Roundup #259

By Justin Long

Issue No. 258 – 16 July 2021

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1 The cease-fire is very fragile in Tigray, and aid access is stalled.
2 Taliban control 38% of people, 50% of districts; 200k+ displaced in Afgh. fighting.
3 Lots of protests & violence in many places: Cuba, Haiti, Sudan, South Africa.
4 Delta Covid surges into unvaccinated pockets, upending plans to open.
5 China’s Sinovac is widely distributed, but growing reports of poor effectiveness.
6 Nations, cities blocking the unvaccinated, and some w/vaccines viewed ineffective.


The last of Beyond’s summer Nuggets, “Being sent like Jesus,” focuses on the Great Commission. Jesus was sent to seek and save the lost. How do we do that today? He came to serve, not to be served. What are ways we follow his example? Join us Thursday, July 29, from 7pm to 8:30pm CDT. Register here

Over 79 million believers in 1,375+ movements: the latest DMM Dashboard is from November 2020 (Covid has unfortunately prevented many of the regular end-of-year updates), and can be found online here.


Northern Africa (266m)

“Christians’ situation in Egypt improves, though many still considered 2nd class.” CNA
… 22 Christian publishing houses participate in the Cairo book fair. Fides

10 years later, Protestants in Algeria get their occupied church back. Link

Hundreds in Khartoum, Sudan protested reforms that slashed subsidies on bread and fuel, calling for the fall of the regime. Al Jazeera

East Africa (520m)

Longer read: South Sudan: the church’s role in conflicts. Africa Report

Aid access to Tigray stalled despite the cease-fire. New Humanitarian
… Cease-fire is extremely fragile: PM vows to “repel attacks by enemies”. France24
… conflict heats up as Amhara region vows to attack Tigray forces. Reuters
Longread: how local guerrilla fighters routed Ethiopia’s powerful army. NYT
PM party wins Ethiopian vote in landslide (but 111 constitutencies didn’t vote). Bloomberg
“I came here to fight”: lots of rare footage and photos of Ethiopia’s Tigray. AP

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Senegal building vaccine plant: to produce 25m doses/mo by end of 2022. Link

Nigeria: more abductions, this time from Bethel Bible School. Link
… authorities ordered schools in the area closed, calling them “vulnerable.” Link

South Africa: violence, looting escalates as Zuma is jailed. Al Jazeera
… army mobilizes 25,000 troops, the biggest deployment since 1994. Link

Western Asia (303m)

Lebanon’s army needs $100 million for soldiers’ basic needs. CNBC
… “If the army collapses, Lebanon is lost.” [What does ‘lost’ mean? -Ed.]  

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghanistan: Taliban northern surge sends 5,000+ fleeing. AP
… 270,000 newly displaced this year, warns UNHCR. UN
… 38.9% of Afghanistan, >50% of districts now under Taliban control.
Taliban has taken over most of the revenue-generating customs routes:
… customs offices on the border with Iran; tensions rising between them. Link
… Pakistan border crossing, 2nd busiest, main connection to Pak. seaports. Link
“Resurgence raises terror fears from Moscow to China.” Bloomberg
… India is scrambling to get on Taliban’s good side. FP
“What happens if the Taliban wins in Afghanistan?” Vox Interview
The human cost of international exit could be disastrous, esp. for women. Guardian
… Fear & misery in Kunduz, where Taliban stalk the streets. NYT
… Intense 7-minute video report from Kunduz: camps, front lines, hospitals. BBC
… return to “dark days”: reimposes repressive laws on women. RFE
… “no smoking, no shaving”: Taliban restore rules in seized territory. DAWN
… also, “marry your daughters to the Taliban” and “no one leaves home at night”

Hunger sweeps India in Covid’s shadow as millions miss out on rations. Guardian

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

ChinaSource Summer 2021 focused on Student Ministry in China. PDF

Observers: China must plan for greater risks in Afghanistan, West Africa. SCMP
… Foreign Minister on tour of Central Asia to boost interests in the region. RFE
China’s Ministry of Culture & Tourism steps up control over networks, influencers. SCMP
Reminder: More than 1 million Uighurs in prison camps in Xinjiang. Economist
… More on Uighurs: “One by one, my friends were sent to the camps.” Atlantic
… US senate passes bill to ban Xinjiang imports. BBC
Some public places in China barring entry by the unvaccinated. SCMP

Hong Kong migrants seek fresh start in UK after crackdown. NYT
… time to update those diaspora strategies & people group lists …
… then again, could be lots of those migrants are Christians already …
Hong Kong exodus gathers pace as thousands vote with their feet. WPost

Japan warns of crisis over Taiwan, growing risks of US-China rivalry. Reuters
… in annual defense white paper …

China, North Korean leaders “vow to strengthen ties.” AP

Southeast Asia (700m)

Hundreds of Thai medical workers infected despite Sinovac vaccinations. Reuters
… lack of vaccine effectiveness trend could disrupt plans to open Thailand in the fall …
Disturbing report: Sinovac antibodies decline by half after 40 days. Bangkok Post
Malaysia to stop using Sinovac after current supply ends. Reuters
… Malaysian hospitals overwhelmed with Covid-19 spike. Straits Times

Persecution worsens for Christians in post-coup MyanmarCatholic Sun
From K-Pop Stan to keyboard warrior: the activists battling Myanmar’s junta. Link
Coup, Covid fueling ‘perfect storm’ in Myanmar, UN expert warns. Link
Mass murder of civilians in Sagaing Region amounts to ‘war crime’. RFA
Anti-regime activists’ wife, daughter get three-year prison sentences. Link

N America / W Europe / Pacific

Malta, 1st EU country to only allow fully vaccinated visitors. NYT
Cuba sees biggest protests for decades (thousands) as pandemic adds to woes. Reuters
UK: Church of England, facing decline, considers proposal for lay-led churches. CT
… “focus on young people… has to become a church of missionary disciples”


Covid global case data data

… 7/16: 188.5m (+2.8m) cases, 4.06m deaths
… 7/09: 185.7m (+3.0m) cases, 4.01m deaths
… 7/02: 182.7m (+2.6m) cases, 3.96m deaths
… 6/25: 180.1m (+2.6m) cases, 3.90m deaths
… 6/18: 177.5m (+2.6m) cases, 3.84m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

Regional/continental/global trends
China to provide 110m doses to Covax now, 0.5b by 2022. SCMP
How good is Sinovac’s protection against Delta? SCMP
EU doesn’t accept India-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccination for travelers. Link
Africa struggle: Namibia, Tunisia, Suriname have world’s highest Covid death rates. Link

Other new data

The Sustainable Development Goals report, 2021. PDF
State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2021. PDF


Longreads saved to Instapaper

“Time management won’t save you.” HBR
… (1) reduce volume of tasks, (2) replace decisions with principles, (3) use structure to minimize distractions …

The power of “The Chosen” is in showing spiritual transformation. [And it’s being used to start spiritual conversations in some parts of the world.] CT

An ABS study says those who regularly read the Bible experienced more stress in 2020, but also more hope. CT

Long Twitter thread from BBC on children left behind by Islamic State, now languishing in Syrian prison camps. Video, photos, stories. Link


Upstream: solve problems before they happen. Practical if limited intro to system thinking.
Fifty inventions that shaped the modern economy. Explores implications.
Pinpoint: how GPS is changing technology, culture and our minds. History, implications.

In the queue

Friends: Understanding the power of our most important relationships. By Dunbar.
Never saw it coming: why we are blind to worst case scenarios.
Wanting: why we copy our desires for others, and the implications


Tech & Futures

🙂 Scientists experimenting with a potential Covid-19 detecting breathalyzer. NYT

The top trends in tech: drawing most venture money & patent filings. McKinsey Digital

AI voice actors sound more human than ever–and they’re ready to hire. MIT-TR
Related: Descript app that does transcripts, also uses AIyour voice to edit podcasts.

Moscow company offers 2-week tattoo of QR code proving vaccination. Link
… QR code required to sit indoors at restaurants, cafes and bars …

India’s Internet law adds to fears over online speech, privacy. AP
… has replaced USA for ‘top global requester’ to Twitter …

Toward 2050

The growing risk of deadly heatwaves: India, 2041. Economist

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