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  • South Asia News in brief: 29 October–11 November 2009


Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 29 October–11 November 2009

The Maldives' carbon-neutral goal ahead of schedule
Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed has said he is confident that the country will achieve its target of becoming carbon neutral well ahead of its 2020 deadline. The Maldives is encouraging the use of wind, solar and other renewable forms of energy instead of diesel. Meanwhile, the island country has signed an agreement with Falcon Energy for setting up a 75 megawatt wind farm on main island Male. More>>

South Asian broadband users stuck
South Asian broadband users get a slower and less reliable broadband Internet connection for every dollar spent, compared to users in the US and Canada. A study by the Indian Institute of Technology, and regional telecommunications policy think tank LIRNEasia says that poor infrastructure and multiple sharers are possible reasons why download speeds are slower in the region. More>>

Nepal cabinet to discuss climate concerns
Nepal's government plans to hold a meeting at the base of Mount Everest to highlight the impact of global warming on the Himalayas. The country will also send some of its climbers to the international climate meeting in Copenhagen in December to highlight the impact of glacier melt and increased forest fires in the region. More>>

Insights into HIV gene
Scientists have gained the first insights into the structure and function of a crucial gene in HIV-infected injecting drug users in northeast India that kick-starts the virus replication process. The first-ever analysis in this group reveals strong similarities to the C subtype of HIV, which is circulating widely in India but different from other C-subtypes found globally. More>>

Swine fever virus insights
Scientists have analysed and identified the various types of 'classical swine fever virus' — a devastating pig infection endemic to India that is different from A(H1N1) swine flu and does not affect humans. Their results reveal a sub-group distinct from other Asian strains that is spreading in India. The insights are expected to improve understanding of the disease spread and its control. More>>

Two new rare bacteria found
Scientists from Japan and India have found two new orange-coloured bacteria in Indian marine waters that share some genetic similarities with Roseomonas, a group of bacteria linked with some rare human blood infections. Scientists are still learning about this little-understood group, first linked to infections in the 1980s. More>>

Protein buster from common tree
The rooster tree (Calotropis procera) — a tree common across the Indian subcontinent — can yield an enzyme protease that has a variety of uses in the in food, detergent and pharmaceutical industries. The tree's enzyme is active under temperatures and acidity conditions that make other proteases inactive and is especially good at removing blood stains, the researchers note. More>>

Nepal to expand tiger reserve
Nepal will expand its Royal Bardia National Park, a critical tiger habitat in the country's Terai region, by 900 square kilometres "to increase critical habitat for tigers". The announcement comes amid fears expressed at a global tiger meet in Kathmandu over the big cats becoming extinct within another two decades. More>>

Conserving Himalayan reptiles
Tropical lowland forests are crucial for conserving reptiles in the eastern Himalayas, say scientists., The Indian team — based at the Sàlim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History — analysed the distribution of 42 species of reptiles in the region and report that they are narrowly distributed, particularly at lower altitudes. More>>

Twenty new coral species identified in Andaman Sea
The Zoological Survey of India has identified 20 coral species as new to the waters around India's Andaman and Nicobar islands. Almost half the islands, east of India, are estimated to be covered by corals. More>>[1.38MB]

Compiled by T. V. Padma. Additional reporting by Papri Sri Raman

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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