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A new study reveals how rice blast fungus spreads

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RICE BLAST FUNGUS

BEIJING: An international study has found how rice blast fungus spreads, providing insights on the control of rice blast, the most devastating rice disease in the world.
Rice blast fungus can infect rice plants at any growth stage and cause lesions on most parts of the plant. Rice blast may reduce both grain yield and quality. Under certain conditions, the disease can lead to total crop failure.
To fend off rice blast, farmers plant disease-resistant varieties of rice plants and spray fungicides. But rice blast fungus can adapt to overcome resistance and develop tolerance to the fungicides.
Scientists have been trying to understand the cellular functions used by the fungus to infect rice plants to better prevent and control the rice disease.
In the new study, researchers from China’s Nanjing Agricultural University and Louisiana State University in the United States revealed how a type of protein named MoAbp1 plays a crucial role in the fungus’ potential capacity to cause the disease.
They found that rice blast fungus forms a special infection structure that applies mechanical force to rupture the rice leaf cuticle and the protective, waxy layer covering the leaf. Once inside the host, the fungus can live off the rice plant’s nutrients to spread the infection.
The researchers reported that the two processes which are necessary for the growth of the fungus are enabled by the protein MoAbp1.
The findings have been published in the journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.
The study is expected to help develop new approaches for the control of rice blast fungus infection and also shed light on the study on the virulence mechanism of plant fungi.

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Economy

Pakistan’s economic condition has improved: Dr Reza Baqir

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Reza Baqir

ISLAMABAD: State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir, while addressing a press conference here, has said that Pakistan’s economic condition was improving due to the positive policies taken by the government.

“Our external deficit and fiscal deficit are being addressed according to our economic plan,” he said, adding the government was striving hard to bring economic stability in the country.

He said that the government was taking measures to restore people’s confidence in the economy and added that Pakistan’s economic future was bright. In the past, government had been interfering in the exchange rate system, he added.

The SBP governor said that the burden of external debt payments reduced due to the devaluation of rupee. He said that exchange rate policy was the part of reform process. Baqir said that the government was not taking loan from SBP during  the current fiscal year.

Earlier on June 14, good economic policies ensured a strong national economy, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had said.

The adviser was addressing a gathering of the Council of Foreign Relations in Karachi. The governments in the past failed to devise the policies for lasting economic development, the finance adviser had said.

 

 

 

 

 

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Economy

Nahakki Tunnel opened for traffic

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TUNNEL

ISLAMABAD: The 745-meter-long Nahakki Tunnel has been completed in Mohmand Agency.
The tunnel has been opened for all kinds of traffic as well. Locals talking to a private news channel said after the construction of the tunnel, traveling of five hours has been reduced to merely 2.5 hours.
People said they were happy with this infrastructure as it would facilitate them in traveling and save time.

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Asia

Turkey hits out at Moody’s after credit rating cut

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Moodys

ANKARA: Turkey on Saturday lambasted Moody’s ratings agency after it cut Ankara’s credit rating further into junk territory, saying the downgrade raised concerns over the institution’s “objectivity and impartiality”.
The agency downgraded the long-term debt rating to B1 from Ba3 and said it maintained the negative outlook for Turkey, in a statement late Friday.
Although the country had a “large, diverse economy” and government debt was low, Moody’s said this was outweighed increasingly by “continued erosion in institutional strength and policy effectiveness on investor confidence”.
But the Turkish treasury and finance ministry said the move was “incompatible with the Turkish economy’s fundamental indicators”.
“As a result, this raises questions over the objectivity and impartiality of the body’s analyses,” the ministry added in a statement.
It pointed to rising tourism revenues, falling inflation, and a new judicial reform package as examples of “very positive developments that we sadly see are being ignored”.
The Turkish economy entered into recession for the first time in a decade last year following a currency crisis in the summer amid tensions with the United States.

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