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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 11–23 July 2008.

Bangladesh science education 'in dire straits'
Bangladesh's science education is in need of a major overhaul, according to an editorial in The Daily Star. Discussing the conclusions of a roundtable discussion between academics and scientists, it says the country needs a more pragmatic science policy and to upgrade university science education. More>>

New Delhi fuel switch has climate benefit
Switching New Delhi's public transport fleet from gasoline and diesel to natural gas has reduced emissions of greenhouse gases by ten per cent, according to researchers. But the switch wasn't perfect, with many engines now running less efficiently and losing methane to the environment. The switch was made in 2003 to reduce air pollution and associated health threats. More>>

Antibodies improve immunity to filariasis
Scientists have for the first time shown that the presence of filaria-specific antibodies improves immunity against filariasis. The link also depends on sex — women had more antibodies than men. More>>

Bhutan seeks India-style medical institute
Bhutan has sought India's help in setting up a medical college on the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Science, India's top medical research institute. Bhutan's health minister will visit India to begin plans. More>>

Costly mushroom sprouts in Bhutan labs
Bhutanese scientists have tasted initial success in culturing the mushroom Cordyceps sinensis, known locally as Yartsa Goenbub, in the laboratory. If the efforts of the Natural Renewable Resources Research Centre bear fruit, highlanders need not set forth in strenuous expeditions to hunt the mushroom, dubbed the world's most expensive. More>>

Crustacean shell component 'removes metals from wastewaters'
Plastic beads coated with chitosan, a substance found in the shells of crabs and shrimps which can also be made commercially, can help remove copper and nickel from industrial wastewaters. The findings indicate a new bioabsorbent material in the making. More>>

New probiotic bacteria could help iron-deficient people
Two probiotic bacteria, isolated from dairy wastes and mango pulp, can help supplement iron in deficient animals and humans, scientists have found. The bacteria were well tolerated in simulated conditions of the digestive tract and were not resistant to antibiotics. More>>

Fungus 'makes nanoparticles' in the lab
Proteins from the fungus Coriolus versicolor can help make nanoparticles of silver, report Indian scientists. When the fungus was put in silver nitrate solution, it accumulated silver on its surface in three days. In a more alkaline environment, the silver nanoparticles were accumulated within an hour. More>>

Compiled by T. V. Padma.

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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