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Below is a round up of news from or about South Asia for the period 25 June–8 July 2009

ICMR tracking 'swine flu mutation'
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is tracking what appears to be an as-yet- unconfirmed case of "resistant" influenza A(H1N1) in a patient in Chennai, according to ICMR director-general Vishwa Mohan Katoch. The patient continued to test positive even after treatment with Tamiflu, but showed no symptoms. Health officials have sent a blood sample of the patient to the National Institute of Virology in Pune. More>>

Nepal scientists begin Himalayan glacier studies
Scientists in Nepal have begun a series of field surveys to study Himalayan glacial lakes, which are feared to be swelling to dangerous proportions because of global warming. The surveys are part of regional assessment studies on the floods that can be triggered when glacial lakes burst. More>>

Improved method to track aerosols
An Indo-US team of scientists have developed an improved technique to measure dust and aerosols over the Indo-Gangetic basin. There is a compelling need to improve aerosol inventories and dust concentrations in the region to make a more realistic assessment of their influence on the Indian monsoon, they say. More>>

Aid for arsenic-afflicted
Help is on way for arsenic poisoning sufferers in Bangladesh. The Swedish Sustainability Foundation will help provide nutrition supplements approved by the WHO in mobile clinics, while the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm will help build prototype plants running on biogas to remove arsenic from contaminated water. More>>

Microbe churns 'nanogold'
Indian scientists in have devised a way to make a bacterium produce 'nanocubes' of gold. The cubes are 10–100 nanometres in size and made by Bacillus licheniformis. Such microbes play an important role in eco-friendly synthesis of metal nanoparticles, the scientists say. More>>

Sawdust mops up chromium
Sawdust can serve as low-cost material to remove chromium from industrial wastes, say researchers. They developed a mathematical model to mimic the process and say they understand key factors influencing maximum absorption and the efficiency of the process under various conditions. More>>

Coping with violence for women and children
Interventions to help women and children cope with violence and abuse will succeed if there are strong links with healthcare providers, community-based organisations, and police and legal aid, a study shows. The study, conducted in one of Asia's largest slums in Dharavi, Mumbai, also shows that intervention is often guided by the client's desire to keep the family together. More>>

Mangrove-dependent animals under threat
Many animals found only in mangroves, including those in Asia, could face extinction as a result of the current rapid loss of mangroves fuelled by over-exploitation, coastal development, and sea level rise. These include a mix of birds and reptiles, six mammals and an amphibian, many of which have unique specialised adaptation traits to survive in mangroves. More>> [184kb]

Myanmar fossil could be ancestor of man
A 37-million-year-old fossil primate, Ganlea megacanina, found in central Myanmar in 2005, suggests that early human, ape and monkey ancestors originated in Asia. Researchers say that G. megacanina shows that "early Asian anthropoids had already assumed the modern ecological role of modern monkeys 38 million years ago," providing evidence that early anthropoids originated in Asia — and not Africa as widely believed. More>> [85.5kB]

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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