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Scientists create flood-resistant rice
October 12, 2007 05:50 PM - Imelda V. Abano, SciDevNet
Farmers should soon have access to a new strain of flood-resistant rice, say scientists.
The development was discussed at the 3rd steering committee meeting of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Hanoi, Vietnam last week (8–9 October).
A large portion of Asian rice land is located in deltas and low-lying areas that are at risk from flooding during the monsoon season, and climate change intensifies these risks, said Reiner Wassmann, coordinator of the Rice and Climate Change Consortium of IRRI.
Crop scientists estimate that annual flooding leads to losses worth US$1 billion across south and South-East Asia.
Vaccine-derived polio spreads in Nigeria
October 8, 2007 09:48 AM - , SciDevNet
Sixty-nine children in Nigeria have been partially paralysed after weakened viruses from polio vaccines were inadvertently transmitted to people in unvaccinated regions in the north of the country.
Festus Adu, director of the WHO's polio laboratory in Ibadan, Nigeria, told SciDev.Net that this polio outbreak is only appearing in areas where people are refusing to be vaccinated or where there is not enough oral polio vaccine.
Bird Flu Virus "More Invasive Than Thought'
October 4, 2007 08:07 PM - Jia Hepeng, SciDevNet
BEIJING - The post mortems of two people who died after H5N1 infection have revealed that the virus infects more human organs than previously thought. The study was published in The Lancet. Lead author Gu Jiang, a professor at the School of Basic Medical Sciences of the Beijing-based Peking University, and colleagues studied post-mortem tissues of one man and one pregnant woman, and also tested the foetus of the woman.
India's Tsunami Warning Center Up And Running
October 4, 2007 07:49 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet
HYDERABAD - India's tsunami warning center in Hyderabad became operational this week, less than three years since the country's southern coast was devastated by the Asian tsunami.
The $314 million dollar center, located at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, is now operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It receives data via satellite from six ocean buoys — four in the Bay of Bengal and two in the Arabian Sea — equipped with water pressure sensors to detect any rise in water levels. Six more back-up buoys will be ready in the next two months.
Invasive weed strangles Zambian park
October 3, 2007 08:22 AM - , SciDevNet
LUSAKA - An invasive shrub is upsetting the ecological balance of national parks in Zambia's Kafue Flats and could drive away tourism. A study by the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), released last month (20 September), shows that the weed Mimosa pigra has covered around 2,900 hectares of the Kafue Flats. It is interfering with the ecosystems by blocking access to water for animals and birds and displacing animals by reducing available habitat.
Hardy Amazon 'Greens InTimes Of Drought
September 27, 2007 09:11 AM - Cássio Quiterio, SciDevNet
SAO PAULO - Forests in the Amazon are much more resilient to drought that previously thought, researchers have found. A study published in Science last week (21 September) suggests that forests showed increased — not decreased - levels of photosynthesis in response to a drought. Researchers concluded that canopy vegetation, composed mainly of leaves of the upper parts of trees, is capable of increasing photosynthesis during drought periods of up to two years
Hewlett Packard Helps Fight Africa's E-waste Battle
September 20, 2007 05:32 PM - Catarina Amorim, SciDevNet
Computer company Hewlett-Packard (HP) has launched a project to help local African enterprises perform safer and more effective electronic waste recycling.
The project, in association with the Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) and the Swiss Institute for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), was launched in London, United Kingdom, yesterday (18 September).
The initiative will begin in Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia, examining each country's situation and providing expertise and funds to private initiatives to improve the level of e-waste recycling.
Court Halts Introduction Of GMO Rice In The Philippines
September 20, 2007 05:12 PM - Imelda Abano, SciDevNet
PHILIPPINES - A Philippine court has temporarily halted an application to bring genetically modified (GM) rice to the country, pending a study of possible health and environmental effects.
A temporary restraining order was issued yesterday (18 September) after Greenpeace, together with other nongovernmental organisations, challenged the Philippine government's right to approve Bayer Crop Science's LL62, a herbicide-tolerant type of hybrid rice.
Hewlett Packard to aid Africa's e-waste battle
September 20, 2007 07:50 AM - Catarina Amorim, SciDevNet
Computer company Hewlett-Packard (HP) has launched a project to help local African enterprises perform safer and more effective electronic waste recycling.The project, in association with the Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) and the Swiss Institute for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), was launched in London, United Kingdom, yesterday (18 September).
'Biopiracy' requires reasoned treatment
September 20, 2007 07:47 AM - , SciDevNet
Scientists have long been implicated, whether actively or tacitly, in developed countries' campaigns to seek out and secure natural resources to fuel industrialisation and maintain their own living standards.This was the motive behind many 'scientific' expeditions to explore and map out the centre of Africa in the nineteenth century. More recently, studying indigenous medicine has become a cost-effective way of identifying active chemical ingredients from plants that might be valuable in modern medicine.