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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 23 July–5 August 2009.

Sri Lanka develops Bt pesticide
Sri Lanka's Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) has introduced an insecticide made from a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, in swamps and water bodies in a bid to kill off mosquito larvae responsible for spreading dengue, filaria and malaria. The environmentally-friendly bacteria was developed by ITI and a private company, Bio Power Lanka. More>>

Telemedicine reaches Afghan provincial hospitals
Afghanistan's leading telecom operator, Roshan, is offering telemedicine services to the Bamiyan Provincial Hospital in central Afghanistan. The project — funded by the Asian Development Bank — will link the hospital, and doctors in Kabul, to the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, via videoconferencing equipment. It could play a key role in reconstructing Afghanistan's healthcare system. More>>

LDCs stress need for IP
Least developed countries (LDCs) have stressed the need to integrate intellectual property and innovation strategies into national development planning. At a meeting on 23–24 July, attended by representatives from South Asia, Dilip Barua — Bangladesh's minister for industries and chairman of the coordination council of the LDCs — said that access to technological information contained in patents and scientific journals is "extremely important". More>>

Genes for omega-3 fatty acids identified
The Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune, India, has identified the plant genes responsible for the production of omega-3 fatty acids from flax and plans to transfer them to other crops. Omega-3 plays a vital role in increasing cognitive ability in children during the brain development stage. More>>

Cracking waterborne infection
Scientists have analysed the specific enzyme that helps the parasite Entamoeba histolytica — responsible for amoebiasis, a gastrointestinal infection — form cysts after infecting the intestines. Amoebiasis, which often remains dormant for years, is a major waterborne problem in many developing countries with contaminated drinking water supplies and causes an estimated 70,000 deaths worldwide each year. More>>

Model to predict nitrates in groundwater
Indian scientists have developed a computer model to predict the nitrate enrichment of soils and groundwater after fertiliser application. More>>

India to enforce energy efficiency
India will make energy efficiency ratings mandatory for four groups of electric appliances — fluorescent bulbs, air conditioners, refrigerators and power distribution transformers — from January 2010. The ratings system will extend to all electric motors, colour televisions and LPG stoves by June 2010 and the country hopes to save 10,000 megawatts of power through efficient energy use by 2012. Elsewhere, nine leading Indian companies and industry organisations have launched the Indian chapter of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a global initiative for energy-efficient computing. More>>[66kB]

India, Bhutan to research on climate-resilient crops
India and Bhutan will collaborate on research into climate-resilient crops to help both countries cope with the impact of global warming. They are also working towards a joint stand in international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen at the end of the year. More>>

India, EU team up for solar power research
India's Department of Science and Technology and the European Commission have announced a joint initiative for solar power research, with each side contributing five million Euros (around US$7 million). Meanwhile, Bangladesh will get financial help from the World Bank to install more solar panels to power 300,000 households. More>>

Tigers intact in Nepal
Nepal's first nationwide survey of tigers has some positive news — population numbers have remained constant despite political upheavals and poaching. The survey by the World Wildlife Fund found 121 breeding tigers in four protected areas of the country's Terai Arc. More>>

Compiled by T. V. Padma. Additional reporting by Papri Sri Raman and Tenzin Namgyal

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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