Roundup 292

Pray with us

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Several analysts have expressed a concern that the war may be getting ready to take a somewhat more limited, concentrated, and brutal turn as Russia concentrates its efforts in the east.

2. Numerous articles in this issue continue to highlight the spread of hunger and poverty, especially amongst the poor. This has been accelerated by a ‘perfect storm’ of local instability, climate-change influenced droughts, and the economic and resource ripples from the war in Ukraine. Pray for the church to be a wise blessing in the midst of this.

3. Ramadan is under way. 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. Also note the Global Day of Prayer for Turkey below.

New Events

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

“I didn’t have a childhood”: the emotional scars of Iran’s child brides. RFE
… “32% increase in girls marrying between ages of 10-14 in Q1 2021 vs 2020”
April 18th is the Global Day of Prayer for Turkey. PrayForTurkey.com
… on anniversary of 2007 Malatya martyrs …
Turkey’s top court rules compulsory religion courses violate rights. Al-Monitor
… but will the government heed the ruling? …
Jerusalem’s Christian churches resist Israeli settlers. Al-Monitor
… “settling in the Christian quarter, threatening fragile religious balance”
Cautious optimism that truce will hold in Yemen. Jerusalem Post
… Saudi Crown Prince meets with council, pledges aid. Al-Arabiya
Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara. Al-Monitor
… offers limited self-government, but with Rabat keeping sovereignty.

East Africa (520m)

UN: Somalia faces pockets of famine amid soaring food prices. Reuters
… warns 350k children could die due to starvation without food aid … Hiraan
East, Horn prep for worst drought in more than 40 years. NBC
… “rains will likely fail for 4th consecutive year, severe risk for 29 million in region”

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Attacks on villages in Plateau State, Nigeria: 154+ killed. Al Jazeera

South + Central Asia (2b)

Is the Taliban’s halt of poppy production too good to be true? Diplomat
… move will likely ruin the small farmers who grow and harvest much of the crop
… “could cost the government $1.8 to $2.7 billion in income”
… “30% of Tajik economy dependent on the Afghan drug trade”
… Afghan farmers fear for their livelihoods. RFE
Outlook for Afghan economy ‘dire’ as household incomes shrink. Ariana

India records its hottest March since 1901, average max hitting 33 C. Straits Times
Hindu-Muslim clashes in Gujarat prompt police to ban gatherings. Reuters
Muslims see wave of attacks, hate speech during Ram Navmi celebrations. Al Jazeera
The unstoppable rise of Hindu nationalism. Foreign Affairs
… Worthwhile long read on the history of the RSS & BJP …
… “it seems likely the RSS will succeed in imposing its vision on dissenters…”
… “the result will be oppression on an enormous scale…”
Why people get away with hate speech in India. BBC
… “India has enough laws in place to check hate speech, but they have to be enforced”
… “Most of the time, they don’t want to act…”

Kazakhstan will temporarily restrict exports of wheat, wheat flour. RFE
… bad news for other Central Asian countries, who rely on K for 90% of their wheat …

In Pakistan’s coastal city of Karachi, with 20 million, the graves are full. CNA
Former PM Khan attempts to mobilize supporters, force new election. Straits Times

Sri Lanka: drugs running out, surgeries cancelled, health system buckles. CNA

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

Longread: Generation Snitch. Foreign Policy
… “haven’t heard of Google, Youtube, Facebook… no interest in learning about platforms”
… “given tools to bypass the Great Firewall, nearly half didn’t bother to use them”
… “Not just censors doing the censoring: netizens taken to reporting on each other”
… “students keeping record of professors’ ideological views, flagging perceived disloyalty”
… “China’s GenZ grew up relatively rich… national pride, patriotism…
… “no need to hear a different narrative…”
… (implications for spread of Christianity, the church?)

Churches in Shanghai step up during the latest lockdowns. CT
Shanghai begins to ease 2-week shutdown. Diplomat
… about 6.6 million can go outdoors, but must stay in their own neighborhoods …
But Covid-19 cases hit another high, and Xi reiterates need for curbs. CNA
People “living like livestock” in Shanghai’s Covid centers. Quartz
14 of the most widely-shared and credible videos of the lockdown. CDT

3 North Koreans provide a glimpse of NKor’s worsening economic situation. Diplomat
… “reports people are starving to death even within the major cities”
To prevent escapes, NKorea confiscates passports of officials sent abroad. RFA
… “legions of workers sent to factors, construction sites to earn foreign cash for the state”
… “workers give lion’s share of salaries to NKorean handlers”
… “most workers have passports confiscated; now even handlers do”

Southeast Asia (700m)

Malaysia looks to hire 180,000 migrant workers over next 6 weeks. Straits Times
Myanmar: troops burn 100+ villages in heartland, seek to crush resistance. CNA
Singapore introduces Vaccinated Travel Framework. The Hindu
… vaccinated + pre-departure test = no on-arrival tests or quarantine
Southeast Asia tourism industry begins uneven recovery. Straits Times
… Singapore & Philippines doing well; Thailand at 24% of pre-pandemic levels
Thailand to scrap Covid-19 PCR test for visitors in bid to boost tourism. Straits Times
… appears to be for vaccinated travelers, and replaced with antigen test …
Indonesia up for largest ever Hair Raya – 85m returning to home towns. Straits Times

Americas+Europe+Pacific

USA: The great church property flip. Guardian
… churches are trying to figure out what to do with their property as they lose members.
… the “death tsunami of the church” as the death rate of the Boomers increases.

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
Russia’s looming offensive in eastern Ukraine might be different & decisive. NBC
… residents are counting the dead, clearing mines around Kyiv
… Mariupol’s dead estimated at 5,000. Al-Arabiya
… war looks to enter a potentially more brutal, focused phase in the east, around Donbas
In photos (AFP): 50 days of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Moscow Times
War in Ukraine threatens to devastate many poor countries. RFE
… “supercharging a crisis of food, energy, and finance in poorer countries”

New Data

Covid global case data

4/15: 496.3m cases, 6.1m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
No plans for US to change rule of testing negative within a day of flying to USA. WaPo
… but travelers & industry groups are eager to shake the rule as other countries drop theirs.

Other data

The 10 largest refugee crises since the 1960s: by population and % of pop. Pew

Longer Articles

Don’t expect instant gratification from your ‘quiet time.’ CT
… “being able to wait is distinctly Christian.” An attitude of “have a quiet time, have a good day” can form in us the attribute of judging our quiet time by ‘instant gratification’ results. “Spending time in the Word can become transactional instead of formational.”

On April 14, Jains will celebrate the founding of their faith. A short RNS article on Jainism.

Book Notes

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

Tech & Futures

How mobile phones are changing war in Ukraine. Digital Trends
… geolocation, targeting, unencrypted chats, mobile phone video footage, more …
Deep-learning algorithm could detect earthquakes by filtering out city noise. MIT
Amazon aims to deliver 1 million packages by drones in 2025. Khaama
It’s not just you–SMS spam is a nightmare right now. Digital Trends
… over 16 billion spam text messages were sent during March …
Tiny satellites change the way we explore our planet and beyond. Impact Lab
… for about $200k you can launch your own satellite …

Quotable

“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ now a days: Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.” ~C.S. Lewis

“Stories are as important as numbers, because stories tell us what the numbers mean.” ~Jim Haney

“You can work without praying, but it is a bad plan; but you cannot pray in earnest without working. Do not be so busy with work for Christ that you have no strength left for praying.” –Hudson Taylor

“If you have a God powerful enough to be mad at because of evil, then you have a God great enough to have reasons that you can’t fully get.” ~Tim Keller

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