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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 20 August–2 September 2009

Maldives to sell carbon credits from biochar
A private firm will develop three projects on three islands in the Maldives, taking waste from agriculture and fishing and turning it into charcoal by roasting it in a low-oxygen atmosphere. The process turns waste into raw carbon that can be used as fertiliser. The projects form part of the Maldives government's plan to make the islands carbon-neutral by 2020. More>>

Nepal begins trial of anti-rabies vaccine
Nepal has begun trials of a tissue-cultured anti-rabies vaccine for humans, which it plans to introduce in the country within two years. A senior epidemiologist under Nepal's health ministry says the new vaccine will replace the current one, derived from sheep brain cells, which is being phased out. More>>

Battling wheat rust
Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States will jointly monitor a fungal wheat disease, Ug99, that is spreading across the globe, including the two South Asian countries. The trilateral alliance also plans to increase cooperation on agricultural development and support research on food production, agricultural issues, and improvement of agricultural trade and markets. More>>

MSF concerned over Novartis petition
The international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has expressed grave concern over a lawsuit filed by drug major Novartis in India's apex court against a clause in India's patent law. MSF says that Novartis is "attacking a key public safeguard" in India's patent laws. More>>

Rotavirus needs continuous monitoring
Researchers at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, have analysed key genetic changes in common strains of rotavirus, a major cause of diarrhoea in developing countries. They stress the need to continuously monitor the diversity of strains circulating in India, to devise effective vaccines and treatment. More>>

Genetic insights into Pak hepatitis C virus
Pakistan scientists have identified the different genetic variants of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is present in almost a tenth of its population. Understanding the different types and degrees of genetic variation of HCV in a country is important for understanding how the infection spreads, potential vaccines for development, and optimum treatment, they say. More>> [168KB]

Pakistan, China team up on fisheries
Pakistan and China will collaborate on joint research for fisheries development. The agreement, aiming to transfer Chinese fisheries research expertise to Pakistan, was signed between the Indus River Fresh Water Fisheries Research Institute of Pakistan and the Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute of China. More>>

Red algae mops up cadmium
A red alga, Hypnea valentiae, can help mop up cadmium ions from industrial wastewaters. Under alkaline conditions (pH 6), one gram of the alga could remove 17 milligrams of cadmium from a solution, scientists from Chennai report. More>>

Compiled by T. V. Padma. Additional reporting by Papri Sri Raman and A. A. Khan

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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