Published: Saturday 15 November 1997

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Televisions all over the world display only 88 per cent of the image broadcast by TV stations. Now, Korean-based electronics company, Samsung is developing televisions that will display the missing 12 per cent. Called HiTron TV sets, these televisions are 2.5 centimetres wider than usual. Conventional TV pictures have an aspect ratio of 4:3 - four units wide and three units tall. The extreme top and bottom of the picture are trimmed because the scanning lines at the top are filled with digital code, often for teletext. HiTron TVs have a ratio of 12:8 to 9. When a 16:9 widescreen programme is being telecast, Samsung tube not only displays the picture's full width but adds narrow black border to the top and bottom.

BUYING TO SELL: US-based Occidental Petroleum Corp will buy the US government's share in the Naval Petroleum Reserve for US $3.65 billion and sell it to MidCon natural-gas pipeline unit, bowing to investors who want the company to concentrate on finding and selling oil. Occidental expects at least US S3 billion from the sale of MidCon, which ships about 10 per cent of US natural gas.

THE MAKING OF A DRUG: French drug maker, Sanofi and US-based pharmaceutical company, Myers Squibb have won the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration to jointly develop the heart drug, Irbesartan. Irbesartan is one of the latest generations cure for heart ailments, called angiotensin II antagonists. Clinical trials show it to be among the best in reducing high blood pressure. The drug, which has been approved in Europe and launched in Germany, is being sold under names Aprovel and Karvea.

ENGINE INNOVATION: Japanese car maker, Nissan Motor Co has developed a parallel hybrid engine system with low fuel consumption and exhaust for use in the cars of the future. Nissan's new hybrid engine system is expected to reduce both fuel consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide by around 50 per cent compared with its existing 1.8-litre gasoline-powered engines. The company said that emissions of nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbon and corbon monoxide would also be cut by around 90 per cent compared to those of the 1.8-litre engine.

NEEM CONTRACEPTIVE: A contraceptive cream made from neem has been developed by the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, New Delhi. The spermicidal cream has been found to be safe, non-hormonal and non-toxic with no side effects. Developed from oil extracted from neem pods, the cream is easy to use as a precoital vaginal contraceptive and has shown promising results in regulating fertility during clinical trials on human beings. The institute is signing a memorandum of understanding with a Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical manufacture for commercial production.

AGRI PACT: India and Israel have signed an agreement for the setting up a demonstration farm at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI). The farm would demonstrate the latest technology developed by Israel in the field of horticulture, seeds, microirrigation, phytosanitation and post-harvest technologies to the farmers and entrepreneurs. While Israel would provide all technical assistance and training for the project, as well as finance the green houses, net houses and open field facilities. The costs for the three-year experimental project would be shared by Israel and IARI.

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