JustinLong.org: The Weekly Roundup, 4/28

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2017, Issue No. 17, April 28
Data | LongReads | LifeHacksStartupsUPG Stories | Futures | Quotes

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New events

North Africa

Egypt: reforms food subsidy system by first kicking out the rich.
… almost 78% of Egyptians receive government subsidies.
Libya: warring sides reach diplomatic breakthrough in Rome. ‘has the potential’
Tunisia: Truth-telling renews a revolution’s promise, painfully
… ‘opened a Pandora’s box of emotions for Tunisians’

West Africa

The beauty of Ghana’s fervent faith
… ‘the West African country fast becoming the Christian center of the world’
Burkina Faso: Violent extremism taking root
… Al Qaeda seeks northern part as a stronghold
Gambia: OpEd: election is a sign democracy advancing in Africa.
Mali: State of emergency extended after jihadist attacks
Tuareg separatists, ‘desert jihadists’ control north
Nigeria: ‘awash with contraband’: 70% of trade with its neighbors go unrecorded
Faith, tradition, and birth control: overtones of religious tensions

East Africa/Horn:

Eritrea: The famine Eritrea doesn’t want anyone to know about
Ethiopia: enters seventh month of emergency rule. 669 killed in the unrest.
Displaced & neglected: Ethiopia’s desperate drought victims.
Somalia: Pirates again prowling off the coast. US watching, sees ties to famine.
Sudan: Inside a house of cards: analysis of succession
Sudan’s Deep State: a new report on insider corruption
… Report: US sanctions against Sudan may be lifted in July
S Sudan: Relief agencies pull their workers out of the Upper Nile.
… citing tensions between rebels and government forces, and the killing of 3 aid workers.

Central Asia

Young professionals quietly transforming Central Asia for Christ
Kyrgyzstan: Economic recovery and confronting corruption
Tajikistan: No books allowed in or out of the country without approval (RFE/RL)
Uzbekistan: Why Uzbekistan’s shifts on water politics matter: dropping previous vitriol

West Asia/Gulf

The Gulf States are turning to Asia in a big way; here’s why it matters.
Gulf states upbeat about Chinese inbound tourism growth.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia reverses cutbacks on worker benefits
… ‘because financial position improved’ but more likely ‘to placate an unhappy public’
Cell phones in hand, Saudi women challenge notions of male control
Syria: Meet an organ trafficker who preys on Syrian refugees.
Turkey: How a handwritten note gave Erdogan an uncheckable win
…  What’s next for the economy after the referendum.
… Foreign Affairs: ‘Turkey’s polarization will only deepen
Arrests more than 1,000 in massive purge of its police forces. 9,000 suspended.
  Yemen: Taiz, torn by conflict.

South Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban attack Mazar-i-Sharif army base, killing 163+ soldiers
… deadliest attack since 2001.
Bangladesh: Meth’s new frontiers: the Islamic marshlands of Bangladesh
… annual seizures of meth have gone up 80,000% in nine years.
… and, to build hundreds of mosques with [$1 billion] Saudi cash.
Bangladesh’s water crisis: a story of gender: the incursion of saltwater
Islamic romance novels set hearts aflutter in Bangladesh
… ‘as Bangladesh slides from moderate Islam… to a more conservative interpretation…’
Iran: Whisky galore: alcohol mules risk all to fuel illegal party scene
India: Kashmir shuts down social networks for a month.
Nepal: makes scant progress in rebuilding 2 years after quake.
Pakistan: braces for Supreme Court decision that could remove Prime Minister
… ‘could cause intense turmoil’

East Asia

China: launches its second aircraft carrier, projecting power further abroad.
Unregistered churches are driving a religious revolution (Atlantic)
In China, the ranks of the religious are growing (Ledger-Enquirer)
US students are losing interest in China studies.
Chinese ‘best and brightest’ students are leaving US universities, returning home?
A podcast on the history of pre-Jesuit Christianity in China (h/t Joann Pitmann).
Beijing’s migrants no longer welcome as city caps population at 23 million
… could affect CPM/DMM strategies
In China, rural rich get richer and poor get poorer.
‘Apartheid without the Racism’: how China keeps rural folks down: hukou system
Japan: As its population ages, quietly turns to immigration.
… also, robots and pensioners to the rescue.
N Korea: International pressure seems to be restraining Korea [analysts].
Who would take over in the event of ‘regime change’?
US quickly installing controversial THAAD system in South Korea
What war with North Korea would look like: 1 million dead, and that’s without nukes
… and, 25 million reasons the US hasn’t struck North Korea.

Southeast Asia

Indonesia: Jakarta election signals erosion of religious tolerance.
… ‘Victory marks a breakthrough for hard-liners in Indonesian politics.’
VP dismisses concerns about rising intolerance after Ahok defeat.
… Winners write histories.
Does the Quran forbid electing Christians?
After poll defeat, Jakarta’s Christian governor may escape jail.
Thailand: Does Thailand have too many tourists?
… and, Monks with Guns: why Buddhist monks are in arms against Islam.
Government tells Internet users to unfollow junta critics on social media, or else.

New Data

If you haven’t seen the Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity, check it out.
Infographic: how a warming plant drives human migration
The number of people who don’t believe in God in America might be higher
… probably over 10%, maybe around 26%, says one researcher. Others say, maybe not.
What personal space looks like around the world: how close is too close?

Longer reads

Johnson, Ian. The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao. New book.
… China’s religious resurgence is driving growth in Christianity worldwide.
… Note: Pew Research #s do not include any projections on Christian conversion in China.
The value of building something optimized on a metric the competition can’t measure.
… this speaks to why measuring % unevangelized, % unreached is hard
… also speaks to ‘secondary effects’ spawned by a desire to ‘game the system’
Global security firms in race along China’s Silk Road
… ‘One Belt One Road’ represents hundreds of billions of dollars, needs securing

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

What is the proper attitude of a movement catalyst as we become more fruitful in ministry?
How to become insanely well connected.

Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy

Latest issue of Mission Frontiers focuses on Networks
including a case study of a network impacting a high-caste people in Karnataka, India
The April issue of EMQ focuses on several partnership issues as well
… also, ‘Exploring the appropriate contextualization of Salat’
… and, ‘Don’t George Muller Me: a missionary’s plea for understanding’: a great exploration of issues
Secrets of Scaling: tough lessons learned. Mostly about team management. Good nuggets.
Why introverts make some of the best leaders.
Why scale may be the biggest threat facing today’s social networks.
… some of the challenges that face networks as they get bigger

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Doctors w/o Borders: Between towering ruins and detention centers: a look inside Libya
Photocollage: life in rural Kyrgyzstan, where east Issyk-Kul is still snowy.
Mosul, ‘Pearl of the North,’ fought over for centuries.


New Data: The Mobile Economy 2017 Report.
… and, the Growth of Digital Payment Ecosystems in China.
Defined: what a zero-day threat is: a vulnerability for which there is currently no fix.
Hackers cloning popular android apps to infect users with malware.
China’s WeChat is a censorship juggernaut.
Inside the ‘Stalkerware’ market, where ordinary people tap each other’s phones
Facebook is testing new news discovery options; another thing to adapt to.
While Twitter is planning to broadcast live video 24 hours a day.
And Instagram now has 700 million users. It took just 4 months to add 100 million.
… (Facebook Messenger has 1.2 billion.)
And New Amazon Echo Look camera combines with Alexa.
… Watches you dress, then judges your outfit and recommends changes. Seriously.
… Also: Amazon patented an automated on-demand clothing factory.
Google’s Project Owl is a three pronged attack on fake news & problematic content.
… and, planning ad-blocking feature in Chrome. Google as arbiter of truth?
Cash is going out of style. (Have I used cash this year? I can’t recall the last time…)
but there are perils.
Amazon third party sellers: a new cybercrime threat.


“We’re not fishing for men, we’re fascinated with nets.” ~Jim Haney

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

“There’s a thin line between religious thinking, which involves supplication, and magical thinking, which involves control.” ~Mark Allison

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his [exit strategy] depends upon his not understanding it!” ~Upton Sinclair

“We need the witness of Christians of other cultures to correct our correct culturally conditioned understanding of Scripture.” ~Lesslie Newbigin

“A futurist is somebody who helps people to think about the future, so they can make better decisions today.” ~Ross Dawson

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” ~Tony Blair

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” ~Mark Twain

“Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.” ~Unknown, h/t Micah Fries

“Beware, lest in attempting the grand, you overshoot the mark and fall into the grandiose.” ~Voltaire

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