… Infographics: Unsettled: searching for home after escaping the Taliban. WPost $
Taliban faces battle to hold on to power in Afghanistan. RFE
Afghans fear for their rights as Taliban resurrects religious policing. RFE
… Ministry for Promotion of Virue & Prevention of Vice has reclaimed its role

Arrests, beatings, secret prayers: Inside the persecution of India’s Christians. NYT $
India’s religious minorities are under attack. Modi and the BJP are silent. Foreign Policy $
Hindu event calling for genocide of Muslims sparks outrage. Al Jazeera
As Hindu extremists call for killing of Muslims, India’s leaders keep silent. NYT $
Christians on edge in India’s Karnataka, ruled by Modi’s BJP. Al Jazeera
… 42 attacks on Christians, state mulls controversial anti-conversion law.
Indian Christians fear attacks or jail over conversions. BBC
Christmas events targeted by right-wing Hindu groups. Guardian
NGOs in India yet to have their foreign-funding license renewals reviewed. The Hindu
… Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity group was denied.

India sees uptick in Covid cases, begins vaccinating teenagers w/homegrown Covaxin. AFP
… States impose restrictions, curfews to contain infection spread. Indian Express
… makes 7-day home quarantine mandatory for all international arrivals. Indian Express

Kazakhstan protests turn deadly. Bloomberg, NYT, $
… President ordered security forces to ‘kill without warning’ to quell protests. CNN
… dozens of protesters, 12 police dead. AP
… government blacked out the Internet, access remains patchy. Gizmodo
… jump in fuel prices quickly spilled into broader discontent, thousands protest
… Russia-linked Collective Security Treaty Organization sends ‘peacekeepers.’ WPost

Understanding the history, politics behind Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The Conversation

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

Life in draconian zero Covid China. Economist
… China’s latest Xi’an lockdown (since 12/22) shows stubborn resolve on zero-covid. NYT $
US poised to ban all Xinjiang products w/o proof not made with forced labor. SupChina
… “requires clear and convincing evidence”; assumes forced labor by default
China accuses Walmart of ‘stupidity’ over missing Xinjiang items. Al Jazeera
… “will respond with ‘practical actions’ if… ‘doesn’t respect feelings of the Chinese people'”
China warns of ‘drastic measures’ if Taiwan provokes on independence. Reuters
Overseas orgs, individuals not allowed to operate online religious info services within Chinese territory. Global Times, SCMP
… little new, just better enforcement?

North Korea: a decade of Kim Jong Un. Foreign Policy
N Kor state media says it successfully tested a hypersonic missile. BBC

Japan: creating “new” adults will not slow ageing. Economist $
… legal age of majority will drop from 20 to 18 = roughly 2 million new adults overnight.

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia: thousands temporarily displaced due to flooding in Sumatra. @AFP
Malaysia flooding leaves 10s dead, 40k+ homeless. CNN
Myanmar’s chokehold on people’s basic needs. Amnesty
… Myanmar military reverts to strategy of massacres, burnings. ReligionNews
… Save the Children staff identified among the dead after burnt bodies found. Link
… Stay or go? for Myanmar’s latest wave of refugees, there’s no good choice. NYT $
Government of Laos opens green travel zones to visitors. Gov.la
Singapore froze new ticket sales for flights and buses in its vaccinated lane. SCMP
Thailand closes quarantine-free entry. @ThaiNewsReports

The West

Western missionaries escaped in Haiti. AP
A surge of evangelicals in Spain, fueled by immigrant Latin Americans. AP
Trapped at Europe’s door: inside Belarus’s makeshift asylum dormitory. Guardian
Americans are rethinking where they want to live. Economist $
… how does this impacts churches, as well as outreach to unreached pockets within USA?
… “If population were expanding, where Americans choose to live might matter less.” But…
… “This means states [and those in them] are competing for a limited resource: the people that comprise their tax base.”
Across the USA, houses of worship struggle to rebuild attendance. AP
OTOH, churches’ ministry to those hurt by pandemic shows ‘monumental growth.’ Study
… over half of churches started or expanded a ministry during the pandemic
Europe’s Turkish diaspora struggles for recognition. Newslines

$ indicates a potential paywall. Most of these news sources permit a set amount of free articles (usually about 6) per month, and after that, subscription.

New Data

Covid global case data

We estimated 300m cases by Jan. 28. Omicron pushed us faster.

… 1/6: 300.3m (+9.4m/wk) cases, 5.47m deaths
… 12/30: (Holiday break)
… 12/24: (Holiday break)
… 12/17: 272.1m (+3.6m/wk) cases, 5.33m deaths
… 12/10: 268.5m (+4.3m/wk) cases, 5.28m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT

UAE req booster shots for citizens seeking to travel abroad. WPost
— makes one wonder if they’ll require them of people seeking to enter before too long.

Masks Work. Really. We’ll show you how. NYT
— great little interactive explainer with lots of graphics.

Other Data

Where remittances to India come from, and which states get the most. @JonHirstTalks

1/3 of Arab world food insecure in 2020. Al-Monitor
1 in 2 families in drought-affected Iraq need food assistance. NRC
World food prices hit 10-year high in 2021. Reuters

Longer Articles

On thinking like an epidemiologist. @EpiEllie

Not every group of seekers become followers; what to do when a group falls apart. Link

Eight dangers of becoming a sending church. Upstream Collective

The science of visual data communication: what works. SagePub
— long but useful read on making graphs communicate better and avoiding mistakes in understanding

The history of predicting the future. Wired
— “Those who can influence what people think will be the future are often the same people able to command considerable resources in the present, which in turn help determine the future. But very rarely do we hear the voices of the populations governed by the decisionmakers.”

Book Notes

Samples I’m looking at for new year:
Making numbers count. Heath.
You are what you risk: the new art and science of managing an uncertain world. Wucker.
The Practice: Shipping Creative work. Godin.
The science of storytelling. Storr.
The generation myth. Duffy.
Better data visualizations. Schwabish.
Supercrunchers. Ayres.
More: The books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

How Chinese police track critics on Twitter and Facebook. NYT
China harvests masses of data on Western targets, new documents show. WPost
— “turning a major part of its internal Internet-data surveillance network outward, mining Western social media”

Autonomous weapons are here, but the world isn’t ready for them. Wired

Hyundai Motors will reportedly no longer develop internal combustion engines. Link
— the switch to electric is on the way

Chips in hands, vaccine passport, what could go wrong? @EdStetzer

Twitter labeling bots. @TwitterSafety

TuSimple completes its first driverless autonomous truck run on public roads. TechCrunch
— automated driving will come first for the trucking industry
John Deere’s self-driving tractor stirs debate about the role of human farmers. Wired
— and a lettuce-farming robot, too. Wired

The rise and rise of corrugated iron. Economist
— not all technologies are flashy. “Across the poor world, tin still lies at the heart of informal settlements.”

Railway lines once connected the Middle East: now they lie in wreckage. Economist

Traveling overseas? Some airlines now offer health ‘passports.’ WSJ
— new digital tools that keep track of Covid vaccination info, testing requirements to help smooth the way

Facebook says its new AI can identify more problems faster. Wired
… everything can be automated, eventually—even content moderation?
 
Police in England are using hand-held facial recognition cameras. Daily Mail
… allowing suspects to be ID’d on the spot even if they refuse to cooperate

Quotable

“I am beginning to see that much of praying is grieving.” Henry Nouwen

“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” C.S. Lewis

“It is sometimes easier to bear a great load for Christ than a small one. Some of us could be martyrs at the stake more easily that confessors among sneering neighbors.” Alexander Maclaren

“Theological formation is the gradual and painful discovery of God’s incomprehensibility. You can be competent in many things, but you cannot be competent in God.” Henry Nouwen

“As long as we remain sheep, we overcome. Even though we may be surrounded by a thousand wolves, we overcome and are victorious. But as soon as we are wolves, we are beaten.” John Chrysostom

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