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  • South Asia News in brief: 29 May–11 June

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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 29 May–11 June.

Best not to mess with earth's atmosphere
Geoengineering — deliberately altering the composition of the upper atmosphere to reduce global warming — could lead to more problems, a model developed by Indian meteorologists shows. Adding sulphate ions to the stratosphere, an option suggested by some scientists to reduce warming, could lead to more sulphuric acid aerosols — a constituent of acid rain — spreading across the tropics, the model shows. More>>

Community care improves newborn survival in Pakistan
A package of community care intervention through female health workers and traditional birth attendants helps reduce still births and improves the survival of newborns in Pakistan, research shows. The pilot study, by the Aga Khan University in Karachi, the United Kingdom's London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the WHO is being followed up with a larger trial in 16 villages in Pakistan. More>> [628kB]

Indian Kachchh region 'hotspot for more quakes'
Indian geologists say the Kachchh region in western India, which witnessed a 7.7 Richter scale magnitude earthquake in 2001, could be a hotspot for future quakes. They have unearthed evidence of past unrecorded quakes that suggest not only repeated quake activity at the 2001 quake source, but also the possibility of activity in the Kachchh and Cambay basins. More>>

Andaman-Nicobar Island movement 'less than thought'
There is no evidence of unusually large movements of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal following the Sumatra-Andaman earthquakes of December 2004 that triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami. Indian geologists calculate that the islands' movement was not more than seven centimetres in the 16–25 days following the quakes, far less than the one metre previously estimated. They say the finding indicates a need to reassess the magnitude of the Andaman quake. More>>

Scientists find immunological markers of skin disease
Indian scientists have found that people with a post-leishmaniasis skin disease make more of a certain type of white blood cell. They believe the cells play a factor in the persistence of post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis'. The disease can appear on the skin of affected people up to 20 years after an initial visceral leishmaniasis infection is left untreated or partially treated. More>>

Efficient trees to the rescue of biodiversity hotpsot
Cassia and Sesbania trees could help rejuvenate forest reserve land along the Indo–Burma mega-biodiversity hotspot, which is being degraded by opencast coal mining. The two tree species have efficient stomata — tiny pores on a leaf surface that open and close in response to heat or water stress and help conserve water within a plant. This helps a slow but sustainable growth of the trees under adverse mine conditions. More>> [176kB]

Microbicide 'safe' in rabbits
Nisin, a naturally occurring peptide that can serve as both a contraceptive and an antimicrobial gel, is safe for use in trials, studies in rabbits show. Nisin gel did not cause any irritation or inflammation in the rabbit vaginal cells, nor cause abnormalities within the cells. The findings indicate it has potential for use as a contraceptive as well as to prevent sexual transmission of HIV. More>>

Immune protein linked to gullet cancer
Multiple forms of interleukin-6, a protein involved in inflammation and the immune response, lead to high risk of developing cancer of the gullet or oesophagus, say scientists from Lucknow, India. The conclusion is based on a study of 369 people. More>>

Rare Nepal rhino vanishing
Heavy poaching is taking its toll on the numbers of a rare one-horned rhino in Nepal. Nine of the Bardiya National Park's 31 rhinoceros have gone missing since last year. The World Wildlife Fund estimates less than 3,000 rhinos are left in the world, mostly in northeastern India and Nepal. More>>

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