Published: Friday 15 August 1997

benign cars: In an attempt to introduce eco-friendly vehicles, the world's third-largest car maker, Toyota Motor Corp, plans to launch a vehicle equipped with a new diesel engine which improves fuel efficiency by 25 per cent as compared with the conventional diesel engines. It also plans to introduce this year a 'hybrid' car powered by gasoline and batteries. The fuel consumption of these hybrid cars would be half of Toyota's popular Carolla model, while the emissions would be one-tenth.

virus fighters: A new filter that removes the human immunode-ficiency virus (HIV) has been deve-loped by Nihon Pall Ltd, a Tokyo-based company. Tests have shown that the filter removed HIV from a solution containing 10,000 to 100,000 cells of the virus per millilitre. The filter will mainly be used to produce blood derivatives.The Ultipor VF-DV50, made of fluorine-resin membrane, can remove one million virus cells measuring 50 nanometers in size, say its developers. The HIV is about 100 nanometers.

alternative vehicles: Sanyo Electric Co Ltd, which invests around 80 per cent of its revenue on 'environment-minded technology', has launched a new business aimed at refuelling the world's nascent natural gas vehicle (NGV) industry. Wagering that the number of NGVs on the roads of Japan would rise from the current levels of roughly 1,300 to some 200,000 by AD 2000, Sanyo plans to mass-produce NGV re-fuelling units for home use and use alongside conventional gasoline pumping facilities across the country. The venture marks the latest drive by a major manufacturer to cash in on the global race for an alternative to conventionally fuelled vehicles.

monkey business: Procter & Gamble (P&G) Co of the US plans to resume two projects with an independent drug-testing laboratory that was recently accused of inhuman treatment towards monkeys. The Cincinnati consumer-products concern had suspended the tests after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Norfolk, Virginia, alleged in a complaint with the US Agriculture Department that the laboratory, Huntingdon Life Sciences at East Millstone, New Jersey, abused dozens of monkeys during test for the P&G drugs. A P&G spokeswoman said that a review showed that the lab had proper procedures in place but some employees lacked adequate supervision.

wonder windows: Sintex Industries Ltd has developed windows which eliminate heat and cold inflow from outside and keep the room's environment normal. The windows save as much as 30 per cent energy, irrespective of the conditions outside. Made of heat-insulating polyvinylcloride, (PVC), they have double sealing and a layer of sealing between the wall and the window, making for a sealed unit.

partnership blues: A Massachusetts court has granted a preliminary injunction to HCA Healthcare Corp in delaying its proposed merger with Value Health Inc. While the partnership would provide mental-health services to Mass-achusetts, it would pose a conflict of interest with its partnership with Value Health. Medicaid beneficiaries. Value Health has said that the partnership has since submitted a revised plan to Massachusetts' Division of Medical Assistance, and is now engaged in discussions with the division.

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