Published: Friday 30 April 1999

CADILLAC IN AUTORACE: Traditional American luxury automaker Cadillac will compete in the grueling 24-hour Le Mans auto race in June 2000. Cadillac officials, who disclosed their plans at the Geneva International Motor Show, said they would use a 4.0-litre version of their technologically advanced Northstar V8 engine to power the Cadillac Northstar Le Mans Prototype. If the company wants to raise its profile as a global luxury automaker, Cadillac's presence is essential in motor sports, which is immensely popular in Europe, said John F. Smith, general manager of the division, a unit of General Motors Corp.

CEMENT FROM GARBAGE: Japan's principal cement manufacturer Taiheiyo Cement Corporation, in collaboration with Mitsui Ltd, is planning to produce the nation's first environment-friendly cement, made with the remains of incinerated garbage. The main constituent of the cement will be the ashes of garbage from Ichihara, Chiba province. The two companies are expected to set up a joint venture soon. Dioxins contained in the incinerated garbage decompose in the intense heat needed to produce the cement.

BUSINESS IN APICULTURE: Dabur Nepal Private Limited, a subsidiary of Dabur India Private Limited established in 1989, has further expanded its operation in Nepal. Dabur Nepal has established an Apiculture Research Centre at Jugedi in Chitawan district with a view of breeding better quality queen bees, developing bee colonies, educating bee-keepers in latest techniques and producing organic honey, including other honey bee products. It has also set a honey processing plant at Birgunj with a capacity of processing 200 metric tonnes of honey.

HEALTH PHONE: Tata Infotech Ltd, India, has developed HealthFone, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System for healthcare organisations. The system is built as a value addition to a healthcare organisation's existing information technology structure. The features provided by Healthphone include information on a patient's condition, name of his attending doctor and laboratory tests. The product and any crucial data existing in the healthcare information system can be made available on telephone.

UNIT COMMISSIONED: The Hydrogen Peroxide Concentration Unit of Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd (HOCL), commissioned in Kochi, Kerala, will produce Hydrogen Peroxide with a 50-70 per cent concentration. HOCL will now be able to meet the requirements of the food and pharmaceutical industry. A company spokesperson said that they decided to set up the concentration unit at a cost of Rs 10 crore to meet the market demand. An efficient peroxide plant has, among other things, the lowest possible operating expenditure.

INTERNET BY VOICE: US-based companies AT&T Corp, Lucent Technologies and Motorola Inc, said they formed a venture to develop a software language that allows users to access the Internet by voice. The companies are hoping that the language called VXML, which stands for voice extensive mark language, will become a standard for voice commands to the Internet. A VXML forum, open to other companies that may want to develop applications for the standard will also be created. The initial specification of VXML is expected to be available next month.

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