Roundup 244

By Justin Long

Issue No. 244 – 9 April 2021

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New Observations (aka ‘The Blog’)

Many in the West seem to be anticipating ‘the pandemic is [nearly] over.’ But the risks of Covid in less-developed (and ‘less-reached’) places will almost certainly continue for the short-term future, and likely for the medium-term future as well. This will continue to significantly impact mission activity. Link

My estimate on the short- and medium-term future for Myanmar: absent a miracle, a downward spiral. Link

New Events

East Africa

In a bid to boost its profile, ISIS turns to Africa’s militants. NYT
… IS using attacks to project an image of strength …
… claims attacks in Mozambique, north Nigeria …

Mozambique: Palma retaken from militants. BBC
… BBC reporting on the ground – 2min video. Link

Ethiopia says Eritrean troops have begun withdrawing from Tigray. Reuters
‘Leave no Tigrayan’: in Ethiopia, an ethnicity is erased. AP
… ‘abuses still occurring’
Though ‘improved,’ UN says humanitarian situation in Tigray remains ‘dire.’ UN
… 2.5 million in rural Tigray ‘have not had access to essential services’ in 5 months.
Border clashes between Somali & Afar regions kill 100. Reuters
Egypt, Ethiopia tensions escalate as Nile Dam talks falter. WSJ
… Egypt says ‘all options are open’ …

Northern Africa

Sudan: fighting in West Darfur triggers rising death toll, 100k IDPs. UN
… What’s behind the rising violence in Darfur? Political issues. New Humanitarian

Libya PM hails Covid vaccine delivery: 100k doses of Russian vaccine arrive. Reuters

Tarhuna: Libya’s City of Ghosts. BBC
… elections are to be held in 9 months, but already there are doubts …

Middle Africa

‘Staggering’ scale of acute hunger in DR Congo. UN

Western Africa

Biden’s strategy in the Sahel looks a lot like Trump’s. FP
… long-ish read, aside from politics, explores the tangle of local situations in some depth.

Benin: protests erupt during election campaigns. AFP

Over the past five years, Ivory Coast has struggled. Link
… terrorist attacks, political violence, flooding, now Covid-19 …

Mali faces political, security, human rights, humanitarian challenges. UN
… deteriorating security situation in central, northern Mali …
… some large towns ‘live under constant threat from armed groups’

Growing insecurity is threatening Nigeria’s future: jihadist violence in NE, banditry in NW, piracy in Niger Delta, pastoralist-farmer clashes, and Igbo secessionist movement in SE. New Humanitarian

Senegal: violent protests show the fragility of its long-stable democracy. WPost

Western Asia

Saudi Arabia: only ‘immunized’ pilgrims allowed to return to Mecca. Al Jazeera

Yemen’s Taiz – the ‘city of snipers.’ BBC

US removing some forces from the Gulf, ‘realigning away from the MidEast’ – WSJ
… ‘may be redeployed to focus on China and Russia’ …

Idlib, Syria: millions displaced during the decade-long war are impoverished, insecure, and crowded into an area controlled by a rebel group once linked to Al Qaeda. NYT

South & Central Asia

Massive spike of Covid-cases in India – Link
… 93k/day, highest since the beginning of the pandemic
… Maharashtra will impose a weekend lockdown, night curfew on 110 million. Link
… India: world’s biggest vaccine maker ‘very stressed’ – NPR

India: a fierce election tests Modi’s campaign to remake India – NYT
… can anyone stop the movement to make India into a Hindu-first nation? …

Afghanistan’s vaccine rollout plans cross conflict front lines. New Humanitarian
… ‘unreached’: ‘forgotten… never had testing… doubt we will have access to the vaccine’

Afghan Kuchi nomads mourn a vanishing way of life. RFE

‘Every year we dig mass graves’: the slaughter of Pakistan’s Hazara. Guardian

Pakistan’s women’s rights activists threatened with blasphemy accusations. DW
… ‘all the videos and posters have been fabricated or doctored’ …

Russia opens flights to Tajiks, but seats are scarce and prices high. Link
… ‘thousands of families in Tajikistan face severe food shortages after Russia closed borders due to Covid’

East Asia

China carrier group exercising near Taiwan, says drills will become regular. Reuters
… this + reorientation of US forces to have more focus on China = continued rise in temps

Global brands find it hard to untangle themselves from Xinjiang’s cotton. NYT
BBC journalist pushed out of China over reporting on Xinjiang. BBC
… “never forget it is China’s citizens who face the greatest risks for telling the truth”

Philippines: Thousands of families displaced due to violent clashes Mindanao. Diplomat
… renewal of conflict has shaken the Bangasmoro Autonomous Region …

South-eastern Asia

Chinese dams unleash Mekong river on Laos during ‘dry’ season. Link
… too much water at the wrong time of the year is just as bad as not enough at other times.

Cambodia shuts Angkor Wat site to tourists for 2 weeks to curb coronavirus outbreak. Link

Myanmar coup
1. Analysis: ‘Myanmar on the brink.’ Diplomat
… ‘Myanmar is on the precipice of civil war.’ FP
2. Internet connectivity shut off across the country, with no timeline for its return. Link
… see also longer article on the subject, “Myanmar’s internet suppression.” Reuters
3. Myanmar’s coup has riven the Buddhist monkhood: some support, others resist. Link
4. Russia says Myanmar sanctions could lead to civil war. Reuters
5. A secret network is helping 100s of Myanmar police flee to India. Reuters
6. Minorities in borderlands face fresh fear since coup. AP
7. ‘The last fight’: the Kachin army prepares for war. Frontier
8. The deadly job of journalists covering Mandalay’s protests. Frontier


… 4/9: 134.1m cases, 2.90m deaths
… 4/2: 129.2m cases, 2.82m deaths
… 3/25: 124.9m cases, 2.74m deaths
… 3/19: 121.5m cases, 2.68m deaths
… 3/12: 118.7m cases, 2.63m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYTCovidTracking

2nd Easter celebrated with Covid restrictions. UPI
Brazil’s Covid death toll passes 4,000/day. Guardian
… hospitals overwhelmed. 2/3rd USA pop, but probably end up with more deaths.
… ‘it’s a biological Fukushima’ – Reuters

Other new reports
World food prices continue to soar, hitting nearly 7-year high. Al Jazeera


Focus on your first 10 systems, not just your first 10 hires. First Round
… how many actions within agencies are treated as ‘one-offs’ or ‘known systems’? …

‘I miss school’: 800m children still not fully black in classes. Guardian
… prolonged closure puts many at risk of never returning to the classroom
… children worldwide being pushed into abuse situations: marriage to labor


A ‘post-Covid’ return to vacation travel: spiking demand = spiking prices.
… ‘Get ready for travel prices to surge, experts say’ – WPost
… Google searches for resorts, hotels ‘highest in a decade’ – Fortune
… Uber is spending $250 million to boost drivers in USA, expecting of surge. Bloomberg

Facebook is testing page labels to provide additional context – Link
… like “Political Leader” or “Satire Page” or “Fan Page”

ProtonMail explains why it thinks it’s better than Gmail. Link
… I still use a Gmail address for most things, because most days its fine …
… but I’m reachable at (And also on Signal.)

At least 1,800 agencies have been testing use of facial-recognition tool in the USA. Link

Russia may have found a new way to censor the Internet: slowing traffic to a crawl. Wired

USA Air Force Base begin using robot dogs in base security role. Diplomat

Thanks to the 35!

The Roundup is perhaps the most visible thing I do in mission research. If you give, you’ll support this weekly publication as well as the rest of the work I do documenting movements and engagement gaps, which helps missionaries and mission agencies know where to send workers.  (Thanks to the 35 so far in 2021, and the 67 fans in 2020!) Click here to donate.

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