Daily Archives: November 22, 2018

New peer-review study confirms Bt brinjal reduces pesticides and benefits farmers in Bangladesh

Scientists confirm that the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene confers near-total protection against the eggplant fruit and shoot borer, thereby protecting one of South Asia’s most economically and culturally important crops from damage. In recent field trials, scientists report that farmers who cultivate Bt brinjal reduce insecticide use and increase their yields. More than 27,000 farmers in Bangladesh cultivate ther four Bt brinjal varieties released for commercial production by the Bangladeshi government in 2013.

DAKA, BANGLADESH, Nov. 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The first replicated field trials comparing genetically modified eggplant varieties with their non-GM counterparts in Bangladesh have confirmed that the Bt gene confers almost total protection against this vital crop’s most damaging pest.

The field trials were carried out in the Bogra district of Bangladesh by a joint Bangladeshi-US team of researchers. The results are published in the Nov. 21 issue of the open-source peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS One.

Eggplant, known as brinjal in South Asia, is an economically and culturally important crop in the region. Its most severe insect pest is the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB), which can cause up to 80 percent yield loss in Bangladesh.

“This study confirms with good statistical evidence that Bt brinjal can indeed help reduce the dependence of Bangladeshi farmers on insecticides to protect their brinjal crop,” said Anthony Shelton, entomologist at Cornell University, corresponding author of the PLoS One paper, and principal investigator for the $4.8 million, three-year U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant that supports the Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership.

Feed the Future is a partnership of Cornell University, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), the University of the Philippines at Los Banos, the Cornell Alliance for Science and USAID. It is working to advance agricultural productivity and sustainability among smallholder farmers.

The latest results, conducted in 2016-17 by the On-Farm Research Division (OFRD) of BARI, confirm that all four Bt brinjal varieties grown currently in Bangladesh are effective in protecting against EFSB. Researchers reported 0-2 percent infestation in Bt brinjal varieties, as compared to 36-45 percent infestation in non-Bt isolines (the same varieties but without the Bt gene).

“EFSB is the major pest of brinjal throughout Bangladesh and cannot be controlled well even with weekly spraying,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. M.Z.H. Prodhan of BARI. “This study clearly demonstrates the excellent control of EFSB these four lines of Bt brinjal provide, even when no sprays are applied. We now have studies underway that will help provide us with information on how to control secondary pests, such as mites and whiteflies, so farmers can maximize their gross returns and minimize their use of insecticides.”

Historically, virtually all brinjal farmers in Bangladesh have relied solely on insecticide sprays to control BFSB, with farmers applying as many as 84 insecticide sprays during the growing season. As an alternative to insecticides, four brinjal varieties carrying the Bt gene were released to farmers in Bangladesh in 2013.

The field trials also confirm that reduced insecticide sprays and increased yields should allow Bangladeshi farmers to earn higher economic margins on the genetically modified Bt brinjal than on conventional varieties, even where sprays are used to control BSFB and other insect pests.

For example, in one of the two annual field trials, all four Bt brinjal varieties showed a positive gross margin, even when no insecticide sprays were applied. In contrast, only two of the non-Bt isolines that were sprayed showed a positive gross margin when sprayed and only one of the unsprayed non-Bt isolines showed a positive gross margin.

“This shows that Bt brinjal can achieve its main aim, which is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in a developing country while also protecting the environment by reducing insecticide sprays,” Shelton noted.

In agreement with numerous other studies of the ecological impact of the Bt gene in different crops, the tests also indicated that Bt brinjal had no impact on non-target beneficial arthropods, such as lady beetles and spiders.

Four Bt brinjal varieties were approved for release by the Bangladeshi government in October 2013, and first distributed to 20 farmers in 4 districts in January 2014, making Bangladesh a pioneer in the world in allowing the commercial cultivation of a genetically engineered vegetable crop. Adoption has increased dramatically since then with Bt brinjal now grown by more than 27,000 farmers across all districts of Bangladesh.


Linda McCandless
Cornell University 

Tony Shelton
Cornell University

Copyright © 2018 GlobeNewswire, Inc.

“Stunting” democracy hampers economic development: Subianto

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Prabowo Subianto, presidential candidate of the Prosperous Coalition, said that the practice of stunting democracy was hampering economic development in the country.

In his speech at the Indonesian Economic Forum (IEF) in Jakarta on Wednesday, Subianto stated that many state officials forget the philosophical meaning of democracy.

“The practice of democracy only looks at its technical side. In some cases, democracy is currently experiencing a condition of stunting (blunt), considering that many parties find their rights to expression to be limited,” Subianto noted.

He added that there are Indonesian citizens who are prohibited from traveling abroad.

“There are also scholars who are prohibited from giving speeches and expressing their opinions in public. In fact, these scholars are called extremists,” he explained.

Such democracy, according to Subianto, is one of nine challenges that hinder the Indonesian economy.

“In addition to struggling democracy, other obstacles are in the form of high cost of living, the high value of debt, oligarchy, high unemployment, extreme inequality, stagnant growth, and corruption,” he elaborated.

The nine obstacles can begin to break down if the government starts to practice real democracy.

The right practice of democracy can reduce turmoil and conflict in society, so that the political and economic climate becomes stable.

A stable economic climate has also made investors no longer hesitant to invest in Indonesia.

Source: ANTARA News

85,000 children may have died from famine in Yemen

Ankara (Antara/Anadolu-OANA) – As many as 85,000 children under the age of 5 in Yemen have starved to death since the war began, Save the Children, a rights group, reported on Wednesday.

Using data compiled by the UN, the group found that between April 2015 and October 2018, about 84,701 children under 5 died from cases of severe acute malnutrition — or hunger.

The UN has warned that up to 14 million people are at risk of famine, which, the group said, has increased dramatically since the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition imposed a month-long blockade of Yemen just over a year ago.

Since then, commercial imports of food through Yemens main airport in Hodeidah have declined by more than 55,000 metric tonnes a month, the group said.

“Any further decline in imports could likely lead directly to famine,” it warned.

Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children?s country director in Yemen, said in a statement that the charity is horrified by the number of children who may have died because of extreme hunger.

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and its entirely preventable,” he said.

“Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop. Their immune systems are so weak they are more prone to infections with some too frail to even cry. Parents are having to witness their children wasting away, unable to do anything about it,” he added.

Fighting, blockades and bureaucracy in Hodeidah have forced the group to bring vital supplies for the north of the country through the southern port of Aden, it said in the statement.

According to the United Nations, Yemen is the worlds worst humanitarian crisis. As the conflict enters its fourth year, around 14 million people in Yemen, or half the total population of the country, are at risk of famine, the UN says.

Source: ANTARA News

Round-up: Police successfully identify 107 passengers of crashed Lion Air

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The police forensic team or the Disaster Victim Identification/DVI has successfully identified three more passengers of the crashed Lion Air plane, bringing the number of identified passengers to 107 till Wednesday.

The three victims whose bodies were identified on Wednesday, Dadang (male, 27 years), Pangky Pradana Sukandar (male, 28 years), and Sui Khiun (female, 57 years), all identified through examination of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), Antara learned.

The following is list of victims of the ill-fated Lion Air JT 610:

On Wednesday (Oct.31/2018)

1. Jannatun Cintya Dewi (female, 24 years; identified by fingerprint)

On Friday (Nov.11)

2. Candra Kirana (male, 29 years; by property)

3. Monni (female, 41 years; medical signs)

4. Hizkia Jorry Saroinsong (male, 23 years old; by fingerprint)

On Saturday (Nov.11)

5. Endang Sribagusnita (female; 20 years; by fingerprints and medical signs)

6. Wahyu Susilo (male, 31 years; by fingerprints, medical signs and property)

7. Fauzan Azima (male, 25 years; fingerprints and medical signs)

On Sunday (Nov.4)

8. Rohmanir Pandi Sagala (male, 23 years; by fingerprints and medical signs)

9. Dodi Junaidi (male; 40 years; DNA)

10. Muhamad Nasir (male; 29 years; by DNA)

11. Janry Efriyanto Sianturi (male, 26 years; by DNA and medical signs)

12. Karmin (male, 68 years; by DNA)

13. Harwinoko (male, 54 years; by DNA)

14. Verian Utama (male, 31 years; by DNA)

Monday (Nov.5)

15. Reni Aryanti (female, 51 years; by DNA)

16. Muhammad Ravi Andrian (male, 24 years; by DNA)

17. Eryanto (male, 41 years; by DNA)

18. Vera Junita (female, 22 years; by DNA)

19. Resti Amelia (female, 27 years; by DNA)

20. Fifi Hajanto (female, 42 years; by DNA)

21. Dede Anggraini (female, 40 years; by DNA)

22. Petrous Rudolf Sayers (male, 58 years; by fingerprint)

23. Eka Suganda (male, 49 years old; by fingerprint)

24. Niar R S Soegiyono (female, 39 years; by fingerprint)

25. Sudibyo Onggo Wardoyo (male, 40 years; by fingerprint)

26. Hendra (male, 39 years; by DNA)

27. Mito (male, 37 years; by fingerprint)

On Tuesday (Nov.6)

28. Wahyu Alldilla (male, 32 years)

29. Ubaidillah Salabi (male, 55 years old)

30. Imam Riyanto (male, 44 years)

31. Mawar Sariati (female, 39 years old)

32. Tesa Kausar (male, 37 years old)

33. Cosa Rianda Sahab (male, 39 years old)

34. Dony (male, 45 years)

35. Daniel Suharja Wijaya (male, 30 years)

36. Herjuna Darpito (male, 47 years old)

37. Nurul Dyah Ayu Sitharesmi (female, 54 years old)

38. Paul Ferdinand Ayorbaba (male, 43 years)

39. Rabagus Noerwito Desi Putra (male, 26 years old)

40. Martono (male, 35 years old)

41. Ariawan Komardy (male, 37 years old)

42. Ibnu Fajar Riyadi Hantoro (male, 33 years old)

43. Matthew Bongkal (male, 13 years old)

44. Mack Stanley (male, 31 years old)

On Wednesday (Nov.07)

45. Kasan (male, 68 years; by fingerprint)

46. Rafezha Widjaya (male, 1 year 9 months; by DNA and medical signs)

47. Eling Sutikno (male, 59 years; by fingerprint)

48. Sahabudin (male, 40 years; by fingerprint)

49. Sekar Maulana (male, 45 years; by fingerprint)

50. Rio Nanda Pratama (male, 26 years; by fingerprint)

51. Radhika Widjaya (male, 4 years; by DNA and medical signs)

On Thursday (Nov.08)

52. Denny Maulana (male, 30 years; by DNA)

53. Shintia Melina (female, 25 years; by DNA)

54. Yunita (female, 32 years; by DNA)

55. Daryanto (male, 43 years; by DNA)

56. Junior Priadi (male, 32 years; by DNA)

57. Hesti Nuraini (female, 45 years; by DNA)

58. Inayah Fatwa Kurnia Dewi (female, 38 years; by DNA)

59. Mery Yulyanda (female, 23 years; by DNA and Medical signs)

60. Tri Haska Hafidzi (male, 31 years; by DNA)

61. Linda (female, 49 years old; by DNA)

62. Filzaladi (male, 30 years; by DNA)

63. Ary Budiastuti (female, 48 years; by DNA)

64. Hasnawati (female, 57 years; by DNA)

65. Wendy (male, 29 years; by DNA)

66. Indra Bayu Aji (male, 39 years; by fingerprint)

67. Dollar (male, 37 years; by fingerprint)

68. Abdul Efendi (male, 50 years; by fingerprint)

69. Tan Toni (male, 60 years; by fingerprint)

70. Hedy (male, 36 years; by fingerprint, medical and property)

71. Arif Yustian (male, 20 years; by DNA)

On Friday (Nov.9)

72. Muas Efendi Muas (male; 57 years; by DNA)

73. Murdiman (male, 46 years; by DNA)

74. Ambo Malibone (male, 36 years; by DNA)

75. Darwin Haryanto (male, 51 years; by DNA)

76. Fendi Christanto (male, 46 years; by DNA)

77. Kyara Aurine Daniendra (female, 1 year 3 months; by DNA and fingerprints)

On Saturday (Nov.10)

78. Rifandi Pranata (male, 28 years; by DNA)

79. Joyo Nuroso (male, 50 years; by DNA)

On Monday (Nov.11)

80. Shandy Johan Ramadhan (male, 27 years; by DNA)

81. Deryl Fida Febrianto (male, 22 years; by DNA)

82. Firmansyah Akbar (male, 42 years; by DNA)

On Tuesday (Nov.13)

83. Andrea Manfredi (male, Italian national; by DNA)

84. Adonia Magdiel Bongkal (male, 52 years; by DNA)

85. Alfiyani Hidayatul Solikah (female, 19 years; by DNA)

On Wednesday (Nov.14)

86. Robert Susanto (male, 56 years; by DNA)

87. Nikky Bagus Santoso (male, 35 years; by DNA)

88. Shella (female, 25 years; by DNA)

89. Zuiva Puspita Ningrum (female, 39 years; by DNA)

On Thursday (Nov.15)

90. Muhammad Syafii (male, 45 years; by DNA)

91. Naqiya Azmi (female, 19 years old; by DNA)

92. Maria Ulfah (female, 36 years; by DNA)

On Friday (Nov.16)

93. Ahmad Mughni HS (male, 45 years; by DNA)

94. Tami Julian (male, 25 years; by DNA)

95. Hardy (male, 31 years; by DNA)

On Saturday (Nov.17)

96. Xherdan Fachridzi (male, 4 years; by DNA)

97. Ema Ratnapuri (female, 23 years; by DNA)

98. Sastiarta (male, 28 years; by DNA)

On Sunday (Nov.18)

99. Janu Daryoko (male, 60 years; by DNA)

100. RR Savitri Wulurastuti (female, 42 years; by DNA)

On Monday (Nov.19)

101. Fiona Ayu Zen S (female, 30 years; by DNA)

On Tuesday (Nov.20)

102. Puspita Eka Putri (female, 24 years old; by DNA)

103. Achmad Sukron Hadi (male, 30; by DNA)

104. Muhammad Lutfi Nurramdhani (male, 24 years; by DNA)

On Wednesday (Nov.21)

105. Dadang (male, 27 years; by DNA)

106. Pangky Pradana Sukandar (male, 28 years; by DNA)

107. Sui Khiun (female, 57 years; by DNA)

Previously, the Lion Air JT 610 type Boeing 737 Max 8 with PK-LQP registration number fell in Tanjung Pakis waters, Karawang District, West Java, on October 29, 2018 after it was reported missing contact.

The aircraft which flew from Soekarno-Hatta Airport (Banten) to Depati Amir Airport Pangkalpinang (Bangka Belitung) brought 189 people, consisting of passengers, pilots and flight crew.

Source: ANTARA News