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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 19 March–1 April 2009.

India in for larger, more severe droughts
Scientists predict India could face more severe droughts until 2050, with droughts occurring over larger areas than recorded historically. The projection follows an analysis by US scientists of the impact of climate change on the severity, frequency and area of future droughts along the Kansabati river basin in India's West Bengal state. More>>

Arabian Sea pollution weakens Indian winter monsoon
Pollution over the Arabian Sea weakens winter monsoon rains along India's south-east coast along the Bay of Bengal. The link is seen in extensive analyses by US scientists who studied accumulation of pollution in the Arabian Sea in 1992 and rain gauge data from India's southeast coast. More>>

Sources of Indian Ocean soot traced
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, have traced the sources of carbon-containing pollutants in the air over the Indian Ocean. Contributing sources include burning of biomass or crop residues and forests. Among the source regions studies were the Indo-Gangetic Plain during January, and central and south India in March. More>>

Electricity from domestic wastewater
Indian scientists have devised a microbial fuel cell that generates electricity from domestic wastewaters. The single-celled chamber used a microbial cocktail as a catalyst for the positively charged anode. The scientists report a sharp increase in power generation in the fourth hour, which rose up to the sixth hour and stabilised thereafter. More>>

Puerto Rican flies to tackle Sri Lankan mealy bug
Sri Lanka will import Puerto Rican flies to control the spread of the mealy bug, locally known as 'piti makuna', a pest that attacks plants and trees that exude milk. Sri Lanka's Horticultural Crops Research and Development Institute says the bug entered the country in mid-2007 and has so far destroyed vegetable and fruit cultivations, mainly in the Colombo and Gampaha areas. The project will be funded by the United States Department of Agriculture's Plant and Animal Health
Inspection Service. More>>

Paper, handicrafts from Sri Lankan elephant dung
Elephant dung is being successfully recycled to produce paper and handicrafts in Sri Lanka. The eco-friendly process uses natural vegetative binding agents, water and soluble salt dyes for colouring and has won a green business award. More>>

Catchment projects 'key' to flood control
Flood control experts are suggesting joint flood control projects for Nepal and India, which faced severe losses in floods in the Kosi river in 2008. The two countries should focus on projects in catchment areas, such as plantations on river banks and building dams, experts say. More>>

Healthcare services absent on Char islands
People living on Bangladesh's 'Char' islands — islands that are continuously deposited and eroded, typically lasting for 20 years — lack access to basic healthcare services, a study shows. The study also pinpoints the island dwellers' vulnerability to floods and river erosion that lead to losses of land, trees and livestock. More>>

China aid for Myanmar hydropower plant
China will help Myanmar build a hydropower plant in the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy river. Myanmar has 15 hydropower projects, built mostly with China's aid. The latest project and a huge gas pipeline are part of a deal signed by a Chinese delegation in Myanmar last week. More>>

Digital cataloguing for Bangladesh's museums
Bangladesh’s museums will undertake digital documentation and cataloguing of their objects, following training by UNESCO experts at a workshop in Dhaka. UNESCO also recently helped launch a project on detailed digital listing of relics under a web-based catalogue, Anukramanika, that can be accessed at 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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