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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 17 September–1 October 2009.

Sri Lankan research school gets upgrade
The Thinnaveli Agriculture Research School in Jaffna, in war-torn north Sri Lanka, is to be rebuilt and upgraded with Indian agricultural expertise and biotechnology, with assistance from experts from Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Indian scientists are expected to provide seeds as well as assistance with farm mechanics, appropriate technology, soil management, and biotechnology. More>>

Complete image of Himalayan fault
An international team of scientists, including those from Nepal, has created the first complete seismic image of the Earth's crust and upper mantle in the Himalayas, which will help explain — among other things — the formation of the Tibetan plateau. They say that previous images led to conflicting models of the underground rock structure and plate movements. More>>

India launches second ocean satellite
India has launched its second ocean-monitoring satellite. OCEANSAT-2 is designed to provide data on potential fishing zones, ocean surface temperatures and winds, algal blooms and ocean sediments, and more. Six European educational satellites of smaller size were also launched. More>>

Novel carbon structure to aid cancer
Fullerenes, a novel form of carbon in which all the atoms are arranged in closed shell-like structures, could help target drugs in cancer treatment. It is possible to add hydroxyl groups containing oxygen and hydrogen to the carbon shell and load drugs on to them, report scientists. More>>

Mustard map
Scientists from Punjab, India, have developed a detailed genetic linkage map of Brassica rapa, an important oilseed crop in many developing countries. The map is a vital tool for international researchers working on the genetic improvement of the crop, they say. More>>

Herbal remedies for mosquitoes, cattle ticks and flukes
Extracts of some traditional Indian plants, including Annona squamosa, Centella asiatica, and Phyllanthus emblica could help wage a two-pronged battle against malaria- and dengue-spreading mosquitoes on one hand and against cattle ticks and flukes on the other. Of the three, Annona squamosa extracts prepared in methyl alcohol proved the most effective. More>>

'Biobleach' from rot fungus
Newly-isolated wild strains of the white rot fungus, Coprinellus disseminatus, can produce a group of enzymes called xylanases that break down plant cell walls and are of use in environmentally-friendly papermaking. The enzymes aid the preparatory chlorine-free bleaching of wood pulp. More>>

Turtles dying on Sri Lanka beaches
Several turtle species are dying on Sri Lanka's beaches. Dead turtles were spotted in Mount
Lavinia and Moratuwa beaches, which are "nesting sites" of several species. The deaths could be because of extensive use of fishing nets or the inability of the hatchlings reared in hatcheries to cope with a natural environment, experts say. More>>

Compiled by T. V. Padma. Additional reporting by 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]).

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