By Justin D. Long, ed.
Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis
Tunisia: More than 600 arrested, dozens hurt in fresh unrest
… clashes in several parts of country, angry over austerity measures
… army deployed, demonstrations continue despite crackdown threat
… NYT: “You can’t survive anymore”: Tunisia protests rising prices and taxes
… Foreign Affairs: Tunisia, a success story? Troubles still rattling…
North Africa / Warring States
Sudan: Student killed, opposition leader detained as bread protests grip country
… protests over rising bread prices, a staple food for many
World Watch Report shows Egypt climbing ranks of persecutors
… ‘face unprecedented persecution, report says’
… (not unprecedented ever, but perhaps in recent years, in Egypt)
“Water War” escalates between Egypt and Sudan.
Western Africa / Lake Chad
Rival army factions clash in Ivory Coast’s second city.
Gunmen kill 13 in restive southern Casamance region of Senegal.
Gunmen kill 14 churchgoers after services in Nigeria
… coordinated attack on Christians at two locations
Buhari blames communal violence on population growth
… the ‘clamor for land’: set to become world’s third most populous nation
Nigerian migrants welcomed home from Libya.
… jobs are another story.
Domestic abuse:‘we were brought up to think suffering this violence is ok’
… patchy data, but probably close to a third of women suffer violence
Four West African nations launch joint operation against Boko Haram
… in Borno.
Horn of Africa / East Africa / Ethiopia
Somaliland peacefully elects and swears in another president.
Middle Africa / Lakes
30,000 displaced by fighting in CAR, north of Paoua.
… close to border with Chad.
Central Asia / Caucasus
US hits Pakistan, Iran, 3 Central Asian nations for religious freedom violations
… Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan ‘countries of particular concern’
NatGeo: On the ancient Silk Road, a walk shadowed by a mystery.
Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf
Eastern Ghouta, Syria: the man-made disaster in eastern Damascus
… govt advancing into Idlib, last remaining rebel stronghold.
Women over 25 can now visit Saudi Arabia without a chaperone.
… new tourist visa rules to boost tourism sector, religious tourism
… Riyadh tourism events attracted over 200,000 visitors in 2017
Intends to extend post-coup state of emergency by another 3 months.
Turks up in arms over religious green light for 9-year-old brides.
… huge public outrage forces top Islamic authority to step back from endorsement
1/6 Launches waves of arrests as regime bids to quell protests.
… more than 1,000 arrested.
OpEd: ‘Iran is not near a precipice, but vast changes are afoot’
… good long read on some of the drivers of the protests
OpEd: What the Iran protests are not
… ‘until/unless urban middle class and poor join in common cause…’
… Me: and unless the Revolutionary Guards aid or at least sit it out
How millions of Iranians are evading the Internet censors.
Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto
How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan.
… ‘the world’s first narco-state’ (maybe not first, but certainly a big one)
11 killed in attack on Methodist church in Quetta, Pakistan.
… 50 seriously injured in early December bombing.
India lower house approves bill banning instant divorce.
… months after Supreme Court ruled Muslim practice unconstitutional.
Southern India / Maldives / Sri Lanka
Gujurat: Bed, breakfast and a fat bank balance
… some developing a business via Airbnb that rivals traditional farming for income #BAM
India extends hand to Apple, others by easing rules on foreign firms
… relaxing rules governing foreign investment in industries
Bengali / Bangladesh
Aid groups estimate 48,000 births in Rohingya camps this year.
Chinese authorities demolish well known evangelical megachurch
… Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, Shanxi, a congregation of over 50,000.
More international students going to China.
… as opposed to going to the West or the United States.
Africa is changing China as much as vice versa
… ‘new form of globalization: Africans in China… truly globally connected businesses’
A visa-free zone welcomes your wallet, but maybe not your beard
… just about anyone can cross from Kazakhstan to Xinjiang
The People’s Republic of the Disappeared
… documents the experiences of Chinese activists
… placed into ‘residential surveillance at a designated location’
China work permits: are you an A, B, or C Tier talent?
… China unveils new visa program to attract ‘high end’ foreigners
… Encourage the top, regulate the middle, discourage the bottom
… “Most already employed in China with a work permit have no reason to worry”
Inside China’s vast new experiment in social ranking
… cover story at Wired magazine.
Long before video, Japanese fought suicide in the “sea of trees”
… Aokigahara Forest has a bleak reputation as one of Japan’s top suicide destinations
… persistent suicide problem: Japan has one of the highest rates of developed countries
North to send Olympians to South.
… KGS NightWatch analysis says the deal was done before Kim ever publicly proposed it.
Inquiry on crimes against humanity in North Korean political prisons.
… this is a fairly graphic report on conditions in the prisons.
‘Should you worry about a nuclear war with North Korea? Not really.’
… pre-emptive wars rarely happen, NKor/SKor/USA good at avoiding miscalculation
Malaysia: Mahathir Mohamad, 92, will run in election as head of opposition alliance
… after putting aside decade-old feud with Anwar Ibrahim.
… The Diplomat: Malaysia’s long history of election rigging.
Lao Christians detained for “breaking rules” on Christmas celebrations.
… ‘regulations designed to restrict Christian practice in the Phin district’
Notable Europe / Americas
5 Mexican states get highest US ‘do not travel’ warning
… on same level as Syria, Yemen and Somalia
… Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero: hot spots of drug cartel activity
Pew: New estimates show US Muslim population continues to grow
… from 2.35m in 2007 to 3.45m in 2017.
… less numerous now than Jews, but growing faster, become 2nd largest pop by 2040
Pew: Meditation is common across many religious groups in the U.S.
… 40% of Americans say they meditate (some form, not necessarily Buddhist)
How California’s megachurches changed Christian culture.
… In the US, certainly. Wonder about the world?
New global data
Internal communications market report
… ‘every stat you could want on mobile, TV, broadband, radio, post, etc.’
UK youth spend a third of leisure time on devices
Patients undergoing surgery in Africa are twice as likely to die following the surgery
… as elsewhere in the world.
UNICEF: The most dangerous places for children in 2017.
Piracy, armed robbery against ships falls to a two-decade low.
World Bank: Beyond Scarcity: Water Security in the Middle East & North Africa
… downloadable report, print book, infographic, statistics
WEF: The world’s most visited cities
… most of these are solid majority non-Christian.
Longer reads & Resources
Frontiers is offering a livestream intro to Islam and the Qu’ran.
… 4x on Wednesday, January 17.
Team Expansion has a new prayer guide for the Somali
China Source has a new 2018 online prayer calendar for China
The first 30 Daze: practical encouragement for living abroad intentionally
… new resource from makers of TradeCraft, which I’m reading to review – excellent so far
Check out the whole issue of Mission Frontiers in January, focused on movements
… including “The Brutal Facts” by yours truly.
Video: Africa’s key security challenges in 2018 (BBC).
Bill Gates: despite the headlines, the world is getting better.
Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules
Great short little video on proactive dashboards, and how to set them up.
… ok, yes, I know, there’s a little bit of language, but this is still a great video.
… yes, it’s a business thing. But there’s a ton of application in the mission world.
Fantastic Longread: Here’s what makes mentorship work
… First Round studied 100 mentor-mentee matches.
… Four keys to keep mentorships from going sideways
… Questions mentors/mentees should ask about the relationship at the start
… Ground rules for meetings
… “10 Commandments”
Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy
The Amazon machine
… or, why Jeff Bezos is worth more than Bill Gates
… the infinite scalability of common systems and platforms and 2-pizza teams.
UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories
More than 3,000 Yazidis still missing after collapse of IS self-styled caliphate
Ethiopia: Pilgrimage to 12th-century iconic churches.
Snow in the Sahara.
Saudi’s national camel festival.
Livestreaming country life is turning some Chinese farmers into celebrities
Photos: A new silk road: investing billions in pathways to Europe, Central Asia, Middle East
Facebook overhauls news feed to focus on what friends and family share
… over next few weeks, people will notice fewer viral videos and news articles
… will impact all organizations and news media that public stories in Facebook
‘The basic grossness of humans’
… content moderators review the dark side of the Internet, and don’t escape unscathed.
Processor flaw exposes 20 years of devices to new attack
… but the attack must be run locally. If you don’t trust something, don’t put it on your machine.
… make sure your machines are patched.
50 million Google images can give a clue as to how people in places vote.
… able to accurately predict income, race, education and voting patterns at Zip+Precinct level
Uber’s secret tool for locking equipment in foreign offices to shield from police raids
… routinely used ‘Ripley’ to thwart police raids in foreign countries
Gene Editing 2.0 (the bigger badder Crispr) is coming soon.
… Boston University gears up to research Ebola
… Made in China: new and potentially lifesaving drugs
Former refugee is shaking up the $441 billion remittances industry.
China to build $2 billion AI research park in Beijing
How a decade of the iPhone changed global kidnapping
Military robots getting smaller, more capable: soon will travel in swarms
“Talent hits a target that no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” ~Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher
“Leading change is the most important skill any leader will ever master. If you can’t lead change well, your organization will eventually die.” ~Troy Jones
“To those who prefer to preach a Christian life that is free from pain I can only say, ‘Please check the biblical record.’” ~David Pope
“Whatever anyone’s done to me, or to anyone else, I stand just as guilty. People have lied to me, but I’ve lied too. People have been unfaithful to me, but I’ve been unfaithful too. People have hurt me, and I’ve hurt them. I get angry toward murderers, and then here comes Jesus, telling me if I’ve ever hated someone – and I have – I am the murderer’s moral equal. No one likes to hear this. We want to think people are worse than us. It’s one of our favorite pastimes.” ~Brant Hansen
“Jesus measured maturity by a person’s obedience, not knowledge.” ~Steve Moore