Roundup 288

SPARKS TO WATCH

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Russia’s made some noises about stopping if Ukraine gave into its demands, but that’s not likely. Refugees are streaming into Europe, where many churches are doing great things to reach out to them; non-Ukrainian migrants are sometimes less well received by Europeans. The war seems to have bogged down but an assault on Kyiv “may” happen within days. Western countries continue to rearm Ukraine. Pray for the many Christians trying to be a blessing to Ukrainians and others, and for the many Ukrainian Christians caught in the middle.

2. Less visible are the many other conflicts that simmer in the background. Last week we mentioned Cameroon with its 1 million displaced; this week, note the ongoing unrest in Mozambique, with nearly a million displaced. Violence and warfare simmers even when it’s not readily visible. Pray for churches in these contexts.

3. One perhaps less seen effect of the war in Ukraine: the knock-on effects of grain not being exported from the country. Egypt this week is an example of a wider trend: without that grain, subsidized bread will be less available. Without that bread, protests and riots will surely unfold (as they always do). Pray for those who work in the context of great poverty.

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Egypt’s countdown to a new bread uprising. MEMO
… the world’s largest wheat importer. 86% imported from Russia, Ukraine …
… bans exports of key staples to protect food reserves. Bloomberg
Iraq’s youth bulge threatens its weakened economy. ArabNews
… Protests break out over shortage of Ukrainian grain. National InterestMEMO
Iraq: rebuilding churches as symbols of hope. DW
… “the message is for Christians to return to Mosul”.
… Mosul’s Old City rises from rubble: more on churches rebuilt. Al-Monitor
The widow labor force in Iraq [specifically Mosul]. Rudaw
Israel, Turkey announce plans to rebuild ties. Al Jazeera
Saudi Arabia lifts most Covid restrictions, puts end to social distancing. SCMP
… the hajj is probably back on, then …
Sudan: gunmen wreak havoc in North, Central Darfur. Dabanga
Turkey drops mask rules as it heads for normality ahead of tourist season. Al-Monitor

East Africa (520m) 

UN: 7 million people in northern Ethiopia need urgent help. Garowe
Opinion: There is a path to peace in Tigray. FP $
Military intervention hasn’t stopped Mozambique’s jihadist conflict. NewHum
… “the conflict has depopulated northern Cabo Delgado, about size of Rwanda”
… “at least 730,000 people fleeing to safer southern districts”
Uganda’s preachers who take religion to the streets of Kampala. BBC

West + Middle Africa (600m)

As conflict spreads to South Burkina Faso, so do human rights abuses. VOA
Guinea: dozens of parties threaten to demonstrate against the junta. Africa News
Why children in NW Nigeria are ending up on the streets. HumAngle
… at least 10.5m children are out of school in Nigeria, highest in the world

South + Central Asia (2b)

Nearly 400 civilians killed in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, 80% by ISIS-K. Al Jazeera
Long Read: Why the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. History
‘We are desperate’: War in Ukraine diverts attention from Afghan humanitarian crisis. RFE
Dry Wells: portents of a looming water disaster in Afghanistan. Fair Planet

Bangladesh’s “Youtube Village”: watching elderly villagers cook extravagant feasts. Link
… 4 million subscribers? …
Bangladesh sets target to send 1 million workers abroad in 2022. Arab News
… over 10 million Bangladeshis live and work abroad, mainly in the Middle East.
Languages of Bangladesh: mapped and profiled. Link
… I’m not a linguist & I haven’t explored this very much. Would be curious if someone who’s more expert can weigh in on the accuracy.

India election: BJP won or leading in 251 of 403 seats in Uttar Pradesh. ReutersNPR
… claims victory in four state elections. Guardian
Why India’s election results may worry the country’s 200 million Muslims. CBS
Hardline Hindu monk’s stock rises as BJP wins key Indian state. Al Jazeera

Ukraine could remake Kazakhstan’s relationship with Russia. Diplomat
… “not just the global order but the regional order has been dramatically changed.”
Russia sanctions prompt Kazakhstan to increase exports via Caspian. Eurasianet
Kazakhstan donated $2m worth of medicines to Ukraine. Astana Times

China, India, and Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic crisis. Diplomat $
… lost $4 billion of annual foreign currency inflows earned from tourism …
… unable to make foreign debt repayments, foreign currency reserves below $1 billion …

Turkmenistan will get a new president in March. Will it matter? Diplomat $

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

ChinaSource March 2022 Quarterly – “Reaching Migrant Workers in China.” Link
Xi Jinping calls for ethnic groups to ‘stick together like pomegranate seeds.’ SCMP
Putin’s war has killed China’s Eurasian railway dreams. FP
How China’s ambitious Belt and Road plans for East Africa came apart. Diplomat

N Korea accused of testing ICBM systems, restoring nuclear test site. Reuters
… paving way to resumption of long-range tests …

Japan’s little-known seafaring past: the Geiyo Island pirates. BBC
Foreign students waiting (Covid) to enter Japan should be able to by May. Kyodo News
Japan’s cap on foreigners who can enter to raise to 7,000 from March 14. TimeOut

Southeast Asia (700m)

Quarantine free Bali puts Indonesia on track for broad reopening. Bloomberg
Bali scraps quarantine requirement for foreign visitors. WaPo $
Indonesia, Malaysia to further ease curbs on foreign visitors. Reuters
Christian YouTuber from Bali facing 10-year sentence for criticizing Islam. Persecution

Myanmar: What the first year was like. Guardian
… After a year of reporting on the military coup, I knew my luck would finally run out.

Americas+Europe+Pacific


Russia’s ‘special military operation’ to ‘demilitarize’ (but not occupy) Ukraine.
Events, markers
Russian forces concentrating northwest of Kyiv, possible assault next week. Reuters
Ukraine war at the 2-week mark: Russians slowed but not stopped. AP
Putin thought Ukraine would fall quickly. An airport battle proved him wrong. WSJ $
Proud band of Ukrainian troops holds Russian assault at bay–for now. NYT $
… “Few expected such strength from our people.”
As fighting gets closer, a Kyiv hospital treats the war’s atrocities. NYT $
Attacks on Ukrainian hospitals, ambulances increasing rapidly, WHO warns. Reuters

The potential for Escalation
How the war in Ukraine could get much worse: risk of a deadly spiral. FP
Russia could use chemical or biological weapons, White House warns. Sky
Russia greenlights up to 16,000 volunteer fighters from the Middle East. Reuters
They used a very similar pattern in Syria. Guardian
US spy chiefs say Putin is likely to escalate with no concern for civilian casualties. CNN

Economic ripples, measures
EU seeks independence from Russian oil and gas “well before 2030.” NYT $
US bans all imports of oil and natural gas from Russia. WaPo
… Gas, travel, other prices are rising as a result.
Ukraine’s farmers stalled, fueling fears of global food shortages. Reuters
War in Europe’s breadbasket reverberates among USA chickens. Forbes
… similar articles are in various regions above
Evading sanctions: a how-to guide for Russian billionaires. Forbes
More companies suspend operations in Russia:
… AirbnbMicrosoftNetflixTikTokSony, NintendoRFENYT.
Putin talks of nationalizing Western businesses. NYT $
War in Ukraine is making Americans rethink trip to Europe. Forbes
… perceptions of risk and actual risks are always hard to bring in line

Aid & Refugees
“More than 2.3 million people have now fled the country” Reuters
Turkish humanitarian aid planes stranded in Ukraine. Hurriyet
Eastern Europe’s aid effort under strain, running out of housing. Reuters
Why so many African and Indian students were in Ukraine. BBC
… home to 76,000 foreign students, 25% Africa, 20k Indian. Thousands have fled…

Re-arming
Arming Ukraine: 17,000 anti-tank weapons in 6 days. NYT $
… USA walks to edge of direct conflict in operation reminiscent of Berlin airlift of 1948-49
How useful are Turkish-made drones fighting in Ukraine? DW

Russian censorship:
Russia takes censorship to new extremes, stifling war coverage. NYT $
… new law criminalizes any public opposition to, independent news reporting about war.
Russia strengthens its censorship regime by blocking Facebook. Vox
Russian police arrest more than 3,000 as protests expand across Russia. NYT $
News outlets scramble to set up technical workarounds in response to censorship. WaPo $
WaPo removes bylines to protect reporters amid Russia’s new media law. The Hill

International leaders:
Erdogan urges Putin to declare Ukraine ceasefire, make peace. Reuters
China’s Xi calls for ‘maximum restraint in Ukraine.’ Reuters

Inevitable eschatology:
Russia’s war has some Christians wondering: is this the end of the world? WaPo
Devout Jews in Ukraine stay to pray and await ‘apocalypse.’ France24

New Data

Covid global case data

… 3/04: 442.0m (+10.7m/wk) cases, 5.98m deaths
… 2/26: 431.3m (+11.7m/wk) cases, 5.92m deaths
… 2/18: 419.6m (+13.7m/wk) cases, 5.86m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT

Omicron continues to spike in parts of Asia. NYT $

Longer Articles

The latest issue of Mission Frontiers has a host of great DMM-related articles. Link

Progress to eradicate global hunger is stalling. Economist $

Subsaharan Africa emerges as global epicenter of terrorism: half of all annual deaths. Link

Beyond Ukraine: 8 more humanitarian disasters that demand your attention. NewHum

Africa’s Great Green Wall begins to rise. Link
… planting millions of trees across the continent from Senegal to Djibouti. H/T DH.

Book Notes

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

Tech & Futures

Google rolls out Air Raid Alerts to Android phones in Ukraine. Link

Facebook temporarily allows war posts urging violence against Russian invaders. Reuters
… a temporary change to its hate speech policy …

Quotable

“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” GK Chesterton (h/t Shane Bennett, check out his interviews with Greg Livingstone)

“Live in the future, then build what’s missing.” ~Paul Graham

“If service is below you, leading is beyond you.” ~Tanmay Vora

“Some men die by shrapnel. Some by flames. Some die inch by inch and play at little games.” Winston Churchill 

“If you’re not ready to face opposition for your obedience to God, you’re not ready to be used by God.” ~@Craiggroeschel

“You’re not called and commissioned to attend a service once a week. You’re called to make disciples.” ~@ToddAdkins

“It is not good enough to do God’s work; it must be done in His way and for His credit.” ~Erwin Lutzer

“It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr.” ~Napoleon

“There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.” ~Billy Graham

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us” ~St. Augustine

“Those who grow deep without growing wide are probably not as deep as they think.” ~J. D. Greear

This entry was posted in Roundup. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.