June 11th, 2014
07:20 PM ET

What we're reading: 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.”


soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. banasy

    Aww the almighty dollar. We still have the advantage.

    June 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
    • banasy©

      I did not write this.

      June 12, 2014 at 12:20 am |
      • Zandie

        @banasy. Yes u did!

        June 12, 2014 at 1:11 am |
    • John Smith

      America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
      In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
      During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
      In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
      Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

      June 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  2. rupert

    My sentiments exactly.

    June 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    India's inhabitants will grow in prosperity as long as they remain willing to produce an honest day's work for an honest day's pay.
    I admire them.

    June 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
  4. George patton

    Let's all hope and pray that both Russia and China succeed in their effort. The right-wing thugs in Washington as well as those in Europe weld far too much power. These people are corrupt and essentially evil as evidenced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    June 12, 2014 at 12:31 am |
  5. George Patton

    I did not write this.

    June 12, 2014 at 1:12 am |
  6. mapmystudy

    Thank you for the interesting article. Overseas education gives you an incredible opportunity to get to know another culture first-hand. Cultural differences are not just limited to differences in language, food, appearances, and personal habits. In fact it includes much more than this because a person’s culture reflects his / her deep beliefs, perceptions, and values that influence his or her way of life.

    June 12, 2014 at 1:45 am |

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