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  • South Asia News in brief: 1–15 November 2007

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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 1–15 November.

Hybrid rice for the tropics
A new international research initiative aims to boost the research and development of hybrid rice for the tropics. The Hybrid Rice Research and Development Consortium links the private and public sectors for the first time and was launched at the 2007 Asian Seed Congress. More>>

Sensitive test for HIV C subtype
Indian scientists have developed a method to detect and measure HIV loads in patients infected with the C subtype of the virus. The technique, reported in the Journal of Clinical Virology, is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that can produce thousands of copies of a gene in a short time. More>>

Growing plants on mine dumps
Scientists have succeeded in growing plants in coal mine dumps that previously did not support any vegetation. Researchers from the National Environment Engineering Research Institute in Nagpur, India, added a mixture of effluent waste, biofertilisers and fungi to soil. This improved soil properties and reduced the toxicity of heavy metals in the area, they report in Bioresource Technology. More>>

Rising seas threaten agriculture in Bangladesh
Rising sea levels are threatening agriculture in Bangladesh. Once fertile lands are turning into salty swamps where no crops grow, reports IRIN news. More>>

India to build neutrino lab
India will build an underground neutrino laboratory to study sub-atomic particles, which should be online by 2012. The Department of Atomic Energy has given the green light and India's planning commission has approved funding for the construction, expected to cost US$170 million. More>>

India, EU to enhance science cooperation
India and the European Union have each pledged €5 million (US$7.3 million) for joint research projects to enhance science cooperation. Computational material science was identified as the initial key area of focus. More>>

Less sunshine for India
The amount of sunlight reaching India declined between 1981 and 2004, though the maximum temperature increased, according to a study from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune. The study in Geophysical Research Letters gathered data from 12 stations across India and shows that solar radiation decreased on average by five per cent. More>>

Indian volcanoes 'wiped out the dinosaurs'
Volcanic eruptions in India may have contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Research from the US-based Princeton University, reported at an annual meeting of Geological Society of America, shows that volcanic bursts in India spewed 80 per cent of the lava that spread across hundreds of miles, releasing huge volumes of climate-altering gases. More>>

Effect of climate change on drinking water 'worse than expected'
As sea levels rise, coastal communities could lose up to 50 per cent more of their fresh water supplies than previously thought, according to a study from Ohio State University in the United States. The researchers say the Middle East and South-East Asia are amongst the most vulnerable areas. More>>

Supporting tigers in Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent can hold 3500–6500 tigers in up to 150 reserves, but just 21 reserves are equipped enough to handle 58–95 per cent of the population, say Indian and US scientists. Their model, published in Biological Conservation, shows that improved management of reserves and additional management of the landscapes surrounding them can help sustain multiple tiger populations. More>>

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