Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 5–18 February 2009.
Pakistan, Bangladesh fisheries to be hit by climate change
Bangladesh and Pakistan rank among 33 countries whose fisheries are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change can affect upwelling of nutrient-rich waters along coastlines, coral reef health, and temperature and water levels in inland lakes, researchers say in a new study by the WorldFish Center and others. Meanwhile, Denmark has pledged to help Bangladesh in its efforts to combat climate change, including dredging rivers, fighting floods and improving agricultural productivity. More>>
Satellite-tracked birds to provide clues on bird flu spread
An international team of scientists has captured and satellite-tagged 70 water birds that gathered at Chilika Lagoon in eastern India, the largest water bird-gathering site in the Indian subcontinent. The study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and partners hopes to find clues on the role of migratory birds in the spread of bird flu. More>>
Pakistan nuclear scientist freed
A court in Pakistan has freed nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has been under house arrest since 2004 on charges of selling nuclear technology clandestinely. Khan is regarded as the father of Pakistan's nuclear industry. More>>
Cheap colour test for dysentery
An inexpensive new colour test can help detect dysentery-causing Shigella and Escherichia coli in stool samples. The technique tests for the enzyme apyrase that is essential for the intracellular spread of the pathogens. Dysentery-causing bacteria remain a major cause of illness and death in India and other developing countries. More>>
Afghanistan adopts drip irrigation
The agriculture of battle-ravaged Afghanistan will adopt drip irrigation, a water-saving system that will be made available at a low cost. It comprises a simple plastic collapsible water tube of different sizes, with holes at intervals, to irrigate furrows in the land and target crops directly — avoiding wasting water on non-fertile lands. More>>
Insights into DNA vaccine against rabies*
Scientists have gained new insights into how DNA vaccines against rabies work. They found that regardless of the specific DNA sequence used in the vaccine, the type and level of protection offered is similar. The WHO estimates 55,000 rabies deaths each year, and more than ten million post-exposure injections. The current vaccine is unaffordable in developing countries where most of the deaths occur. More>>
Bhutan plans compressed natural gas technology, wind farms
Bhutan plans to set up compressed natural gas technology and wind farms in a big way in the coming years to emerge as an energy exporter in South Asia. A meeting of South Asian energy ministers in late January also agreed to set up an exchange programme on renewable and non-renewable energies in South Asia. More>>
New kilns to combat pollution in Bangladesh
The UN Development Programme is piloting a model brick factory using energy-efficient kilns in Bangladesh to reduce pollution. The kilns could cut the brick industry's fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to 60 per cent. But brick kiln owners say the technology is too costly for them. More>>
Plagiarism charges in Karachi University
A scientist at Karachi University has been found guilty of scientific fraud and data manipulation by a committee appointed by Pakistan’s Board of Advanced Studies and Research. The research — submitted as part of a PhD thesis — had originally been published in the Pakistan Journal of Nematology in 2000. More>>
South Asia lacks trained anaesthesiologists
Anaesthesiologists from South Asia report a "depressing" lack of trained anaesthesiologists in the region. Participants at a regional conference called for more teaching and research facilities in the sector. Efforts should also be made to improve working conditions and hold seminars and conferences. More>>
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Compiled by T. V. Padma. Additional reporting by A. A. Khan and 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]).