As World Turns More Slowly, We Face Earthquake Boom, Scientists Warn

More powerful earthquakes could rock the globe in 2018 because of infinitesimal changes in the speed of the Earth’s rotation, scientists warn.

It seems contradictory, but a minuscule slowing of the Earth’s rotation over years, which can extend the length of a day by a millisecond or more, appears to be linked to an increase in major quakes. 

Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana say that historical data since 1900 clearly reveal a “strong” link between major global earthquake activity and a slight slowing of the Earth’s rotation for five or six years. That has occurred approximately every 32 years. If that pattern continues, the number of powerful quakes in the coming year could triple, according to the researchers.

“On five occasions in the past century, a 25 [to] 30 percent increase in annual numbers of  earthquakes [of a magnitude 7.0 or greater] has coincided with a slowing in the mean rotation velocity of the earth,” the scientists noted in a research abstract. They presented their findings recently at a meeting of the Geological Society of America.

“Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes,” Bilham warned in an interview with The Observer. “We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.”

The researchers don’t understand precisely the dynamics that may explain what’s happening when the Earth slows. As the Earth’s rotation slows, the diameter of the equator shrinks, essentially “rumpling” the tectonic plates nearby and increasing the likelihood of a major earthquake where the plates connect, Bilham explained on the BBC radio program “Science in Action.” 

Historically, most earthquake upticks linked to a slower planet rotation occurred near the equator in the West and East Indies, according to the scientists. Since 1900, more than 80 percent of all major quakes on the eastern Caribbean plate boundary, including the 2010 Haiti quake, have occurred five years following a “maximum deceleration” of the Earth’s rotation, according to Bilham and Bendick.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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FIFA announce star-studded World Cup final draw for Kremlin ceremony

Laurent Blanc, Gordon Banks, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan, Diego Maradona and Carles Puyol comprise the star-studded helpers at the event, representing World Cup winning nations. They will join Nikita Simonyan, the Soviet footballing legend who was earlier announced as the representative of host nation Russia.

The eight will decide the fate of the 32 participating teams in next year’s football showpiece, which is the first to be held in Russia, and will share the stage with presenters Gary Lineker, the former England international, and Russian TV journalist Maria Komandnaya.

Just seven months remain until the tournament, which will be held from June 14 to July 15 at 12 host venues across 11 host cities. The draw is the final major FIFA event before the tournament kicks off.

Argentine great Maradona will be reunited with a familiar foe in Lineker. The two former Barcelona stars played against each other in a quarter-final match between their respective nations at the Mexico ‘86 tournament, now most famous for the ‘Hand of God,’ which saw Maradona brazenly punch the ball over ‘keeper Peter Shilton to open the scoring.

That match ended 2-1 to Argentina, courtesy of a further Maradona goal, this time a wondrous solo effort beginning inside his own half. Lineker netted a late consolation for the ‘Three Lions.’ Maradona went on to lead ‘La Albiceleste’ to World Cup glory in Mexico, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final, and Lineker claimed the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer.

Only Simonyan and Uruguay’s Diego Forlan are the only draw assistants not to have won the tournament. Forlan was instrumental in Uruguay’s run to the 2014 semi-finals, which earned him the Golden Ball trophy as the best player in Brazil. Spartak Moscow great Simonyan, 91, had his finest hour with the national side at the 1958 Olympic Games, where the Soviet team won gold.

Brazil legend Cafu, who captained his side to World Cup 2002 success in Japan and South Korea, will reprise his assistant role of four years ago before the World Cup in his home country.

“The Final Draw is a moment when the whole planet joins in enthusiasm and expectation, so it makes me happy to be a part of that once again,” said the former full-back, who appeared in three finals – a joint record he shares with compatriot Pele.

“I was fortunate enough to come to Russia several times over the course of this World Cup cycle and I am quite certain that the country will deliver yet another fantastic event in Moscow.”

Carles Puyol, Spain’s victorious captain in 2010, wrote on social media: “I’ve been part of many great teams throughout my career, but this one is simply from another world. It’s an honour to share the stage with these FIFA Legends and be there to help decide the groups for the Russia 2018.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “It is a great line-up and I am delighted to have FIFA legends from all of the former World Cup winning countries represented in the Final Draw show.”

Infantino was one to heap praise on Russia for their hosting of the 2017 Confederations Cup last summer, which is a dress rehearsal tournament for the World Cup.

READ MORE: ‘We heard about hooligans & racism, but no incidents, all ran smoothly’ – FIFA chief Infantino

“[Before the tournament], we heard about a lot of problems: that no one would care, that the teams don’t want to come, they don’t want to play. We heard about violence, hooligans, incidents, racism – we had nothing, we had no incidents, everything ran smoothly,” he said at a press conference after the Confed Cup final.

“If this is what a problematic tournament looks like, then I hope there are many problematic tournaments, because it went very well. We can expect same warm welcome next year. This is what it is about – enjoying football,” he added.

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MAD Architects build mountain village in UNESCO World Heritage Site

They call it “a new type of village landscape: one where architecture becomes nature, and nature dissolves into architecture.”

I have long been mad for MAD Architects, who made their name outside of China with the shapely Absolute condos they built in Mississauga, Ontario but have been working everywhere since. They recently completed Huangshan Mountain Village in Huangshan National Park in China. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, up there with the Great Barrier Reef — a site of “superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.” It also has cultural value and is a natural habitat.

Mount Huangshan Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO/CC BY 3.0

UNESCO world heritage sites usually have to be preserved intact or risk losing their designation. So how did an apartment complex, as beautiful as it is, come to be placed in it? According to MAD, via ArchDaily,

Huangshan Mountain Village from water© Fernando Guerra via Archdaily

MAD’s scheme is part of a larger tourism masterplan for Huangshan Taiping Lake. While providing the conveniences of modern living, the design affirms the significance of this culturally important mountain range. Composed in deference to the local topography, each of the buildings are diverse in height and appearance, and have been conceived to ensure that the original mountain levels are maintained. Organized in a link configuration across the southern slope of Taiping Lake, the dynamic relationship that is created among the ten buildings establishes a new type of village landscape: one where architecture becomes nature, and nature dissolves into architecture.

Huangshan Mountain Village from water© Fernando Guerra via Archdaily

UNESCO discusses that master plan, noting that “objectives of this plan are to balance conservation of the property with tourism promotion, to ensure the safeguarding of the scenic area within a framework of sustainable development for the local community.” They also note that “the pressure of visitors is the most obvious factor affecting the property. Mount Huangshan is one of the most popular scenic landscapes in China, with annual visitation at 2.74 million and increasing at 8.96% per annum. Visitor numbers need to be stabilised.”

Huangshan Mountain Village from above© Shu He via Archdaily

Ma Yansong of MAD describes his intentions:

The impression we have of Taiping Lake in Huangshan is vague: each visit to this place yields different views, different impressions. It is a bit mysterious, like ancient Shanshui landscape paintings that are never based on realism, but rather, the imagination. This inexplicable feeling is always poetic; it is obscure and indistinct. This is the basic idea: we hope that residents will not just look at the scenery, but see themselves in relation to this environment, attention that is brought inward. In observing oneself, one perhaps begins to notice a different self than the one present in the city.

Huangshan Mountain Village in trees© Laurian Ghinitoiu via Archdaily

They call it “a new type of vertical living that, while architecturally complementing the surrounding forest, also enhances the levels of comfort and well-being of its inhabitants, establishing a synergy between humans, nature, and the local culture.”

man on balcony in village© Laurian Ghinitoiu via Archdaily

It is, like all of MAD’s work, beautiful and imaginative and does appear to grow out of the landscape. I find it hard to understand how this meets the terms of the master plan as described by UNESCO, building that are essentially second homes in the country, or what makes it the sustainable development that UNESCO demands. But it is lovely to look at.

Lots more photos at Archdaily.

Ma Yansong© Ma Yansong in Beijing/ Lloyd Alter

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‘Robots are not taking over the world’: UN panel meets to define ‘killer robot’ threat (VIDEO)

The event, held in Geneva, marked the first formal meeting of government experts in lethal autonomous weapons systems with a total of 86 countries taking part. The meeting was chaired by India’s Ambassador Amandeep Gill, who said the group discussed creating a legally binding code of conduct or technology review process for future weapons, AP reports.

The group, which is part of the UN’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, focused on defining exactly what killer robots are, and how much human interaction is involved. In theory, fully autonomous computer-controlled weapons don’t yet exist, so crafting such a definition presents a challenge.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots group spoke at the five day event, and warned of the dangers posed by ‘killer robots.’

It presented an unnerving video showing what could happen if autonomous weapons were used against governments, university students and by terrorists. The campaign says 22 countries are in favor of a ban on such weapons, and wants to prevent humans being removed from targeting and attack decisions.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I have news for you: the robots are not taking over the world. Humans are still in charge,” Gill said at the event.

The US said it was “premature” to define what killer robots are,arguing in written comments that autonomous weapons could “reduce the likelihood of inadvertently striking civilians.”

READ MORE: ‘AI may replace humans’ & become new form of life – Stephen Hawking

Prominent figures like SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have been vocal in their warnings of the dangers posed by artificial intelligence; mainly the threat that the machines could become too powerful.

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The perfect pedestrian: How to make the world safe for Motocracy

We have talked so many times about those campaigns to make people who walk wear bright clothing, even carry flashlights and flags, so that drivers of cars can see them. In the UK there have been a number of proposals to make hi-viz mandatory.

When a tweet went by suggesting that it is “for their own safety”, a tweeter found this old cartoon from Punch. It is remarkable how things have not changed much at all.

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NATO: The biggest threat to world peace


On November 8th, Britain’s Daily Mail bannered “NATO tells Europe to prepare for ‘rapid deployment’:” and sub-headed “Defence chiefs say roads, bridges and rail links must be improved in case tanks and heavy vehicles need to be quickly mobilised” (to invade Russia, but the newspaper’s slant was instead that this must be done purely defensively: “In October, NATO accused Russia of misleading them, saying that Moscow had deliberately violated international rules of military drills”).

The article continued:

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the infrastructure update across Europe as NATO is set to overhaul its command structure for the first time since the Cold War

During a press conference in Brussels, Stoltenberg said NATO needs a command structure to ensure ‘we have the right forces, in the right place, with the right equipment at the right time.’

He then added: ‘This is not only about commands. We also need to ensure that roads and bridges are strong enough to take our largest vehicles, and that rail networks are equipped for the rapid deployment of tanks and heavy equipment.

‘NATO has military requirements for civilian infrastructure and we need to update these to ensure that current military needs are taken into account.’

The NATO military alliance against Russia has been continuing the Cold War, and is now intensifying it, after the voluntary end of the Cold War in 1991, by the Soviet Union, and by its mirrored military alliance, which was the Warsaw Pact.

With that end of communism, and end of the communist military alliance, all of the constructive reason for NATO likewise ceased, and so NATO should have ended simultaneously when the Soviet Union and its military alliance did; but, instead, certain corporate interests in Western nations have prevailed; and, so, the Cold War is now ratcheting up even further on the U.S.-NATO side. This escalation, which is being done under false pretext (on the basis of lies), is forcing Russia to similarly increase its military budget and military exercises (such as the drills that are the pretext for NATO’s latest aggressive move here) – and Russia’s responses are being called by NATO ‘Russian aggression’, as if NATO hasn’t actually forced Russia to increase its military defenses (including those “drills”).

Comment: Instead NATO has metastasized and used ‘stay behind’ groups to create chaos: The Strategy of Tension: NATO’s Secret War Against Europe

Also check out SOTT radio’s: Behind the Headlines: NATO’s Secret Armies in Europe – Interview with Daniele Ganser

The need that the NATO-supplying corporations, such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, have – companies whose enormous profits depend heavily upon intensifying the Cold War instead of ending it (such as ought to have happened in 1991) – has become the mass-murdering and land-destroying corporate tail, which is actually wagging the governmental dogs, of Western nations’ (especially of America’s) foreign policies, so as to increase global expenditures into the mass-killing industries (most of which are U.S.-based), in order to keep their war-profits high. Wall Street is heavily involved in this, and most of America’s billionaires have these types of investments.

Economic theory considers all purchases and sales to constitute ‘economic growth’; and, so, expenditures and purchases for mass-killing and bombing, and for defenses against same, are considered just as much ‘economic growthas if those expenditures had gone into building things, instead of into destroying things – and neoliberals are therefore just as supportive of the military-industrial complex as are neoconservatives – neoliberals merely view the matter from the perspective of internal domestic policies (‘growth’), instead of from the perspective of external foreign policies (conquest). Both perspectives serve the aristocracy, the billionaires. This neoliberal-neoconservative consensus, in the West, keeps the profits going for the owners of all sorts of corporations – it’s “the Washington Consensus” that’s sold to vassal nations by promising that this path will allow them to join in the imperial nations’ ‘growth’. The leadership of the Soviet Union was sold a neoliberal bill of goods by the the Harvard economics department in around 1990, and the World Bank and Harvard’s people took the Russians for all they could, which was able to be done because Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was naive and accepted neoliberalism – he didn’t know about its neoconservative side, the aristocracy’s pursuit of conquest. He had rejected Marxist economics, and thought that the only alternative would be capitalist economics.

Back in 1991, when Gorbachev ended the Soviet Union and its military alliances, NATO had 16 member-nations. Later in the decade, in 1999, NATO under U.S. President Bill Clinton, started expanding – taking on as new members, nations that had previously been allied with Russia.

The Soviet Union had consisted of: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Moldova, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and Estonia (the last of which was forcibly joined with it in 1940 so as to assist Russia’s fight against the Nazis). NATO has since absorbed, into its anti-Russia ranks: Lithuania (2004), Latvia (2004), and Estonia (2004), and is seeking the additional admissions of Ukraine, and of Moldova.

The Warsaw Pact, of Soviet-allied nations, had included: U.S.S.R., Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Eastern Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. All of those except the Russian portion of the U.S.S.R. have since been absorbed into the anti-Russian military alliance, NATO. In the brainwashed U.S.-allied countries, this growth of the anti-Russia alliance isn’t considered “aggression,” even though it’s being done by NATO’s adding former Russia-allied nations, and though Russia’s former military alliance against NATO, the Warsaw Pact, ended in 1991. Aggression by “the West” is not acknowledged by “the West.” Even the U.S. group’s blatant aggressions that destroyed Russia-friendly nations such as Iraq, Libya and Syria aren’t. The fact that the U.S. is considered overwhelmingly throughout the world to be “the biggest threat to peace” is likewise ignored by the Empire’s ‘news’ media.

Thus: 10 formerly Russia-allied nations have now been switched into the anti-Russia military alliance. And NATO accuses Russia of ‘aggression’. Nobody talks about how the U.S. would react if Russia had a military alliance which included both Mexico and Canada, and called upon them to strengthen their bridges so as to be able to carry today’s Russian battle-tanks. But, the people who are doing this, know very well what they are doing, and why, and to whom. They play dumb but they aren’t.

In addition, Yugoslavia was non-alligned, but now most of its parts have joined NATO: Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro. (Montenegro was brought into NATO on 5 June 2017, by U.S. President Donald Trump, who is being investigated by the rabidly anti-Russia U.S. Government, for allegedly being insufficiently hostile against Russia. His response to the accusations has been to try to out-do his domestic opponents’ hostility against Russia – to up their anti-Russia ante, instead of to wage political war against America’s military-industrial complex and its owners.)

And, the other parts of the former Yugoslavia continue to be courted. On November 15th, Radio Free Europe headlined “Serbia Hosts Joint Military Drills With U.S. As Bosnia Hosts NATO Delegation”. They reported: “NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels on November 15, said ‘there is no doubt whatsoever that we absolutely respect the decision by Serbia to remain a military neutral country.'” Were Hitler’s troops being allowed to hold military exercises in neutral Switzerland? Of course not. Obviously, this isn’t any ‘military neutrality’. Instead, it’s those small countries trying to avoid becoming targets of U.S. missiles and bombs.

Most of the 13 new admittees to NATO after the 1991 end of the Cold War (on Russia’s side, but not on America’s), are located to the east of West Germany (closer to Russia than even East Germany was). In the negotiations to end the Cold War, the understanding that George Herbert Walker Bush’s people communicated to Mikhail Gorbachev’s people was that if the Cold War ends and East Germany becomes absorbed into West Germany to become again simply “Germany” and thenceforth a capitalist country (such as all did happen), then NATO would not move “one inch to the east.” That’s the basis upon which Gorbachev ended the Cold War. George Herbert Walker Bush lied – via his agents. Gorbachev was incredibly naive, and he didn’t specify that NATO would need to end if the Warsaw Pact would end. He believed in the goodwill, and honesty, of Bush and of his agents. He accepted merely the vague verbal promise that NATO would’t be expanded even “one inch to the east.” He didn’t know that he was dealing with people who were negotiating on behalf of, and who were following the instructions of, a super-scoundrel – U.S. President Bush. Bush’s dream, of encircling Russia with U.S. bombers, missiles. and tanks is now coming true. Would the U.S. tolerate Russia placing its invasion-forces on and near our borders, in Canada and in Mexico?

If this isn’t the time to end NATO, then when will be? And how much time to do it remains, before there is a WW III? Anyone who is supportive of the formation of a non-profit “End NATO Now” is hereby invited to indicate so, in a reader-comment to this article, at Washingtonsblog; and, if enough people indicate there that they would be willing to donate time or money to such an organization, then I shall establish it. Because: if we don’t end NATO now, then maybe NATO will end us all, surprisingly soon.

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CHILE – Presidential candidate calls Israel ‘a threat to world peace’

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“Strawless In Seattle” How We Can Make All Cities In The World Strawless

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By now, most of us know about the dangers of plastic ending up in our landfills and in our oceans, and the harm it is causing to our ecosystem. Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, which means every single piece of plastic that was ever produced still exists in some form or another today. This is one of the least sustainable materials we have created, yet it’s also one of the most abundantly used. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

The funny thing about this whole conundrum is that we really don’t need to be using plastic at all; we have only been using it for less than a century and there are plenty of plastic alternatives available to us, especially now that consumers are becoming more aware of its impact. Glass and paper packaging, wooden toothbrushes, purchasing foods in bulk, opting out of pre-cut veggies packed in plastic — these are just some of the ways we can avoid using plastic.

Small Change, Big Impact

Recently, Seattle, Washington, started an initiative to help reduce the amount of plastic pollution their city was producing, and thus “Strawless In Seattle” was born. Take a look.

How much would you miss plastic straws at a restaurant? Would you even notice their absence? Many restaurants don’t use them to begin with, so it’s hardly a big shift to eliminate them from others.

This whole thing got me thinking, would it be possible to make this a worldwide initiative? Can we encourage other cities to ban plastic straws too? Seattle cut them from 150 restaurants in the city, saving over 2 million plastic straws from landfills in the process. Something so simple can have such a profound impact.

What Can You Do? 

It’s simple: Just request drinks without a straw whenever you are out at a restaurant or bar. If the server asks why, which is unlikely to happen, you can tell them as much or as little as you like. If you want to let them know you are doing your part to protect the environment, go for it, and  maybe say it loud enough so that nearby tables can hear you. To take this up a notch, you can share this idea with your family and friends, or present it to your city council to see if your city would take part in this challenge too. Most restaurants would likely hop on board, because let’s face it — it will save them money in the end.

Plastic straws are kind of like plastic bags — you may not realize how much you don’t need them until you stop using them, or find a better alternative. There are many easy ways to minimize the amount of plastic you are consuming, but it does take some effort. No one really wants to contribute to the destruction of the environment or acidification of the world’s oceans, but pollution tends to be an “out of sight, out of mind” problem. Unfortunately ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. To learn more about what you can do, check out 10 Smart Hacks To Cut Plastic Packaging Out Of Your Life.

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Richest 1% have More Money than Poorest Half of World’s Population


The bottom half of adults in the world collectively own less than the richest one percent, according to a Credit Suisse report. The gap between the super-rich and the poor has significantly grown since the global crisis.

The wealthiest one percent owned 42.5 percent of global wealth in 2008, the bank reports.

“The downward trend reversed after 2008 and the share of the top one percent has been on an upward path ever since, passing the 2000 level in 2013 and achieving new peaks every year thereafter. According to our latest estimates, the top one percent own 50.1 percent of all household wealth in the world,” the report said.

“Global wealth inequality has certainly been high and rising in the post-crisis period,” according to the bank.

While the bottom half of adults collectively own less than one percent of total wealth, the richest ten percent owns 88 percent of global assets.

Last year saw 2.3 million people becoming new dollar millionaires. The total number of millionaires has increased to 36 million. “The number of millionaires, which fell in 2008, recovered fast after the financial crisis, and is now nearly three times the 2000 figure,” Credit Suisse said.

The poorest 3.5 billion people, who account for 70 percent of the working age population, each earn less than $10,000 and account for just 2.7 percent of global wealth.

Global wealth now stands at $280 trillion, and this figure is likely to be over $340 trillion in five years. On average, each adult owns $56,540.

You need to own $76,754 to be a member of the top 10 percent of global wealth holders and $770,368 to belong to the top one percent.

After you read those official figures, bare in mind that these are ONLY OFFICIAL amounts of money we are talking about. There are also powerful globalists such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellons and others who UNOFFICIALLY they gave trillions in wealth. These rats do not even appear in Forbes, the smaller elites try to keep them hidden from the public because if the masses knew, they would probably be lynched…

For example the entire Rothschild family is estimated to own at least $2 Trillion at the very minimum estimates. However more realistic estimates evaluate their wealth at about $500 Trillion, almost nearing $1 Quadrillion now as of 2017. And there are many other families like these which are kept hidden in the shadows.

They could feed the entire planet for at least 100 years with their money… greed? Naaah pure Satanism! No normal or Godly man would hold on to such large unimaginable amounts of money throughout multiple generations, from father to son to nephew and so on.



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India to become world’s third-largest economy by 2028

According to the report, the country has already overtaken Brazil and Russia becoming the second biggest BRICS economy after China. It is also projected to pass France and the UK as the world’s fifth largest economy behind Germany by 2019.

“We see India crossing Germany and Japan in nominal GDP in dollar terms by 2028. This assumes the Indian economy grows at ten percent (in nominal US GDP) in the next decade, well ahead of Japan’s 1.6 percent,” said the report.

It has outlined three key drivers which will help India stand among the large emerging economies. Those are falling dependency ratios, financial maturity, as well as increasing incomes and affordability.

It would be difficult for India to “replicate South Korea’s export-driven industrialization as its dependence on oil imports implies Delhi cannot depreciate its currency,” said the report.

It added that services have “climbed by ten percent to almost 70 percent of world GDP in the past 20 years. Not surprisingly, they have emerged as a key driver of India’s growth as well.”

READ MORE:India’s economy won’t lose steam for now, predicts UN study

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also projected India’s outstanding growth. It said the country will overtake Germany in 2022 as the world’s fourth-largest economy and will push its former colonial ruler UK out of the five top economies this year.

The IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said there was much potential, calling India a “bright spot.”

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