Roundup 289

Sparks to watch

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Most analyses do not seem to see an immediate end to the crisis. Cities on the borders of Ukraine and Russia are under heavy attack. Stories of tragedy and heroism have emerged. Pray for the believers both outside the country (e.g. Moldova, Warsaw) who help refugees, and those inside Ukraine who are laboring to assist the hurting and hungry.

2. We pray for the increasingly hungry around the world. Some countries in the Middle East (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq) are taking extraordinary steps for pending bread crises, because they can no longer import wheat from Ukraine. The war will have more extraordinary effects than simple supply line delays on consumer eleectronics.

3. We pray for those caught in the new Covid surge. Countries from Europe to South Korea have seen an upswing in the BA2 variant, which could once more disrupt plans, travel, economics, borders. We are thankful, however, that in many places borders are opening once more (Japan, India-Bangladesh, SE Asia).

4. We remember the many hurting as a result of the less visible wars and “rumors of wars” that continue in the background–Ethiopia, Mozambique, the Sahel (esp. Burkina Faso), Syria, the Kurds, Myanmar, and others.

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Algeria bans export of food. Africa News
… although the article doesn’t say it, following Egypt’s footsteps vs Russia-Ukraine
Egyptian President affirms church building in every city.
… “where there is a mosque, there must be a church… so no one has to meet in homes.”
Inside Egypt’s plan to tackle the wheat crisis. Middle East Eye
A life in limbo for the wives and children of ISIS fighters. NPR
… her voice is just a few decibles short of a yell. “Nobody wants us.”
Iraq food protests against spiraling prices echo early stages of Arab Spring. Conversation
New direct flight between Israel, Egypt. JNS
Five things to know about Israel’s Christian population. JPost
… #1: 90% of Arab Christians are Greek Catholic or Greek Orthodox …

East Africa (520m) 

 2022-03-16 WHO: World’s worst health crisis is in Tigray, Ethiopia. ABC
… “isolated 500 days, no food aid since mid-December, 3/4 of health facilities destroyed”

West + Middle Africa (600m)

How Burkina Faso became the epicenter of the Sahel conflict. Al Jazeera
… Casualties in BF are eclipsing its neighbor Mali, where the conflict originated.
Customer characters in uncustomary places: the case of Burkina Faso’s Est region. PDF.
… USAID + Clengendale Institute + ICCT Hague.
Sustainable agriculture making inroads in Central African Republic. Africa News
… “Despite abundant water resources+millions of hectares of arable land, CAR is hungry.”
Cameroon says it will rebuild hospitals destroyed by Boko Haram. VOA
Mali to suspend French broadcasters for ‘false allegations of army abuses.’ Reuters
Nigeria: Over 1,700 killed, 1,000 kidnapped in 2 months of insecurity. HumAng

South + Central Asia (2b)

Mapping Afghanistan’s untapped natural resources. Al Jazeera
2021-09-01 World Bank in Afghanistan, report – World Bank
… 40% of GDP from international aid, now frozen. 44% of workforce in agricultural sectors.
… 90% live on under US$2/day.
A few interesting maps about Afghanistan. Visual Capitalist

After 2 years, train service between India and Bangladesh to restart. News18
Burning train is a symbol of India’s out-of-work youth. NPR
Explained: India’s urban unemployment rate at 12%. Indian Express

India’s Muslim-Hindu row continues to expand:
Hijab bans deepen Muslim-Hindu fault lines in Karnataka. AP
In today’s India, clothing choices signal a deepening religious divide. CNN
India’s court in Karnataka upholds the ban. Guardian
… and, fearing unrest, state govt bans large gatherings after court ruling
… and, Hindu groups want ban on hijab in more states after verdict. Al Jazeera
RSS alleges ‘growing religious fanaticism in the name of religious freedom.’ Indian Express
… called for “all out efforts with organized strength” to defeat the menace.

Kazakh, Kyrgyz trade with China back to pre-pandemic levels. Link
… you’ll have to use Google Translate to read this, probably

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China’s ‘she economy’ booms. SCMP
… “as young, financially independent women spend for themselves”
… “find happiness and self-fulfillment on their own terms…”
… China’s women 3rd largest economy in world
Bibles for the 1 million Wa people. Asia Harvest
The triumph and terror of Wang Huning is a fascinating read. Link
… it reminds us that there are people “behind the throne” in all of these countries
… if someone fell from power, doesn’t mean the political system would fall – others remain
China’s Covid lockdowns set to further disrupt global supply chains. NYT $

7.3 magnitude earthquake in Japan: 1 dead, dozens injured, power outage. WPost $
Japan eases Covid-19 restrictions further. Diplomat
… “relaxing restrictions on foreign students, technical interns, short-term biz travelers”
… “400k foreign students waiting to enter Japan will likely be able to by May”
… will remove more curbs as infections ebb. Reuters
People are leaving Tokyo, population is falling. Guardian

Southeast Asia (700m)

Laos: I’m not sure what to think of this Laotian movie. I’ve not seen the movie itself, but the trailer seems… wierd. Interesting. Strange. Some spiritism, some time travel, some euthanasia? Here’s the review. NYT

Vietnam drops quarantine and all other restrictions for travelers. ABC
Cambodia drops Covid-19 testing for arrivals. Reuters
Thailand dropping 72-hour-pre-test requirement. Bangkok Post
… will classify as “endemic disease” (deaths < 1:1k infections) from 7/1. Link

UN: Military violence in Myanmar may be a crime against humanity. Link
Meet the new generation driving Myanmar’s resistance. NPR


Russia’s ‘special military operation’

Events, markers
The war in Ukraine is just beginning. Atlantic $
It could last a decade. [Like Syria.] Politico
‘No off-ramps’: US and EU officials don’t see a clear endgame. WPost $
Russia getting ‘bogged down’ in Ukraine, Western nations say. Reuters
90% of Mariupol in ruins. Link

Economic ripples, measures
Algeria, Libya unlikely to plug EU’s Russian energy gap. Conversation
India to buy discounted Russian crude oil in midst of war. WSJ $
… have to imagine some powers won’t be happy with that.
The war in Ukraine could destroy Russia’s civil aviation industry. RFE
Ukraine and the food crisis in South Asia. Diplomat
The war in Ukraine is threatening the breadbasket of Europe. Wired $

Helping inside Ukraine
Hungry Ukrainians trapped by attacks get food from drivers risking their lives. Link
… this is a secular company. Lots of Christian ministries also on the ground …

Aid & Refugees
Warsaw overwhelmed as it becomes a key refugee destination. AP
Young refugees draw their experience of fleeing from the war. WPost $

New Data

Covid global case data

… 3/16: 465.3m (+11.2m/wk) cases, 6.09m deaths
… 3/11: 454.0m (+11.1m/wk) cases, 6.04m deaths
… 3/04: 442.2m (+10.9m/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

WHO: Global rise in Covid cases the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ Link
… while Omicron is subsiding in some places, it is spiking elsewhere due to BA2 variant.
… while many Covid levels in these countries may seem small by comparison to, say, US figures over the past two years, they may still be enough to trigger additional measures, including passport controls and quarantines.

South Korea sees record Covid levels. Link
Europe (Germany, Austria, others) hit by Covid-19 resurgence. SCMP

Other Data

Infographic: Global Bible Translation. MissioNexus

Longer Articles

Amid cascade of coups, African Christians debate civic duty. CT

The myth of exponential growth: most fast growing things are ‘quadratic growth.’ Link
… it’s still rapid, just not necessarily always doubling, doubling, doubling. Lots of math.
… also, why it’s important for movements to constantly try to launch new movements.

The Socratic Method: teaching by asking instead of telling. Link
… a practical example that’s quite intriguing. But it takes a lot of work to set this up.

Atomic Habits of Desire: a conversation between James Clear (Atomic Habits) and Luke Burgis (Wanting: the power of Memetic Desire in every day life). This is a fascinating read that is mostly on the Memetic side (Luke is the one writing), but with insights from Clear on various questions. It’s mostly about the kinds of people who influence us (the Close, the Many, the Powerful) and specific steps to take to counter that in good ways. Link

We need a standard unit of measurement for risk. Link
… this suggests the ‘micromort’, or a 1-in-a-million chance of dying.
… (scuba diving, 5 micromorts per dive; 2-hour car drive, 1 micromort).

10 Biblical terms I wish I had in English. Christianity Today
… the old Greek and Hebrew words sometimes translate better into other languages?

Book Notes

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

Tech & Futures

Are your passwords in the green? Link
… easy to use infographic tells you how quickly your password could be broken given existing technical abilities of most hackers. For me: minimum of 12 chars, Upper/lower, with a symbol thrown in.

Faith comes from Watching: 25 years of SAT-7 TV. CT

As a result of the war, Russia has been blocked from large portions of the Internet. A ‘splinternet’ may be emerging, now. One possible future is that this is the reality of the Internet going forward. Wired


“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

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