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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 1–17 February 2008.

India to release national plan on climate change
India will finalise its national action plan on climate change by June. The country has identified public transport as a sector that needs urgent attention, prime minister Manmohan Singh told the Delhi Summit on Sustainable Development. Singh also called for "climate justice", a fair and equitable global regime for technology transfers to mitigate climate change. More>>

USAID grants for Pakistan science projects
The US Agency for International Aid (USAID) has awarded 19 new grants for projects in science, technology and health under the US-Pakistan Science and Technology Programme. The projects cover new techniques to combat crop diseases, improve dairy industry, treat and manage Hepatitis C infection, remove chromium and arsenic from water, and make Pakistani structures more resistant to earthquake damage. More>> [21kB]

India and US sign space agreement
The US National and Aerospace Administration (NASA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) signed an agreement on future space cooperation, replacing a previous agreement signed in 1997. The two countries plan to cooperate in earth and space science, explorations and human space flights. More>>

Pakistan scientists sequence mango genes
Pakistan scientists have announced they have sequenced 20,000 base pairs of the mango genome. Kamran Azim from the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University, says the research could lead to better yields and disease-resistant mangoes. More>>

Shrimp farms harm environment, exclude locals
A study of shrimp and fish farms in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, by researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden, shows that aquaculture policies do not alleviate poverty and only benefit local elites. They also found that aquaculture requires the cutting down of mangrove forests, which affects the local ecosystem. More>>

Quake resistance of Indian buildings assessed
Indian scientists have found a generalised method to assess the earthquake-resistance of buildings that were not designed to withstand quakes. Current earthquake regulations do not address seismic resistance of existing buildings, they write in Current Science. More>> [242kB]

Indian moon mission postponed
India's first moon mission, originally due to launch on 9 April, has been postponed. The Indian Space Research Organisation have not announced a new launch date. More>>

Bugs boost fish immunity
Fish food loaded with bacterium enhances fish immune responses, say Indian scientists. Carps fed with feed containing the bacterium Bacillus subtilis for two weeks had better innate immune responses and could resist bacterial infections better, the researchers report in Fish & Shellfish ImmunologyMore>>

South Asian countries pledge to curb wildlife trade
The seven countries under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation have pledged to curb the wildlife trade in the region. South Asia is home to rare tigers, lions and snow leopards and one-horned rhinos. More>>

Tiger corridor from Bhutan to Myanmar
A planned 'tiger corridor' stretching from Bhutan to Myanmar may help the big cats roam freely. The Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera Foundation say the corridor will span eight countries and represents the largest tiger habitat on earth. The cross-border initiative will include agricultural land, ranches and multi-use landscapes. More>>