Read the Weekly Roundup: February 9

By Justin D. Long, ed.

Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis

New events

North-West Africa
Unrest in Tunisia: another turning point in a legacy of economic injustice
… a long read on the roots of the protests
… and, Can Tunisia’s economy be saved?

North Africa / Warring States
Men with Guns still rule in Libya
… 10s of thousands to return to Tawergha meant to go home last week; blocked
300 child soldiers freed in South Sudan: 2nd largest release since the war started
… Over 19,000 children recruited as fighters (all sides total)
… 2,000 released over past few years; over 10% under age of 13
recount trauma of abduction after mass release (Reuters)
… ‘They told me to kill my mother. I had no other choice.’ (AP)
Children being sold in South Sudan ‘for the price of 20 cows’
… abductions rising sharply.

What fuel, bread, and water reveal about how Egypt is mismanaged
… addictions to subsidies that make Egyptians poorer

Let us not wait for the government’: Nigerian leads cleanup in world’s most polluted city
… if you want a short-term trip… !!
Nigeria’s “Cattle colony” problem
… since January 1, more than 80 killed in clashes between herdsmen, farmers

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa
Climate-resilient ‘super beans’ boost food rations for refugees in Uganda
… non-GMO, fast-growing, high-yield helps S Sudanese refugees
Kenya’s about-face: fear for democracy as dissent is muzzled
… TV stations shuttered, opposition under arrest after rival’s “inauguration”
… CFR: Kenya enters dangerous territory
… ‘progress… new constitution… merely papered over deep ethnic rivalries…’
Camels being killed crossing new Chinese-built Addis-Djibouti rail line
… compensation being offered for camel losses, and then …
… profit-maximizing camel-owners chivvy the whole herd onto the track …
Child brides in Uganda: the reality. Video (HuffPost)
… ‘I was 14 and he was 22’
How Djibouti became China’s Gateway to Africa (Spiegel, long read)
… ‘true feeling of ambition here… searching for a better life…’

Middle Africa / Lakes
Foreign Affairs: Congo’s slide into chaos: how a state fails.

Southern Africa
Cape Town faces Day Zero
… in 10 weeks engineers will turn off water to a million homes.
… ‘the army is on standby’

Central Asia / Caucasus
Deradicalization in Kazakhstan: it’s about the economy
… ‘some of the best weapons… simple as a good job… regular talk with the imam’
… so what is the role of microenterprise and the ekklesia?
… and, K targets beard, pants in the fight against “destructive religious movements”
Tajikistan, most Muslim country in Central Asia, struggles to reign in Islam
converts 2,000 mosques into public facilities: ensure greater control over religion

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf
Extreme suffering in Syria as government steps up bombing campaigns
… 80 killed in govt air and artillery strikes on suburbs of Damascus, Idlib
… ‘It’s a kill box. There’s nowhere left to hide…’: 110+ civilians dead
… ‘one of the bloodiest weeks… drastically escalates…’
On N Syria front line, US and Turkey head into tense face-off
… in Manbij, armed conflict between American & Turkish forces is possible
Yemen: now two rebellions against the government
… one by Houthis in the north, and a second by southern secessionists

Iranian women removing their headscarves have triggered a power struggle
… ‘protests have exposed fault lines between leaders’
Hijab protests expose Iran’s core divide: long read
… Research: People want the choice on the hijab – but the government won’t listen
… I’m not convinced this is a nation-cracking sort of thing, but its an interesting trend
UK: Cardiff baptisms for religious asylum seekers fleeing Iran
… ‘fears he would be killed for converting to Christianity’
… Patrick Johnstone to me: ‘amazing #s of Iranians, Afghanis being baptized in Europe’
… More: ’80% of all baptisms in our area are expatriates, mostly Iranians, Afghanis.’

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto
Pakistan: Long-suffering Pashtuns find their voice
… protest movement by 5,000, esp. youth, against Pakistani abuse
In Afghanistan’s unwinnable war, what’s the best loss to hope for?
… after 16 years, stopped asking what victory looks like
… ‘Afghanistan’s future only partly salvageable’
… what will these scenarios mean for Christianity in the region …

The Ayodhya verdict can shake the very foundations of India
… a Muslim vs Hindu question over ownership of the land where a mosque now stands
Severe droughts in India have affected 100s of millions of people
… and now has consequences for the global hummus market

Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet
15 Days of Prayer for the Tibetan Buddhist world, Feb 16-Mar 1
… to coincide with Tibetan New Year. Prayer guide available; hit reply
What’s delaying Nepal’s tourism boom?
… regional airports and connectivity.

Maldives / Sri Lanka
As Maldives crisis deepens, President blames the other guys
… President vs. Supreme Court, others.
At the center of a battle for [influence] between China and India
… ‘travel companies continue to send tourists… happy to turn a blind eye…’
Lois Parshley’s “engrossing, long-form story” on the slide from paradise to basket case

Bengali / Bangladesh
Violent protests erupt as opposition leader is jailed for corruption
… ‘charge is politically motivated’ … ‘violence in major cities’

A muddle over population policy
… more babies needed, not fewer: 2-child policy may be too restrictive
Uighur Muslims, under pressure at home and abroad (Sinica Podcast)
China’s Surveillance State: Henan, Xinjiang, and Beyond
facial recognition-enabled headsets by railway security ahead of Spring Festival
Spreading out from Xinjiang to other spots throughout China
What it’s like to live in a surveillance state
… What can be learned about living out one’s faith when one is being watched all the time?
How WeChat came to rule China: 902 million daily users
… the multipurpose messaging app is becoming the nation’s ID system
… ‘subsidized by government… officials censor, monitor users…’
All Hong Kong kindergartens, primary schools closed due to flu outbreak
China-Vatican deal on the appointment of bishops ready for signing, says Reuters
… ‘historic breakthrough in relations’
Deal alarms many Catholics in China (W Post)
Christians in Zhejiang undergoing harsh persecution
… Cross demolition campaign, surveillance cameras monitoring activities
Taiwan: 7 killed, 67 missing after quake rocks tourist area

Southeast Asia
The slow burning insurgency in Thailand’s Deep South (Diplomat)
… while the last few years have seen improvements, recent attacks underscore fragility
… and, Don’t expect democracy in Thailand any time soon
… repeated election delays are the product of a fierce, ongoing power struggle
Rohingya girls targeted by child traffickers at Bangladesh border crossings
… children make up 60% of the population at refugee camps
… often targeted for trafficking and rape
Video: Debt-ridden Laos living on borrowed money
… another video: China rail project to connect Laos to Asia
… will run from Yunnan to Laos to Thailand. More connections = more gospel chances.

Notable Europe / Americas
USA: Millennials maybe not so bad off: 1 in 6 have $100,000 socked away
The Camp is run by bad people’: an asylum seeker’s life in Sicily

New global data

Africa’s Cities: Opening Doors to the World. World Bank: PDF.
Foresight Africa 2018 chapter extract: Urban Africa: “avoiding the perfect storm”
… 40% of subsaharan Africa pop in an urban context: to double over next 25 years
… and, by then, a plurality of the world’s Christians will live there
East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape.
… using satellite imagery, etc. to measure urban expansion across East Asia

Longer reads & Resources

The Price of Conflict is too high
… hunger at crisis levels in 8 countries: Yemen, S Sudan, Syria worst
… (obviously not too high for the powers that be, or the conflict would stop.)
The Future of War
… conflicts between nations exceedingly rare and improbable
… but intrastate/civil wars are numerous and have proven to be long-lasting
… this rise in internal violence is affecting/will affect missions
African countries take first major step toward cheaper continental flights
… Single African Air Transport Market initiative by the African Union
… enhanced connectivity, cheaper air flight tickets
… will cheaper flights lead to more cross-pollination of gospel workers etc?
New Honor-Shame webinar curriculum, running April 5-May 10
… ‘a learning journey about Honor, Shame and the Gospel’
… curriculum divided into three 6-week units

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

Superconnectors: 3 steps to becoming a networking genius
… art of selectivity, the power of association, habitual generosity
… links to a book coming out the end of February
7 ways Google Flights beats other travel search sites
… I use Google Flights a lot to hunt for travel possibilities when planning
can predict airline delays before the airlines do, using historical data & ML
… but I have found it still best to check my traditional carrier(s) before booking

Startups, Strategy, Books

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics
… I’m deep into this book by Richard Thaler (who wrote “Nudge”), on the development of the science of “behavioral economics.” It’s an easily accessible read that delves into the history of the science of such thinkers as Kahneman (“Thinking, Fast and Slow”) and others. Helpful when considering the “irrational behavior” of people—why people do the things they do—especially in the context of mobilization and advocacy.

Books I’m sampling and am interested in
Thinking in Bets: making smarter decisions when you don’t have all the facts
The Storytelling Edge: how to transform your business, stop screaming into the void, and make people love you
Superconnectors: stop networking and start building business relationships that matter coming out 2/27

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

The human forklifts of Kolkata
… migrant workers from Bihar carry heavy loads of vegetables, keep Kolay market working
Enduring abductions, torture, and tangled asylum laws
… Eritrean refugees’ stories still go unheard.
… Over 400,000 Eritreans (10% of population) have fled their home country over decade
Inside Hong Kong’s insanely cramped and illegal “coffin homes”
… photographer documents grim living conditions in Hong Kong: 6’x2.5’, $250/mo
Life drains from Little Africa as China dream fades for its fortune seekers
… economic shifts and xenophobia causes an exodus of African migrants to China
The changing face of Bhutan, in pictures
… and, Photos from a slowly modernizing Bhutan
5 reasons you must visit Kyrgyzstan
The woven art of Laos


They are watching you—and everything else on the planet
… NatGeo: “Is privacy becoming just a memory?”
Saudi Arabia plans to shift to solar power, renewables
11 new people join social media every second (and other impressive stats)
Chinese Internet report (in Mandarin)
… 772 million users, 753 million mobile Internet users
… growth apparently unsuppressed by censorship
Some 70 companies are building drone defense systems
Amazing amateur footage of simultaneous Falcon Heavy Booster landings
… they don’t discard the booster rockets, they land them to reuse them.

Max Roser: “The majority of the world population is offline; in 2015, only 44% used the Internet. The history of the Internet is still at a very early stage.”


“The only person who finishes their to-do list every day is God.” @MattSmethurst

“Sometimes the best decisions are the most costly ones.” ~Daniel Im

“The measure of love is to love without measure.” ~St. Augustine

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is the pain of discipline weighs ounces while the pain of regret weighs tons.” ~Jim Rohn

“If you want to recognize a mature person, look for someone who is helping someone else.” ~E. Stanley Jones

“If you can’t decide what to give your time and attention to, others will.” ~Kent Ingle

“I don’t envy those who have never known any pain, physical or spiritual because I strongly suspect that the capacity for pain and the capacity for joy are equal. Only those who have suffered are able to rejoice.” ~Madeline L’Engle

Justin Long, a missionary researcher serving with Beyond (a Missio Nexus member) provides the Weekly Roundup. Sign up to get it every week or visit his daily blog: Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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