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  • South Asia News in brief: 24 July–6 August

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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 24 July – 6 August.

Clinton makes deal to slash malaria drug prices
Former US president Bill Clinton has unveiled a deal with six Chinese and Indian companies to slash the price of artemisinin combination therapies by a third and reduce price uncertainties by 70 per cent. Artemisinin, a plant extract, is a crucial component of the WHO's malaria combination therapy. Its price has been fluctuating wildly in global markets. More>>

Sri Lanka launches sustainable human development index
Sri Lanka has unveiled its concept for the world's first sustainable human development index. The index was developed as a response to the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index, which the Sri Lankans say doesn't take into account "the sustainability aspects of development". More>>

Bangladesh 'getting bigger'
Satellite data from the last three decades show that Bangladesh has grown by 20 square kilometres, thanks to billions of tonnes of sediment deposited by the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers and 200 other river tributaries. The country could gain up to 1,000 square kilometres in the next 50 years. More>>

Indian firms poor in climate action
Top Indian firms aren't taking the initiative to mitigate climate change, a survey shows. Only 40 per cent of 70 companies surveyed had voluntary carbon emission reduction goals. More>>

Nerve changes predict pesticide poisoning damage
Scientists in Sri Lanka have developed a method to monitor changes in nerve transmission due to pesticide poisoning common in developing countries. The nerve changes gradually build up leading to muscle weakness and finally respiratory failure and death. Early observation of the changes can lead to better management of patients. More>>

Tropical forest management 'must be tailored'
Forest management techniques, especially in the tropics, need to be tailored according to changes in height, geology and topography, say researchers. A study in a Sri Lankan rainforest shows soil nutrients and light availability in a forest are strongly influenced by the forest structure and canopy, tree fall disturbance, underlying geology and soil weathering. More>>

Scientists find way of spotting liver cancer
Scientists have found that people with liver cancer caused by hepatitis B infection — a common disease in India — have a certain type of protein in their blood. The protein, alpha-fetoprotein, is usually found in developing foetuses and embryos and levels decrease after birth. More>>

Pakistan eye virus identified
The virus that caused an acute outbreak of eye inflammation in Pakistan from 2004–2005 has been traced. Scientists report the outbreak was caused by a variant of 'coxsackievirus' called CA24v, which is closely related to similar strains isolated from Asia, China and Europe. More>>

Mountain centre launches traditional resources portal
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal has launched a portal on access and benefit sharing of traditional resources in the Himalayas. The portal aims to serve as a regional clearing house on access and benefit sharing. More>>

Nepal creates restaurant for vultures
Conservationists in Nepal have opened an eatery for vultures, in an attempt to arrest the alarming depletion of the birds. The banned drug Diclofenac, used in cattle whose carcasses are then eaten by vultures, is being blamed for the rapid decline in numbers. More>>

Hair-raising yeti
UK scientists have studied hairs claimed to belong to an Indian yeti. The hairs bear a "startling resemblance" to similar hairs found by Edmund Hillary, the first to conquer the Everest. More>>

Compiled by T. V. Padma.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the South Asia Regional Coordinator T. V. Padma ([email protected]).

 

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