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Mongolian Diplomacy - Stay Out of War With Russia and China

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

Yesterday, I talked about Crossing the Chinese/Mongolian Border by Land. I mentioned that I met a really interesting, intelligent, and world-traveled guy named Bat, and we had some good conversations.

I learned a lot about Mongolia from Bat. Here's some highlights:

Mining is one of the fastest growing sectors in Mongolia - some Australian companies have made huge investments into Mongolia the last year or two, and next year is projected to be the largest budget the government of Mongolia has ever had.

I asked Bat, "So what do you think the government is going to spend the new revenues on? Military, education, infrastructure, or...?"

WATER IN CRISIS - INDIA

On The Perfectly Flaky Hawk

With a diverse population that is three times the size of the United States but one-third the physical size, India has the second largest population in the world. According to the World Bank,India has taken significant steps to reduce povertybut the number of people who live in poverty is still highly disproportionate to the number of people who are middle-income, with a combined rate of over 52% of both rural and urban poor.

Although India has made improvements over the past decades to both theavailability and quality of municipal drinking watersystems, its large population has stressed planned water resources andrural areas are left out. In addition, rapid growth in India's urban areas has stretched government solutions, which have been compromised by over-privatization.

Regardless of improvements to drinking water, many other water sources are contaminated with both bio and chemical pollutants, and over21% of the country's diseases are water-related. Furthermore, only 33% of the country has access to traditional sanitation.

One concern is that India maylack overall long-term availability of replenishable water resources. While India's aquifers are currently associated with replenishing sources, the country is also a major grain producer with a great need for water to support the commodity. As with all countries with large agricultural output, excess water consumption for food production depletes the overall water table.

Many rural communities in India who are situated on the outskirts of urban sprawl also have little choice but to drill wells to access groundwater sources. However, anywater system adds to the overall depletion of water. There is no easy answer for India which must tap into water sources for food and human sustenance, but India's overall water availability is running dry.

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