Roundup 284

SPARKS AND TRENDS TO WATCH

1. Pray for peace in Ukraine. A new analysis suggests that a “full invasion” (and that’s only one scenario) could result in 50,000 deaths and 5 million refugees in Europe. The level of disruption and the knock-on effects of a war are staggering to contemplate.

2. Several stories of accelerating nationalistic anger in India this week are highlighting the tensions between ethnicities and religious groups–most markedly between Hindus and Muslims, but some effects are being felt by Christians. Pray for the continued ability of believers and movements to grow in the midst of suffering.

3. While some countries are opening their borders, many of these openings are to short-term entrants only. Widely, many countries have been using Covid to tighten their borders. Some are closing borders altogether; others are simply allowing tourists while disallowing longer-term access. Pray for workers having to develop new and innovative ways to see the Gospel enter less-open areas.

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Egypt names first-ever Christian head of country’s top court. AP
Turkey’s doctors are leaving, the latest casualty of spiraling inflation. NYT
… over 1,400 last year, and 4,000 over the past 10 years …
Sudan: ‘Democracy if Life’: the grass-roots movement taking on the generals. NYT

East Africa (520m) 

Covid+War spell trouble for tourism in Ethiopia’s holy town of Laibela. Independent
Fighting in Ethiopia’s Afar region has displaced 300,000. Reuters
Cyclone Batsirai hits Madagascar, 80 killed. @Reuters

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Burkina Faso: insecurity, violence spur refugee exodus: 34k in exile in region. VOA
Contagious coups: what is fueling military takeovers across W Africa? Guardian

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghanistan’s Emerald Mountains. RFE
… In Panjshir, former police, soldiers scrape by digging emeralds out of the Hindu Kush …
Afghan children starving to death as hunger ‘rapidly spreading.’ RFE
… 14 million at risk of starvation, dozens dying weekly …
… health system is collapsing under stress. NYT
… some frozen funds may be released for relief work? AP
Disappearances, beatings, intimidation: women’s rights activists go quiet. WPost$
… The Taliban has ‘embarked on a violent crackdown on dissent’
Why around 4,000 Afghan evacuees are still in US bases six months on. NewHum

India’s democracy is not as healthy as this month’s elections make it seem. Economist$
Hindu nationalism pushed in voting test for Modi’s politics. AP
… 5 states will vote in Feb, March ‘The BJP is fighting to retain power in all but one.’
India’s anti-Muslim firebrand is a possible future Prime Minister. France24
… a strong win for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh could put him in position to succeed Modi
Wearing hijab bars some Muslim students from class. AP
… Karnataka: ‘don’t wear clothes that disturb law & order.’ Indian Express
… Hijab protests explode, province shuts colleges, high schools for 3 days. Indian Express
As officials look away, hate speech in India nears dangerous levels. NYT$
… ‘once fringe, extremist elements taking militant message into the mainstream’
Suicides among unemployed crossed 3,000 in 2020 Covid year. Indian Express
Dalit or Christian? Caught between two identities in Punjab. Indian Express$

Escalating violence in restive Balochistan, Pakistan resurrects forgotten conflict. RFE
… long read exploring some of the causes of the insurgency …

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China media freedom declining at ‘breakneck speed.’ Al Jazeera
… annual report from Foreign Correspondents Club. Impacts ability to gather info …
Can China ever reopen? Atlantic
… ‘Xi Jinping’s first, only priority is political security: quick reopening almost untenable’
Hong Kong’s Covid misery deepens: new social restrictions, vegetable shortage. Reuters
… public gatherings limited to 2 people, churches and other stores to close
… no produce from mainland China able to come in
5 lessons from persecuted Christians in China. TGC
… ‘We should not put our faith in a Chr. government, expectation to ease our suffering’
… ‘church has often grown in the presence, not the absence, of suffering’ …
China’s family planning body to ‘intervene’ in abortions. Sixth Tone
… reading this, I think it means China plans to reduce the number of abortions …

Japan slams the borders shut on Omicron. East Asia Forum
… powerful border control measures … 34 prefectures under quasi-state of emergency …
… ‘essentially closed the country to non-Japanese citizens’
Japan’s Shinto religion is going global, attracting online followers.Conversation

Southeast Asia (700m)

Malaysia set to reopen borders for quarantine free travel from March 1. The Star
Thailand doubles down on authoritarianism.East Asia Forum
… Covid > tourism loss > economic devastation, school closures > protests > crackdown
Indonesia will temporarily ban foreign tourists entering through some airports.Reuters
… in a bid to slow a spike in Covid infections …

Americas+Europe+Pacific

In Ukraine, mission work goes on during Russia standoff.CT
… ‘Where can we go?’ Fear and self-defence near Ukraine’s eastern frontiers.Reuters
… US promises to end Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invades.WPost$
… US warns grim toll of full invasion: 50k casualties, 5 million refugees in Europe.NYT$
… US administration warns Americans to leave Ukraine ‘now’.@AFP
… Russia could ‘seize Kyiv in days’; 70% of ‘required forces’ on border.WPost$
Australia will reopen borders to vaccinated travelers.Reuters

New Data

Covid global case data

… 2/11: 405.9m (+21.1m/wk) cases, 5.78m deaths
… 2/03: 384.8m (+26.0m/wk) cases, 5.69m deaths
… 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
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT

Longer Articles

Nonstate armed actors and illicit economies in 2022. Series: Brookings
The evolution of global poverty, 1990-2030. Brookings
The war on free speech: censorship’s global rise. Foreign Affairs
5 coups in 3 years, democracy under threat across Africa. HumAngle
 
Book review of Acclerated ExpertiseLink
… the military wanted to accelerate the achievement of high levels of proficiency
… and wanted high retention of knowledge and skill
… this very long review explores a lot of topics in the book
… which seem to me to apply to mission training
Related: How note taking can help you become an expert. Link
… ‘a series on learning in ill-structured, novel domans’ – lots of interesting advice here.

Book Notes

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

Tech & Futures

AI driving race cars in video games may help develop real self-driving cars. Wired

India government is open to stricter social media rules. Indian Express

Humanitarian organizations keep getting hacked because they can’t spend to secure data: ‘they have the resources of mall caps to protect against the equivalent of Delta Force.’ Link

Meta threatens to shut down FB, Instagram in Europe if EU regulators say it can’t transfer data back to the US. ‘Simple reality is that Meta, and many others, rely on data transfers between the EU and the US to operate global services.’ No one thinks this will happen, but it’s a reminder that FB might not always be available for Internet evangelism in some country. CNBC

New Pew report: Visions of the Internet in 2035: ‘analyzing the insights of hundreds of technology experts who responded to a canvass of their predictions.’ Link

Facebook has a superuser-supremacy problem. Link
… ‘the most abusive people on FB are given the most power to shape what Facebook is’
… a corruption of the ‘those-who-have-get-more’ exponential growth cycle.

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