Roundup 290

Sparks to watch

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Many analysts say it has largely ground to a halt, but many of the towns are being pounded into ruins. We are thankful for the many nations who are taking in the millions of refugees; we should encourage our churches and ministries to be involved with this work to the extent they can.
… join the 30 days of 24/7 Prayer for Ukraine, beginning in 3 days. Link

2. Ramadan will start soon. There are a number of prayer campaigns being launched around this time, including two strands of 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (hereand here). Also, Frontiers has “Hidden Treasures of the Muslim World,” a 30 day prayer guide available via daily emails. Finally, Beyond’s own night of prayer is noted above.

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = Middle East (570m)

The Middle East is on the brink again: the risks of an unstable authoritarian order. FA $
Egypt caps bread prices: “We are nearing Ramadan & worried about price increases.” CNN
… “There is an increase in most food prices, especially cooking oil.” [XREF Indonesia]
Feeding the 72 million: Egypt’s grand wheat plan splits the industry. Middle East Eye
… “Farmers who don’t deliver wheat quota threatened with jail
… as price spike jeopardizes 270 million daily loaves”
Egypt deepens military ties with Sudan as Ethiopia moves forward with Nile dam. Al-Mon
… “held high level military talks recently…”
Kuwait mulls limiting expat’s stay to 5 years. GulfNews
… Foreign owners of properties and investors in Kuwait to be granted a 15 year maximum.
Libya tensions simmer in shadow of Ukraine war. France24
… UN mediators try to avoid a political crisis degenerating into new violence
Morocco fears severe water shortages amid worst drought in 40 years. Times of Israel
Sudan: The US dollar could soon cost 1,000 Sudanese pounds. Dabanga
… “simple industries might stop if depreciation = impossible to buy raw materials abroad”
… Number of people facing extreme hunger in Sudan predicted to 2x by Sep. Guardian
Wave of expulsions shakes Turkey’s tiny Protestant community. Al-Monitor
… “dozens of foreign missionaries forced to leave based on secret intelligence reports”
In Yemen’s civil war, decaying hospital on life support. Al-Monitor
… price of bread up 35% due to Ukraine war, says Oxfam. Middle East Monitor

East Africa (520m)

US focused on delivery of humanitarian aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray. Link
… Ethiopian government declares Tigray truce to let aid in. Guardian
… Tigray state says it is also committed to independent cessation of hostilities. AllAfrica
A drowning world: Kenya’s quiet slide underwater. Guardian
… Kenya’s great lakes are flooding, in a disaster that is displacing hundreds of thousands
Food price hikes in Kenya: adverse weather, rising input costs, more. Conversation
… big driver is global disruption stemming from Covid; further disrupted by Ukraine
Sporadic fighting in South Sudan threatens 2018 peace agreement. Africa News
Somalia at brink of famine, facing most severe drought in three decades. All Africa

West + Middle Africa (600m)

7k refugees cross from BurkinaF to Ivory Coast qs violence spreads. Video. VOA
How language plunged Cameroon into deadly conflict, with no end in sight. Conversation
… Conflicted rooted in colonization & two languages, French and English.
Nearly 600 civilians were killed in anti-jihadist fight in Mali in 2021. France24
… “impoverished nation of 21 million people, wracked by insurgency over the past decade”
7,000 Boko Haram & ISWAP fighters surrendered in NE Nigeria last week. Al Jazeera
… “onslaught targeting ISWAP, Boko Haram has continued to record significant success”
In Nigeria, Africa’s richest man opens huge fertilizer plant as food crisis looms. CNN
… “People are begging us to sell [fertilizer].”

South + Central Asia (2b)

The Smugglers’ Paradise of Afghanistan. NYT $
The pit stop store on the side of the road, beside the massive bomb crater. NYT $
Afgh’s last finance minister, now a DC Uber driver, ponders what went wrong. WaPo $
While the world watches Ukraine, Afghanistan goes full Taliban. FP $
… using detentions, repression, censorship and killings to tighten their grip on power.
How the war in Ukraine is affecting Afghanistan’s growing famine. NPR
… “the war … is ‘potentially apocalyptic’ for Afg. growing famine and collapsing economy”
Is Afghanistan a Republic of NGOs? “The one who feeds, commands.” VOA
… UN Afghani budget of $4.4bln is multiples of government’s total budget.
The world’s unhappiest country, even before the Taliban. Al Jazeera
How Afghanistan’s militant groups are evolving under Taliban rule. VOA
… “despite promises to sever ties with … groups … there is scant evidence of progress”

ISIS claims bombing of Peshawar, Pakistan mosque: 50+ dead, 100+ wounded. NYT $
… “one of the worst terrorist attacks in Pakistan in years”

Sri Lanka economic crisis: troops sent to fuel stations. Link
… foreign exchange crisis, currency devaluation

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

NKorea launches first ICBM test since 2017. CNN

Southeast Asia (700m)

As global palm oil rises, cooking oil stock runs low in Indonesia. CNA
Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple enjoys spiritual comeback as tourism recovers. Link
… prior to Covid-19, over 3 million people visited the temples yearly.

Americas+Europe+Pacific

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
As Mariupol is bombed and besieged, those trapped fight to survive. NYT $
Russian shelling has reduced Mariupol to ‘ashes of a dead land,’ Ukraine says. Guardian
As Russia stalls in Ukraine, dissent brews over Putin’s leadership. NYT $
As Russian troop deaths climb, morale becomes an issue, officials say. NYT $
… The US lost 7,000 marines in 36 days at Iwo Jima. Russia has lost more in Ukraine.
… Some estimates I’ve seen are of 40k Russian dead and wounded.

Escalation
Russia refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if faced with ‘existential threat.’ CNN
Is Russia getting ready to use chemical weapons in Ukraine? New Scientist
Russia says Polish plan to send peacekeepers to Ukr could lead to clash w/NATO. Reuters

Refugees
Europe struggles to meet mounting needs of fleeing millions: now 3.5 million. Reuters
UN says 6.5 million people are displaced *inside* Ukraine. Axios
US to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. NBC

International implications
Romania fears whatever happens to Ukraine, it will end up more vulnerable. Economist
War in Ukraine disrupts medical education in India. Inside Higher Ed
… interesting examination of Indian students going to Europe to study medicine

Hunger
How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will worsen global hunger. NewHum
Ukraine war threatens to cause a global food crisis. NYT $
… crucial portion of the world’s wheat, corn, barley trapped in Russia, Ukraine by war
… wheat prices up 21%, barley up 33%, fertilizers up 40%
War in Ukraine could lead to food riots in poor countries, warns WTO. Guardian
Cameroon blames war for wheat shortage: 40% increase in price of bread. VOA

New Data

Covid global case data

3/25: 477.3m cases, 6.1m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
Various UK airlines are removing the requirement for face masks on certain flights. CNN
Cambodia drops Covid testing requirements for visitors. Reuters
Kenya lifts remaining Covid restrictions. Reuters
Malaysia reopens borders, lift remaining Covid restrictions on businesses as of April 1. Link
Saudi Arabia resumes visa-on-arrival for US, UK, Schengen visa holders. Al Arabiya
Singapore drops all quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers. Reuters
S Korea drops quarantine for vaccinated; SE Asia tourist hubs drop restrictions. SCMP
… at the same time, SKor’s total cases top 10 million, or 20% of its population. Reuters

Other Data

Forbes: airfares are soaring this summer. Link
WFP: 44 million people in 38 countries are teetering on the edge of famine. WFP

Longer Articles

The Lindy Effect, with possible impact on movements. For certain non-perishable things, the expected lifespan increases according to the length of its current age. Or, “However far you are, you can probably double it to reach the destination.” Implication: if you’ve gotten 100 customers, you can probably get another 100 in the same way–but you likely can’t get to 2,000 doing what got you to 100. 2x is plausible, but 20x (or 10x) requires innovation (or time and luck). The actions that got you to your current level aren’t sufficient for the next order of magnitude. And for some, of course, 10X is impossible, due to market saturation. A Smart Bear

The deadly cyclone that changed the course of the Cold War: a 1970 storm killed half a million, became a flashpoint for political upheaval in Pakistan, and ultimately brought America and Russia to the brink of war. Wired

Book Notes

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

Tech & Futures

It’s a big universe: astronomers have charted 5,000 exoplanets. Link

Chip industry under threat with neon production set to fall in wake of Ukraine war. CNBC

Quotable

“Men fall in private long before they fall in public.” ~J. C. Ryle

“It would be a shame for God to want to do more and for you to settle for less.” ~@stevenfurtick

“I’m not suffering from anything that a good resurrection can’t fix.” ~D. A. Carson

“If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.” ~David Livingstone

“Idols are slave-traders disguised as abolitionists.” ~John Starke

“Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come.” ~C. S. Lewis

“One of the most destructive forces to our faith is procrastination.” ~@thalbig

“The things that we love tell us what we are.” ~Thomas Aquinas

“Safety is an idol that neuters our witness and contradicts kingdom.” ~Jon Huckins

“Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” ~Charles Spurgeon

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