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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 15–29 October 2009.

China, Pakistan team up in space, alternative energy
China will transfer research and development expertise in space technology and alternative energy to Pakistan as part of agreement signed this month (15 October) during a visit by Pakistan's prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to China. More>>

Fertiliser from faeces
Earthworms can help turn a mixture of human faeces and soil into valuable fertiliser. Indian scientists demonstrated the potential of 'vermicomposting' technique — where worms, usually earthworms, are added to organic waste to convert them into fertiliser — using the earthworm species Eisenia fetida. More>>

Maldives government dives for a meeting
The government of the Maldives held an under-water cabinet meeting this month (17 October) to highlight the threat of sea level rise to the islands. The ministers, who spent about 30 minutes under water, communicated through hand signals and white boards and signed a document calling for cuts in global emissions. More>>

Pakistan releases results of first hepatitis survey
The Pakistan Medical Research Council has released the country's first hepatitis survey. The 2007–2008 survey shows that 2.5 per cent of Pakistan's population have hepatitis B and five per cent have hepatitis C. Needle sharing is the major cause of hepatitis spread in Pakistan and experts suggest large-scale vaccination against type B, for which a vaccine exists. More>> [1.08MB]

The gene behind irritable bowels
Indian scientists have identified the genetic variations that cause 'irritable bowel syndrome' — a common disorder of the digestive tract that leads to chronic stomach ache, alternating constipation and diarrhoea, and stomach ulcers. More>>

Protected fish under threat from Bhutan project
Two hydropower  projects along Bhutan's Punatsangchhu River have put its famed mahaseer fish species (Tor putitora) in danger. The protected migratory fish species live only in river courses along the sup-tropical Himalayan tract. More>>

Indian meteor crash 'wiped out dinosaurs'
A massive 49-kilometre wide crater in western India, possibly the world's largest, could have been the site of a meteorite crash that wiped out dinosaurs from the Earth. The Shiva crater is also India's largest hydrocarbon reserve. More>>

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 (pad[email protected]).

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