Roundup

October 9, 2020

##New Events

##North Africa/Egypt-Sudan (266M) Starvation used as a weapon of war in S Sudan conflict. Link … food insecurity in W Bahr el Ghazal, Jonglei, C Equatoria … “intentionally deprived communities of critical resources”

##East Africa/Horn (520M) Eastern Sudan rocked by protests, calls for independence. Link … “historically marginalized tribe” [Beja] “leads unprecedented calls for a secession of Eastern Sudan after a controversial peace deal” Also, Sudan protests over shortages of bread and fuel and rising food prices. Link … “prices have doubled, some cases tripled… many eating only one meal a day” Uganda: thousands finally return to places of worship. Link Flooding hits 6 million people in East Africa. Link … # affected by seasonal flooding increased 5x in 4 years 2 million Somalis face acute food insecurity crisis. Link … “combined effects of widespread, severe flooding, Desert Locust infestation, Covid-19, cumulative impacts of previous shocks”… Djibouti (<2%C) building the largest free trade zone in Africa. Link … gateway for 90% of Ethiopia’s imports … $3.5-billion China-backed initiative

##West Africa/Nigeria-Sahel (457M) Senegal: “The pilgrimage must go on.” Link … pilgrims from across Senegal flock to holy city of Touba … … “festival that could draw millions” despite Covid concerns … West Africa’s largest religious gathering–the Magal … “pilgrims do not book hotel rooms–residents open up homes” How religion inspires the Nigerian diaspora to play a role in Africa’s development. Link In Togo, there is no place to hide. Link … Africa’s oldest single-family autocracy is tightening its grip with foreign made surveillance tools.

##West Asia/Saudi-Iran (303M) Emirates resumes flights to some European cities. Link

###ArmeniaVsAzerbaijan Rockets, cluster munitions rain down on civilians. Link Is N-K conflict a Christian-Muslim clash, or simply politics? Link Stereotypes, hatred drive Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Link Turkey strongly backing Azerbaijan. Link Presence of Syrian mercenaries in Azerbaijan. Link Iran warns war could escalate into regional conflict. Link … This NYT op/ed agrees, explores reasons. Link Karabakh’s critical supply line fights to stay open. Link Half of N-K population displaced by clashes. Link On the road to Karabakh: a report’s diary. Link Iran hits highest Covid death toll since July. Link … now at 475,000 cases and 27,000 deaths confirmed. … “just the confirmed numbers… likely numbers are higher…” This is perhaps one of the most fearsome videos of the Beirut blast I have seen. Really gives you an idea of the impact on the city and its people. Link Saudi eases restrictions for Umrah pilgrims. Link … first group of worshippers allowed into Grand Mosque … Long-read: “A threat from within”: Iraq & the rise of its militias. Link

##South-central Asia (2.1B) India seeks up to 500m Covid-19 vaccine doses by July. Link Outbreak spreads through rural areas. Link … refusals to be tested: “we can’t afford to quarantine” … infections rippling into every corner of the country … megacities have populous mostly on guard … rural India is resisting… no one wearing masks… no social distancing “Awaiting the migrant.” Link … a look at the travails of migrant workers in India … … AP seeing a “severe shortage of workers” Pakistan’s drug habit is endangering the region. Link … long-read reminder in Diplomat of the “Golden Crescent” Kyrgyzstan: “on edge of chaos”. Link … Police, protesters clash in post-election melee. Link … Anarchic power transition unfolds under shadow of violence. Link … as dawn breaks, protestors control government buildings. Link … 2 presidents have been overthrown in the past 15 years … PM Boronov resigns amid protests of vote-rigging. Link … parliament election results cancelled. Link … opposition groups make rival power grabs after toppling govt. Link … no clear leadership after days of unrest. Link

##East Asia (1.6B) “Chinese Christians deserve a better label than persecuted.” Link … an important and informative long-read from Brent Fulton in CT, exploring four different narratives often shared about the Chinese church, and how we need to move beyond these stereotypes. Phase 1 Study: China’s experimental vaccine appears safe. Link China forcing 500,000 Tibetans into labor camps. Link America closes immigration door to 91.9 million communists in China. Link Pew: Negative views of China soar in 14 (mostly Western) countries. Link … these trends could impact both recruitment & deployment … Chinese families postponing plans to send kids abroad to study. Link … 4 out of 5 affluent Chinese parents with children studying foreign curriculums, taking foreign examinations, say they have postponed plans to send kids abroad; … concerns mount among wealthy, middle-class mainland Chinese after US revoked 1,000 visas of graduate students. … continued trend impacting ministry to international students China ramps up a war of words over Taiwan. Link … and Economist asks if America would have the stomach for a fight. Link … “prospect of war remains remote, but…” … watching this trend carefully. incr propaganda could blunder into actual clashes. Japan to allow travel to 12 (largely East/SE Asian) countries. Link

##Southeast Asia (700M) Protests spread across Indonesia over jobs law. Link … in 60 locations spread from Aceh to Papua, over 1 million participating. Protests against Thai government, monarchy continue to escalate. Link Anti-govt groups make demands ahead of October 14th protest. Link Thailand Health Ministry wants to reduce foreign tourist mandatory quarantine period to 10 days for those arriving from ‘safe’ countries (#TravelBubble). Link Haven far from home: the Bosniaks of Malaysia. Link … interesting ethnography that explores the history of a diaspora Singapore’s Changi Airport suffers 35% drop in profits. Link … “has a ‘daunting’ forecast for the future of air transit”

##Others/West (1,125M) USA, graph: not much evidence of evangelical collapse in the last decade; in fact, some evidence of a small increase in size. @ryanburge Only 4 European countries are below crucial Covid level. Link … ‘alarm threshold is 7-d average of 20 cases per 100,000 people’ … (only 2 states and 2 islands are below that in the USA.) France: Paris will close bars, cafes for 2 weeks. Link … stemming a surge of covid cases in the capital …

#New Data

##Covid-19 … 10/9: 36.5m cases, 1.0m+ deaths … 10/1: 34.4m cases, 1.0m+ deaths … 9/25: 32.3m cases, 984k deaths … 9/11: 28.1m cases, 909k deaths … 9/4: 26.0m cases, 862k deaths … 8/28: 24.2m cases, 826k deaths Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT, CovidTracking.com

Africa-wide confirmed Covid cases near 1.5 million. Link

Head of emergencies at the WHO thinks roughly 10% of the world has been infected with coronavirus (20x confirmed case total). Link

##Other data UNODC Report: interlinkages between trafficking in persons and marriage. Link

#New Longreads PDF: Ten ways to make ten friends from unreached people groups. Link Viral effects are not network effects. Link … viral = existing customers bring new customers for free … network = each customer adds incremental value for all customers … most PR efforts on mission-related websites are viral, not network EMQ Oct/Dec 2020: Rethinking People Group Missiology. Link … member-only content, but many readers will be part of orgs with access. Summation of a many-month conversation (of which I was part). Op/Ed: Coronavirus church closures are not persecution. Link … from a writer who spent 20 years in intl religious freedom work No email should take more than 5 minutes to write. Link … (ideally, no more than 30 seconds.)

#Futuristics & Technology CommonPass app, the “answer to Covid-free air travel?” Link … beginning trials now. … digital health pass designed to allow travelers to carry their Covid-19 test status in a standardized, global format. Want to see what the detonation of a 50-megaton thermonuclear bomb looks like? Recently released, previously classified footage will show you. 40 minute video, the detonation is about 22:30. Link Long essay: the end of the American Internet. Link … 80 to 90% of Internet users are now outside the USA … more smartphone users in China than USA+W Europe Pew deep dive on Americans sourcing news from Youtube. Link Atlanta Falcons uses ‘disinfecting drones’ to sanitize the stadiums. Link Swarms of Azeri drones vs Armenian tanks & artillery. Link … a new iterative advance in warfare State of AI Report 2020. Link … deep, technical PPT. I haven’t gotten through it yet. Youtube’s plot to silence conspiracy theories. Link … “It turns out that human nature is awful, and the algorithms have figured this out, and that’s what drives engagement.” … new AI changes reduced watch time of ‘borderline content’ by 70%