Roundup 295

Pray with us

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. The war has again appeared to be largely stalled, with many concerned about the potential for explosive escalation in an effort to achieve war aims. Some articles suggest certain events (attacks inside Russia, and other border countries) are small examples of this escalation. Poland and others are being stressed by hosting Ukrainian refugees.

2. Many countries are feeling the sting of hunger and economic disaster. This is amplified by the Russian-Ukrainian war, as well as climate issues (heat waves, droughts, etc). We pray for the church to find ways to help those who are starving, many of whom are among the least-reached of the unreached.

3. We are thankful for the rapid multiplication of followers of Jesus in spite of the wars, rumors of wars, disasters, plagues, and the like that are spreading over the Earth. Movements now contain over 114 million believers–headed toward 2% of the world.

New Events

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

No place for converts: Iran’s persecuted Christians struggle to keep their faith. RFE
Sudan: 115k displaced by West Darfur violence. AllAfrica
Landmines, other war hazards killing people in Libya. HRW
… the leftover detritus of war …
Inflation in Turkey soars to eye-popping 70% in April. NBC
… “eat away at earnings, put even basic necessities out of reach of many households”
… Russian invasion = surge in gas, oil, grain $ = challenge for import-reliant Turkey
Turkey’s plan to draw refugees back to Syria: build homes for 1 million. NYT $
… building schools, hospitals, homes, more in northern Syria …
Abu Dhabi removes Covid capacity restrictions, masks remain. Al-Monitor
Thousands sick as latest severe sandstorm sweeps Iraq. Al-Monitor
In Yemen’s Taiz, hope & disappointment one month into ceasefire. NewHum

East Africa (520m)

UNICEF: Ethiopian drought -> “dramatic” increase in child marriage. Hiiraan Online
Oromia region reports 1.3m cattle deaths in 8 drought-stricken zones. AllAfrica
Tigray’s health system “total collapsed,” say health workers. AllAfrica
… “acute shortages, 10s of 1000s w/chronic haven’t been treated in months”

4th consecutive failed rainy season dragging Somalia into starvation. Hiiraan Online
… 11 years ago, famine killed 250k people, half children …
… “famine” = 20% of households with complete lack of food. Not quite there yet…

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Since 2016, prices of basic necessities in Nigeria have skyrocketed. Al Jazeera
“As hunger in central Sahel reaches record levels…” ReliefWeb
Ethnic clashes in Cameroon aren’t about religion. Foreign Policy
… long read on the conflict in the northwest, which has simmered a century

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghan refugees face hardship in Iran. AP
97% of Afghan population now facing food shortages. Ariana News
With spate of attacks, Islamic State begins bloody new chapter in Afgh. Straits Times
The drug trade now flourishing in Afghanistan: Meth. WaPo $

A visit to conservative Kashan unveils Iran’s gradual social change. FT $
… “not long ago, most women in the desert city would have worn black chador.”
… “not any more… change is everywhere…”

India: 46-deg. heatwave making power crisis worse. Straits Times
… hours long blackouts, street protests, outages in half of states …
… “the whole summer will be a test”
… 2 out of 3 Indian homes face power outages amid heat waves. Quartz
“We are living in hell”: Pakistan & India suffer extreme spring heatwaves. Guardian
… temperatures in Balochistan hit almost 50C (122F)
… heat causing northern glaciers to melt, thousands at risk of flood bursts
Heat wave threatens India’s wheat output, export plans. CNA
Heatwave is “testing the limits of human survivability.” CNN
… How hot is too hot for the human body? MIT
How can India cope with the heat waves? Economist $
India has begun deporting Rohingyas to Myanmar. Foreign Policy

Analysis: Pakistan’s food security dilemma. Straits Times
Balochistan: rising violence by separatists adds to Pakistan’s lethal instability. NYT $
Sri Lankan tea exports drop to lowest level in 23 years. CNA
… biggest export commodity, bungled ban on fertiliser imports to save foreign $
In depth: Sri Lankan tea pickers’ dreams shattered by economic crisis. Straits Times

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China’s doomed fight against demographic decline. Foreign Affairs $
… last week: Amid low birth rate worries, China increases pressure on women. Diplomat $

China’s southern megacity Guangzhou rushes to quell outbreak. Straits Times
Dongxing: “small border city grapples with post-lockdown survival.” Sixth Tone
… “persistent lockdown-like situations disrupting daily life, livelihood”
More than 12m in Shanghai can leave home as Covid-19 risk ebbs. CNA
… “number in sealed, controlled zones has fallen”
Under lockdown in China. NYT Interactive
Beijing sees more Covid closures as anger grows in Shanghai. Japan Times
… “nothing makes sense here”
Flying into Beijing is tougher than ever as China ramps up Covid measures. CNN
… “foreigners can enter only under very limited circumstances”
… “very difficult for American journalists to get a visa due to deteriorating relations”
Fearful of getting cut off (as Russia has been), China pushes for self-reliance. WSJ $

Japan to allow tourist groups as early as this month. Straits Times

NKor halts rail crossings with China, where Covid is on the rise. CNA
… “worsened economic problems, threatened food supplies to millions”
Foreign residents in S Korea to rise to 4.3% of population by 2040. Korea Herald

Southeast Asia (700m)

Southeast Asia travel catching up at last as Covid curbs ease. Straits Times
… “high oil prices could make tickets more expensive”
… “limited number of flights as airlines haven’t restored all services”
After 2 year ban, Indonesian mudik mass migration in full swing. CNA
… “first time in years to spend Idul Fitri with her family”
… huge traffic jams as 10s of millions travel. Straits Times
… expect all holidays over next year or two to have big spikes in travel (CNY?)
Analysis: violence in the south of Thailand is not going to change soon. Link
Cambodia’s strongman, Hun Sen, plans his succession. Economist $


New Zealand drops most of its Covid border restrictions. NBC

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
Blasts, bombs, drones: shadow war on the Russian side of the border. RFE
… “largely unheralded by Kyiv, downplayed by Russia [perhaps embarrassed]”
Russia committed 65% of ground forces, 25% are now combat ineffective. @JackDetsch
Death in Ukraine’s Kharkiv is everywhere, rarely explained. AP
… “the outskirts of Kharkiv have the feel of an open-air morgue”
Meet the Afghan refugees fighting with Ukraine against Russia. Middle East Eye
“Rumors are swirling of generals preparing for a coup in Moscow.” CityAM

New Data

Covid global case data

4/29: 512.2m cases, 6.2m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
World Health Organization: Nearly 15 million deaths associated with Covid. NBC
… most of the fatalities were in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the USA …

Other data

FSIN Report: Global Food Crises 2022. PDF

Longer Articles

Kevin Kelly: “103 bits of advice I wish I had known.” Several nuggets in here.

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022 (updated this week). Also, the books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

#EverythingCanBeAutomated (nearly):
Robot chef learns to ‘taste as you go’, build taste maps of dishes, adjust. Science Daily
Autonomous robot performs laparoscopic surgery with minimal surgeon assist. Link
How Amazon trained its robots to sort packages. Impact Lab
John Deere is slowly becoming one of the most import AI companies. ImpactLab
… “not just farmer assistance. The farmer can leave the cab and operate from an app.”
OTOH: “Robot vacuums still haven’t floored me.” Wired

Drone systems to safely land flights of medical supplies. Drone Life
… emergency medical shipments & other medical uses is a big use case for drones
Turkish-made Bayraktar drones used by Ukraine “destroy” Russian patrol boats. Link
… war, of course, being another big use case: drones distracted ship, missiles hit it
Small drones are giving Ukraine an unprecedented edge. Wired
Ukraine using commercial spy satellites to hunt Russian tanks. WSJ
… “access to intelligence once the domain of only a few governments”
New tech lets drones fly autonomously through unstructured environments. Link
… think of swarms of drones flying autonomously through forests …

Launcher demo’d full thrust on a 3D-printed rocket engine. TechCrunch
… “aiming for small, efficient, low-cost to orbit and quick turnaround”

“This portable device can turn saltwater into drinking water.” Fast Company
… developed by MIT researchers, prototype can process 1 liter per hour …

Apple+Google+Microsoft working on password-free logins using smartphones. Link

Prototype floating cities: Busan, S Korea chosen to host one. Link
… interconnected platforms accommodate community of 12,000, potential for 100k …


“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~Tara Velis

“You can’t declare a 500 piece puzzle a 100 piece hurt because you want to.” ~Neill Mims on complexity

“In church today we are diligently praying for an infusion of cash when we desperately need and infilling of the Spirit.” ~Mac Brunson

“God is under no compulsion to make your dreams come true, but He will spare no expense to see that His will is accomplished in your life.” ~Richard Blackaby

“Quit praying for revival in the nation when you won’t even befriend your unchurched neighbor next door.” ~Ed Stetzer

“Assumptions limit the way we look at problems and they’re disastrous to the creative process.” ~Todd Henry

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover them.” ~Galileo

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