News Snippets

Published: Saturday 15 May 2004

A pharmaceutical company of Delhi has patented an Indian herb that is being showcased as a miracle cure for piles. An integrated system of piles management, based on studies with extracts of the herb Euphorbia prostata at Chandigarh and New Delhi, has been developed by Best On Health -- a strategic business unit of drug-maker Panacea Biotec. The disease causes blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum to stretch and swell up under pressure. Its most common symptom is bleeding from the anus. Piles has long been considered a taboo subject, leading to the mushrooming of quacks.

The government of Myanmar has created a sprawling 21,750 sq km reserve for tigers -- the largest protected area of its type in the world. Called the Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve, the project is the culmination of more than five years of collaborative work between the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) based at the Bronx zoo, New York, USA and the Myanmar forest department.

Alan Rabinowitz, WCS' director of science and exploration, feels that the reserve's current population of approximately 80-100 tigers can increase tenfold if protection and management plans are implemented properly.

Hong Kong's drinking water is poisonous, warns environmental group Greenpeace. Its survey detected pollutants such as mercury, cancer-causing chromium and Escherichia coli (a bacterium found in sewage) in the water. Most of the water is piped in from a reservoir in Shenzhen across the border in southern China's Guangdong province. A new aqueduct that carries water from the Shima and Dongjiang rivers in Guangdong to the reservoir is said to be responsible for the high pollution readings. It was found that the aqueduct concentrates the pollutants and feeds them into the reservoir owing to its poor design. However, Hong Kong's government has dismissed the reports of the unsafe nature of drinking water.

Australia's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are continuing to grow, according to figures released by its Federal Government. The country, of course, continues to back the US position of non-compliance so far as the Kyoto Protocol is concerned.

As per the report, GHG emissions increased by 1.3 per cent between 1990 and 2002, brought about chiefly by the energy and the industrial sectors, which recorded an increase in emissions by 4 and 2 per cent, respectively.

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