Read the Weekly Roundup: May 18

By Justin D. Long, ed.

Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis

Don’t Miss

30 days of Prayer for the Muslim world has launched. The official website is here, with daily prayer guides and videos. Print and PDF guides are also available.

My blog posts

A simple recruiting/mobilization interview – Link

News & Events

Migrant crisis emerging in Sahara desert on Algeria-Niger border – Link

Sudan fuel shortage is making water, food scarce & pricey during Ramadan – Link

Nigeria’s stressed-out middle class is trying to leave in droves, destination: Canada – Link

Rwanda is 95% Christian, so why is it closing thousands of churches? CT

South Africa: How it delayed its water-shortage disaster, at least until next year – Link

Uzbekistan issued a decree aimed at completely ending forced labor in the country – RFE

Yemen was poor before, but ‘the war just finished us’ – PBS

Iran: conversion can be a crime getting 10 years imprisonment – Crux

Iraq: first vote since the war – NYT
… a “Shia firebrand seems to have won” but “may not be able to form a govt” – Economist

Afghanistan: Heavy fighting between the govt, Taliban in Ghazni, elsewhere – Reuters

India: BJP wins Karnataka – AP
… ‘poll victory marred by questions over who has the right to form a government’
… BJP invited to form government in Karnataka – Link

India declares a rare cease-fire in Kashmir for Ramadan – NYT

China to target the religious activities of foreigners practiced on Chinese soil – RFA
… “further tighten regulation of public religious worship in a bid to prevent ‘hostile foreign forces’ from infiltrating…’
… “foreigners currently barred from preaching or teaching… nor out they mentor or train Chinese religious staff and believers”
… “government is actually signaling that it now intends to fully implement existing rules, rather than bringing in new restrictions.”

China: Henan suppression is systematic and planned – UCA
… “program initially formulated in May 2015 has seen a widespread attack on Christians in recent months”
… “2009 Christian population of Henan was 2.4 million, of which 0.3 million were Catholics”

China trying to “Sinify” Islam among Hui – Link
… Islamic domes, Arabic signs pulled down; no new “Arab style” mosques
… part of the trend of giving Chinese characteristics to religion

China: visiting officials occupy homes in Muslim region – HRW
… “Becoming Family” campaign intensifies repression in Xinjiang

“Thank the party!” China tries to brainwash Muslims in camps – AP

What really happens in China’s ‘re-education’ camps – NYT
… “What does it take to intern 0.5 million members of one ethnic group in just one year?”

“When the police come knocking: a guide for churches” – ChinaSource

Rising Chinese tourism: up to over 130m per year, and growing – Economist

China is leveraging debt-traps to gain control of strategic ports, oil in Africa – Axios

North Korea threatens to pull out of nuclear talks – Link
… Not the first time it’s backtracked on denuclearization – Timeline
… Analysts: probably when the air clears from recent remarks, talks will resume.

Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim released, pardoned, ready to re-enter political life – NYT
… “Everything you need to know about a political earthquake” – NYT
… “Malaysia’s chance to clean up” – Economist

Myanmar: UNHCHR ‘deeply concerned’ over escalation in Kachin, Shan states – link
… over 100,000 civilians displaced, many trapped in the midst of active fighting
… also: “A road back to war in Myanmar”: kills hope for peace – Asia Times

Indonesia: three churches in Surabaya bombed – CTReuters

4-year prison sentence for Indonesian pastor who evangelized taxi driver – Link

Leaked report warns Cambodia’s biggest dam could ‘literally kill’ Mekong river – Link

Why US Muslims fast during Ramadan – it’s not about the food – Link
… opinion: it’s about loneliness and identity.
… Or: “Like many young Muslims, I fake fasting during Ramadan” – Vice

Atheist churches: the elusive phenomenon of churches without God – Economist

Raw Data / Resources / Collections

New 2018 World Urbanization Prospects – Link
… 55% of the world’s population resides in urban areas
… “rural pop… grown slowly… expected to reach its peak in a few years… begin to decline”
… 3 countries account for 35% of the growth in urban population: India, China, Nigeria
… half of the world’s urban dwellers reside in settlements with < 0.5m inhabitants
… 1 in 8 live in 33 megacities with 10+ million inhabitants (by 2030, 43 megacities)

2018 Global Report on Internal Displacement – Link

2018 Fragile States Index – Link


Infographic: Global Christianity, a look at the status of Christianity in 2018 – Link
… from CSGC, based on World Christian Database data

China’s “Social Credit System” isn’t what it seems—so far. Link
… “It’s not a single system, not highly automated, and not all about politics.”

Chinese mothers still looking to superstition as well as science – Link

Arora, Tehmina. Religious identity, nationalism and violence: restoring the fractured identity landscape of South Asia – Link
… causes of violence and ways Christians to respond.

Many Americans aren’t poor, but neither are they ‘middle class’ – Link
… part of worldwide trend: people move out of absolute poverty, but are actually just moving “up one step”
… worth bearing in mind in terms of fundraising & development

a16z Podcast: Network Effects, Origin Stories and the Evolution of Tech – Link
… Brian Arthur, Marc Andreessen, Sonal Chokshi. 1 hour.
… I haven’t listened to this yet, but it’s high on my list of “ASAP” based on who’s on the podcast and my respect for their insights. Thoughts for movements likely here.

Africa’s desperate youth are getting high on opioids and anything they can get their hands on – Link

Blogs & Opinions

Miao: China’s last cave dwellers fight to keep their underground homes – NYT

Wolof: Senegalese cinema does not exist – Link
… Wolof-centered television may be a beacon of hope for Senegal’s waning cinema culture
… is there a ministry outreach possibility here for creatives?

Japanese: one of the largest Japanese communities is in Dusseldorf, Germany – NYT
… “Little Tokyo on the Rhine”

Future, Tech

In India, Facebook’s WhatsApp plays central role in elections – NYT
… and is a “prime vector” for dangerous misinformation.

No sleeping in class: Chinese high school installs cameras to monitor student facial expressions – SupChina

Saildrones – Link

The Robotics Industry in China: world’s largest industrial robot maker – Link

China’s Tencent is nearly comparable to Facebook: income, profit, users – Link

“Voice squatting attack” on Alexa, Google Home assistants – Link
… register voice assistant apps triggering on “similar phrases”

India uses facial-recognition technology to reunite missing children with families – Link

Want something to transcribe audio recordings?
… we have found Amazon Transcribe service to be phenomenally useful, and cheap.


“Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Anything that is mentionable is manageable. It is the things we won’t talk about that destroy us.” ~Charles Siburt

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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