In Short

Published: Friday 31 January 2003

healing power: An Indian research team has been granted the rights to develop the curative potential of jamun (black plum fruit). The team has obtained a US patent on a compound extracted from jamun, which reduces blood sugar levels. The compound will be developed to produce a "herbal therapeutic product to control diabetes mellitus".

in deep water: The rampant use of banned fishing nets and increasing pollution levels are posing a threat to marine life in Bangladesh. According to Bangladesh's marine fishing department, a systematic and scientific approach for fish harvesting is required to restore depleting fish stocks.

plastic purge: Taiwan is waging a war against plastic. Disposable plastic bowls, bags and other utensils may soon be banned in the region. The curbs will apply to supermarkets, department stores, fast food chains and restaurants. Predictably, the announcement has met with stiff opposition from the plastic industry. Workers demonstrated, arguing the ban would cause unemployment.

lpg on frontburner: Motorists in the UK have been urged to convert their vehicles to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). British energy minister Brian Wilson says the move is prompted by the fact that LPG is a cheaper and cleaner alternative to petrol. It is also an economical option as drivers are facing high petrol prices at the start of the year.

left high and dry: To the utter dismay of nature lovers, the popular and picturesque Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary in Gujarat has dried up. The phenomenon has recurred after a decade and a half. Though the lake normally dries up in the period between March-April, this time it has happened three months earlier forcing migratory birds to fly back.

fortified gm crops: Genetic engineers are now concentrating on groundnut, sunflower and cowpea. An Indo-US research collaboration is all set to develop varieties that would be resistant to the tobacco streak virus -- a major threat to the three important cash crops.

falling prey: The timber mafia killed a 60-year-old forest protection committee member in Nayagarh district of Orissa. The murder took place when three members of the Anchalik Sulia Bana Surakshya Committee in Machhipada village tried to prevent the illegal loggers from felling trees in the Sulia forest.

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