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  • South Asia News in brief: 25 December–7 January

Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 25 December–7 January 2009.

India to launch weather satellite
India plans to launch a weather satellite jointly developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation and the French space agency CNES in 2009. The Megha- Tropiques satellite will analyse tropical climate data and causes of cyclones and monsoons. More>>

Scientists develop mini water treatment plant
An international team of scientists has designed a decentralised wastewater treatment system for Nepal. The system, tested on 80 households, could be particularly useful for developing countries that cannot afford the high design, operation and maintenance costs of centralised treatment systems. More>>

Wild sugarcane yields ethanol
Wild sugarcane or Saccharum spontaneum, which grows as a wasteland weed in India, can be a source of ethanol, report scientists from India. The plant cells were stripped of lignin — the material in the cell walls — and fermented with yeast during tests. More>>

Longer on nevirapine 'could cause drug resistance'
Breast-fed babies who are infected with HIV while on six-week extended nevirapine treatment have an increased chance of resistance to the drug, according to a study conducted in Ethiopia, India and Uganda. This is particularly so of HIV sub-type C, which is widely prevalent in India. The study compared babies on extended treatment and those receiving a single dose of the drug after birth. More>>

Secrets of a leishmaniasis drug
Scientists have gained insights into the effects and uptake of the drug paromomycin on the parasite Leishmania donovani, which causes leishmaniasis, commonly known as Kala Azar in South Asia. The Indian subcontinent accounts for 70 per cent of abdominal leishmaniasis cases worldwide, with India alone accounting for half. Paromomycin is currently under phase IV clinical trials to test its use in rural areas of India. More>>

Bird flu outbreak in Indian state
West Bengal state in eastern India has reported a fresh outbreak of avian flu in poultry. Officials are culling 60,000 birds in the fourth outbreak in the state since 2007, this time in Silguri town bordering Bangladesh. More>>

Separating heavy metals with a nanofilter
A nanofilter developed in India can help remove the heavy metals nickel and cadmium from water. Heavy metals are important sources of environmental pollution and are difficult to remove from solutions. More>>

Destroying magenta dye with light
Scientists in Sri Lanka have reported details of how to break down toxic organic molecules such as magenta dye in the presence of light. 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 (padma@scidev.net).