Roundup 280

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Sanctions & censorship are making the Internet in Iran less accessible.WPost $
Assad’s normalization and the politics of erasure in Syria.Bloomberg
… conflict in 11thyear with no end in sight …
… 12m food insecure. Narcotics a leading source of revenue. Insurgencies. Violence.
Changing times for Saudi’s once feared morality police.France24
… “deprived of all its perogatives… no longer has a clear role…”
… “Anything I sould ban is now allowed, so I quit…”
… “Cannot afford to get rid of it completely… linked to a certain Saudi identity…”
Many Saudis are seething at MBS’s reforms.Economist $
… “This kingdom is preventing virtue and promoting vice.”

East Africa (520m)

Ethiopia promises peace, but keeps bombing rebels and civilians.Economist$
… air strikes have killed nearly 100 people in the past week.Reuters
… government has repelled rebel fighters, and pledged peace talks.WSJ $
… govt said Friday it would pause at current positions.UN
Analysis: Somalia may be on the verge of another famine.Al Jazeera
… 12/14: 90% of Somalia faces severe water shortages, extreme hunger.Oxfam
Analysis: why the return of displaced people in S Sudan is a thorny issue.NewHum
Over 20 million people in the Horn of Africa need urgent food aid.FEWS

West + Middle Africa (600m)

West African nations sever links with Mali over election delay.Reuters
Nigeria is lifting its ban on Twitter.Reuters
… Apparently, Twitter largely agreed to the government’s demands.BBC
Scores killed in Zamfara, Nigeria during reprisal attacks by armed bandits.CNN
… somewhere between 50s and 200-ish killed.

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghanistan: the search for stability.Foreign Affairs$
… Can Iran and Pakistan manage the Taliban’s Emirate?
The Taliban have staffing issues, and look for help from exiles in Pakistan.NYT$
… jobs are given as patronage to ex-fighters, but not all possess the skills required.
Taliban religious police issue posters ordering women to cover up.France24
Portraits of fear and stability: Taliban rule through eyes of 4 women.WPost $
Opium production thrives amid crisis in Afghanistan: video.EFE
… Pakistan seizing ‘unprecedented’ amount of drugs from Afghanistan.TRT
Terrible situation: “millions on the verge of death.”Al Jazeera
… UN chief asks for money to be unfrozen to avert disaster.
UN appeals for $4.4bln plan to help 28 million in Afghanistan.ReliefWeb

India restores foreign fund permit for Mother Theresa charity.AP
Over a million Hindus on pilgrimage to Ganges for Makar Sankranti.Reuters
… doctors are worried the festival could become a super-spreader event
… drones spray Ganges holy water to reduce crowding, crowds defy Covid rules.France24
India’s capital hunkers down as cases surge, hospitals face staffing shortages.WPost $
… “ICU of one of largest hospitals went from half empty to almost full in 24 hours”
… “avoid repeat of last spring when health-care system buckled, 100s of 1000s of deaths”
… staffing worsened by doctor-govt dispute, delayed 45k new medical graduates starting
Op/Ed: Majoritarian violence is slowly tearing India apart.Al Jazeera
… “Under BJP, became one of the most dangerous countries for Muslims & Christians…”
Hindu bigots are openly urging Indians to murder Muslims.Economist $

In Kazakhstan, the violence has eased but questions loom.Al Jazeera
… in turmoil, regional troops sent to quell unrest.CNN
… Over 8,000 arrested, dozens dead.Forbes
… information chaos after the Internet shutdown.Diplomat$
… only sporadic access to most regions, while Almaty continues to be cut off

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

10s of millions of Chinese wrestle with dilemma of Lunar New Year travel.SCMP
The army of millions who enforce China’s zero-Covid policy at all costs.NYT$
… “easy to blame individuals who committed the banality of evil”
… “if you or I become the screws in this gigantic machine, might not be able to resist either”
China’s lockdowns hit factories, ports in latest knock to supply chains.WSJ$
… What it is like to stay at one of China’s massive quarantine centers.SCMP
Chinese women unlikely to fulfill their government’s desire for more babies.RFA
… How too many boys skew China’s economy.WSJ$
China State media says Gen-Z ready for marriage; but Gen-Zers say no.Sixth Tone
… number of marriage registrations hit a 17-year low, birth rate lowest since 1978
Nearly one-third of suicides in China are by people aged 70 and above.Economist$
China crushes Hong Kong’s independent news outlets.Economist$
… we are losing important sources for what’s happening inside China.

North Korea tests a kind of hypersonic vehicle with 700km (430mi) range.VOA
… tests raise military stakes in Asia: ‘will undoubtedly become better.’Reuters

Japan will continue to bar all foreigners until end of February.WSJ$

Southeast Asia (700m)

‘Not enough water’: Cambodia’s farmers face changing climate.Al Jazeera
… volume of Tonle Sap is dipping, and water infrastructure is poor …
Laos has begun partially reopening to international tourists after 18 months.Link
Fleeing violence in Myanmar, thousands camp along Thai border river.Reuters
China reopens border with northern Vietnamese province.Bloomberg
Thailand will impose 300 baht tourist fee from April.Reuters
Floods hit seven states in Malaysia, 40k+ displaced.CNN

The West

Key meetings on Ukraine crisis end with no breakthrough.CNN
… “Europe at greatest risk of war in 30 years, Poland warns.”Reuters
… massive cyber-attack against Ukrainian government website.Guardian
Why the Catholic Church is losing Latin America.WSJ$
… >1mln Brazilians have joined evangelical or Pentecostal church since pandemic began
Evangelicals in Brazil are stronger than ever before.Al Jazeera
USA: How American couples’ ‘inter-Hindu’ marriages are changing the faith.RNS
20% of US Muslims are in interfaith marriages/cohabitations.RNS
“Gone by 2040”: why some religions are declining in Canada faster than ever.Global News
… Christianity declining, Anglicanism could be gone by 2040;
… other religions growing, but non-religious could double by 2036.
USA: church leaders are still waiting for volunteers to come back.CT
… many churches saw long time reliable volunteers back away because age = risk
US college enrollment down by 1 million students since the start of the pandemic.WPost $
… Freshmen enrollment down 9% from pre-pandemic levels.
… if your ministry is to college students, or recruiting from students, watch this trend

New Data

Covid global case data

… 1/14: 320.2m (+22.4m/wk) cases, 5.52m deaths
… 1/6: 297.8m (+8.5m/wk) cases, 5.46m deaths
… 12/30: (Holiday break)
… 12/24: (Holiday break)
… 12/17: 272.1m (+3.6m/wk) cases, 5.33m deaths
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT

More than half of Europeans could be infected with Omicron in next 2 months.NYT$
Study: Covid becomes 90% less infectious within 20 minutes of being airborne.Link
… “losing most of its ability to infect after the first five minutes.”

Other Data

Last seven years have been the hottest on record. WPost
… we can expect to continue to see more droughts, food instability …

Longer Articles

The world’s religions face a post-pandemic reckoning. Economist $
… many religious orgs will get rid of underused properties, and many churches will merge.
 
8:17 New Humanitarian video: 10 crises they are watching in 2022. Link
 
Russian Orthodox Old Believers: inside the hidden lives of their community. NatGeo

Book Notes

I just finished Crucial Conversations, a 2002 book I wish I had read a lot earlier. If you find yourself in high-stakes conversations where (1) opinions vary, (2) stakes are high, and (3) emotions are strong, this book has extremely practical tools for managing yourself and the conversations away from “silence and violence” and toward productive results. It is a little acronym-y at times, but I find this does help me remember the tools.

The next book I’m reading through is one I received for Christmas, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the art of Observation. A journalist takes 12 walks around her city block with 12 different people (representing 12 different perspectives). I was keen on this book because it promises to bring out skills and suggestions for observing better what’s around us.

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

New longread Atlantic Council report on Iranians on Social Media. Link

Analysis: from Kazakhstan to Ethiopia, the growing Internet shutdown. Reuters.

Quietly, and over some objections, a national digital vaccine card standard has emerged in the US. NBC

Quotable

“Shall this leave us bitter? or better? Grieve, then choose.” Amanda Gorman

“Moses spent forty years thinking he was somebody, forty years learning he was nobody, and forty years discovering what God can do with a nobody.” Dwight L. Moody

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