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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 12–26 June.

Bangladesh announces climate change fund
Bangladesh has earmarked three billion Bangladeshi taka (US$48 million) to help its people face the challenges posed by climate change. The fund was announced by Bangladesh's finance adviser Mirza Aziz in his budget speech in June. More>>

Canada, India announce ten new S&T initiatives
Canada and India announced ten new science and technology initiatives worth US$17 million, including eight joint research and development projects and two partnership programmes. The research projects include use of biofuels in aircraft gas turbine engines, diagnostics for dairy and cattle diseases, and new materials to repair corneas. More>>

Yak herders get into clean technology
Yak herders in Bhutan are using less kerosene and fuelwood for lighting and cooking in favour of clean alternative energies such as solar energy, according to. the Bhutan Council of Renewable Natural Resource Research. The council says its studies show the use of sustainable energy technologies in rangelands over the past year have been a success. More>>

Novel diarrhoea virus 'a genetic mix'
An international collaboration of scientists has isolated a new strain of a diarrhoea-causing norovirus, which they say has evolved through natural genetic recombination between two noroviruses. The new strain, isolated from the faeces of a 17-year-old patient, indicates constant monitoring and surveillance are needed to detect new disease-causing strains. More>>

AIDS vaccine 'safe' in first stage trials
A genetically engineered AIDS vaccine made by stitching together single strands of DNA pieces from the HIV virus was found to be safe during phase I trials in India and Europe. The vaccine contains adeno-associated virus proteins as an envelope and DNA strands from a C-subtype virus circulating in Africa. More>> [116kB]

SAARC forestry centre opens in Bhutan
The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) forestry centre has been formally opened in Bhutan. The centre will provide high-quality research data, test new approaches to management of forest resources, act as a nodal point for information on forests and related topics, and provide policy inputs to SAARC countries. More>>

India to roll out pill substitute for drug users
India's National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) will begin giving 'oral substitution therapy' — medically safe substitutes such as methadone or buprenorphine — to drug users to help them overcome their addiction from 1 September. NACO hopes to cover 40,000 drug users by 2012 under the initiative, which sees a pill taken everyday for nine months. More>>

Useful protein found in mulberry
Indian and UK scientists have purified a natural protein from the common tree Morus indica or mulberry, which is similar to an 'antibiotic' protein that protects against pathogenic bacteria. The protein could find use in the food and pharma industries. More>>

Anti-tumour agents from common shrub
Scientists have found anti-tumour chemicals in the common shrub Lantana camara that spreads as a weed in India. The shrub has a group of chemicals called 'lantadenes' that are the focus of drug research for their potential anticancer activity. More>>

Compiled by T. V. Padma. Additional reporting by Mostak Hussain.

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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