Roundup 282

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Senior humanitarian describes ‘horror scenes’ in Syrian camps. UN
… temperatures well below zero have turned IDP camps into disaster zones.
Yemeni missile/drone attack on UAE stopped by US Patriot missiles. Reuters
… Iran-aligned Houthis targeted base hosting US military + [maybe] int’l airport
… an attempt at escalation, intent seems to be to claim UAE is ‘unsafe’

East Africa (520m) 

World Food Program: 1/3+ of people in Tigray suffer from extreme lack of food. AP
… No aid convoys have entered the region since mid-December.
… All NGOs operating in the area have used up all their fuel.
… 5,000+ deaths in Ethiopia’s Tigray due to blockade. AP
… Ethiopia is deliberately starving its own citizens. Economist $
Tigray rebels say they have been provoked into pushing into Afar. Barron’s
… ‘dampening hopes of a possible ceasefire’
Kenya: Goats, sheep, livelihoods lost to floods, cold. Reuters
Uganda: in Karamoja, rampant rustling and a militarized response. NewHum

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Military takes power in Burkina Faso. NYT $
… soldiers said the people fed up with govt’s inability to stop militant attacks
… 1.4 million were displaced and 2,000+ killed in 2021 alone.
… borders closed.
Hundreds of people marched to show support for the new junta. AP
… Crowds celebrated the latest coup. Reuters
… But, perhaps: The coup will help the jihadists. Economist $
West Africa coups show limits to diplomacy. Reuters
… “opens door to new players”—including Russia.

South + Central Asia (2b)

In freezing Afghanistan, aid workers rush to save millions from starving or freezing. AP
… ‘I’ve already sold my daughters, now I’m forced to sell my kidney.’ Guardian
… Why the effort to help Afghanistan is failing. AP

India: Three days of rioting over jobs spread over a dozen districts in Bihar. BBC

Over 10 million job seekers applied for 35,000 jobs with the railways; frustration over the problematic application process escalated to anger and violence. And India’s employment problems are increasing.

Tensions spill over: Tajik, Kyrgyz in running gun battle over highway closure. Eurasianet

How Kazakhstan became more Kazakh. Economist $
… money for migration changed the face of the nation.
… went from being 40% Kazakh, 37% Russian in 1991 to 70% Kazakh, 18% Russian today.
… Long read: Voices from the streets of Kazakhstan. 1843

Kazakhstan shakes down oligarchs to fund social services. Eurasianet
… “0.001% of the population controls half the nation’s wealth.”

Central Asia struck by major region-wide blackout. Eurasianet
… I haven’t seen a definitive analysis of the cause of the blackout, but
… the interlinkages of the system in the region are interesting.

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

Live-streaming: In rural Sichuan, poverty and profit are just a click apart. Sixth Tone
… but those who video poverty as spectacle are running afoul of the government’s plans.
500k+ foreign students are locked out of China, try to salvage education plans. WSJ $
US-China pandemic rules travel spat accelerates, 44 flights cancelled by US. CNN

Southeast Asia (700m)

A year later, Myanmar’s civil disobedience movement carries on. Irrawaddy


Russia vs. Ukraine: the tension continues.
… global results: human suffering, economic shock, global realignment. Economist $
… Russia’s military, once creaky, is modern and lethal. NYT $
… Russia has even moved blood supplies (for treating casualties) near the border. Reuters
… US put 8,500 troops on ‘heightened alert,’ says AFP.\
… ‘Biden weighs deploying thousands of troops to E Europe, Baltics.’ NYT $
… says ‘invasion in February is a distinct possibility.’ AP
… or, maybe Russia is willing to avoid war, if ‘demands addressed.’ Reuters

New Data

Covid global case data

… 1/28: 358.8m (+18.5m/wk) cases, 5.64m deaths
… 1/21: 340.3m (+20.1m/wk) cases, 5.57m deaths
… 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)
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT

Other Data

Status of Global Christianity 2022 from the CSGC. Link

Corruption is getting worse in many poor countries. Economist

Longer Articles

Book Notes

While traveling, I’ve been re-reading “Against the Gods” (about the history of probability theory) and “Working Backwards” (a moderately deep dive into how Amazon works, with especially interesting sections on narratives, the OP1/OP2 process, deep dives into metrics, and their Weekly Business Review–as well as fun stories about the launch of the Kindle, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Video). We use a process similar to OP1 in two of the teams I run, and I’m quite interested in the WBR process as well.

The books I’ve read in 2022. The books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

Meta is building an AI supercomputer, in part to help with Facebook moderation. CNN

The battle for the world’s most powerful cyber weapon: Pegasus. NYT
… ‘how Israel used sales of Pegasus to advance its interests around the world.’

Drone Wars: Iran, Turkey, China deliver the air power behind Ethiopia’s resurgence. Africa Report


“The best way to live above all fear of death is to die every morning before you leave your bedroom. The apostle Paul said, “I die daily.” When you have got into the holy habit of daily dying, it will come easy to you to die for the last time.” Charles Spurgeon

“Order your soul. Reduce your wants.” Augustine

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