India’s urban challenge

By Fareed Zakaria
“In 1951, there were only five cities in India with a population above 1 million and just 41 above a meagre 100,000,” writes David Pilling in the Financial Times. “At that time, most of India’s 360m people lived in 560,000 villages. Now there are at least 53 cities, or ‘urban agglomerations,’ in the term used by demographers, with a population above 1 million and three above 10 million. By 2031, six cities – Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad – will have 10m-30m inhabitants each. Today, cities with such unfamiliar names as Kozhikode, Vijayawada and Jamshedpur have joined the likes of Philadelphia and Barcelona in the million-plus club. India’s population, now 1.2 billion, is expected to peak at 1.6 billion in 2050.”
“The really interesting developments are happening outside the biggest cities altogether.”

“Russia and China are working on a powerful weapon to stand up to the West. This isn’t a new rocket system or a cyber-espionage satellite – the two nations have launched a frontal attack on Western financial might to achieve equal power on the markets,” writes Holger Zschäpitz in Die Welt.
“Until now, the two countries had been powerless against Western countries on this front. From the leading currency (dollar) and global monetary transactions of Visa and Mastercard to the all-powerful rating agencies, the financial markets tick entirely to Western time. Countering those markets is part and parcel of becoming political and military superpowers. So Russia and China plan to change the status quo by forming their own rating agency.”

“A civil war in Iraq will intensify unless the Iraqi prime minister, the beneficiary of so much U.S. aid (and more is on its way) does more to embrace Iraqi’s Sunni population,” writes Richard Norton-Taylor in The Guardian. “Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city, in effect the Sunni capital of Iraq. Isis rebels are operating freely across the Iraqi and Syrian borders, fighting the Maliki government in Baghdad and the Assad government in Damascus…”
“…The next test is Afghanistan. Despite the huge amounts of money poured into that country, by Britain as well as the US, there is little evidence that Afghan forces will be up to the job of protecting the government once all foreign forces give up their combat role at the end of this year.”

“[I]s de-extinction a real possibility? The answer is yes,” writes David Biello in the Scientific American. “On January 6, 2000, a falling tree killed the last bucardo, a wild Iberian ibex, which is a goatlike animal. Her name was Celia. On July 30, 2003, Celia’s clone was born. To make the clone scientists removed the nucleus of a cell from Celia intact and inserted it into the unfertilized egg cell of another kind of ibex. They then transferred the resulting embryo to the womb of a living goat. Nearly a year later they delivered the clone by cutting her from her mother.”
“Although she lived for a scant seven minutes due to lung defects, Celia’s clone proved that not only is de-extinction real, “it has already happened,” in the words of environmentalist Stewart Brand.”

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