South Asia

Published: Saturday 15 April 2006

flu attacks: Tests have confirmed bird flu cases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, reports the BBC. The virus has been detected in chickens in two farms in north-west Pakistan which have now been sealed off, officials said. The presence of the strain was confirmed by the European Union's Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza in England. Afghanistan too, confirmed the virus in six samples of birds from Kabul and Jalalabad, a joint statement by the UN and the government said. Reports claim a total of 23 cases of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza have been found in five provinces of Afghanistan, since early March.

retrenchment woes: The Pakistan Irrigation Employees Union recently expressed concern over the Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority's (PIDA's) decision to sack hundreds of irrigation department employees from July 1, 2006. World Bank-funded PIDA has decided to do this in at least five irrigation circles, which had been taken over by the authority from the department. Union leader Allah Bakhsh Sial condemned the decision and warned that they would launch a drive against the government if the decision was not revoked immediately.

garbage sale: Truckloads of garbage were filling up canals and ditches all through Dhaka district, creating environmental hazards in residential areas, according to local people. The employees of the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) were allegedly involved. In Mohammadpur, garbage collected from the city was used to fill up Haikkar Khal, one of the last remaining natural canals in the city. There were 10-12 garbage-dumping sites in about half-a-km stretch along the flood protection embankment in Mohammadpur. Allegations of "garbage trade" also came from the residents of Shahjahanpur, Mugda, Waisghat, Sayedabad and Khilgaon, where the garbage collected was used to fill up ditches. When asked, chief conservancy officer, DCC, Sohel Farouquie, expressed ignorance about the "garbage trade.

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