Published: Monday 15 January 1996

RICH HARVEST: The Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc, the biggest private firm in the US is eyeing the rapidly growing Asian food market. It plans to invest US $1.5 billion over 10 years, mainly in the grains and oilseeds sector. India, China and Indonesia are expected to attract a major share of the money. The company is also planning sweetener production, wheat flour milling and steel manufacturing. The sweetener plants might be located in India and China which can easily provide raw materials like corn, wheat or tapioca.

DESIGNS FOR FUTURE! UK's Building Research Establishment will soon have an experimental office block named the Phoenix Building, that would serve as a model for future offices. The building is designed in such a way so as to cut down on energy by using daylight to the maximum. Pipes laid into the floor will work as coolers and heaters. The bottomline of the design is to put the occupants in control over their surrounding temperature and humidity.

TISSUE TRADE: Eureka Agro-Tech Limited will give a boost to tissue culture and mushroom cultivation in India, by setting up two projects on the outskirts of Lucknow. The Rs 900 lakh tissue culture project will he ready by July 1996. The company will produce disease-free, virus-free and quickly flowering/fruit bearing plants, said R K Verma, managing director, Eureka Agro-Tech. Mushroom cultivation is expected to begin within a year at the rate of about 1,550 metric tonnes per annum. Besides, the company is planning to set up a neem cultivation project in Kathmandu.

PENS FOR PCs: With the smartest PCs and Macs flooding the markets, new input devices are being developed to complement their efficiency. The Iris Pen developed by a British company combines the features of a Belgian character-recognition software and a Taiwanese scanner pen. All one has to do is to swipe the pen over a line and lo! it appears on the screen as though it had been typed. The pen can manage a range of text sizes and I I languages, and can scan a text 10 to 25 times faster than typing.

VITAL VITAMINS: A lot of promise is being held out for cancer patients with the Food and Drug Administration in the US clearing a new class of drugs to fight cancer. One of these drugs to be approved was Vesanoid of Roche Holding Ltd. Vesanoid is effective against a rare form of leukemia, acute promyelocytic leukemia, Derived from vitamin A, these new weapons, called retinoids, can change cancerous cells into normal ones, which then progress to a natural death. Retinoids could also be used to prevent other cancers like breast and ovarian cancers. The drug was found to be most effective in patients who took it early in their treatments.

GREEN SOFAS: Dynavox Electronic, Bombay, is all set to furnish homes abroad with its eco-friendly furniture made of rubber wood. It will launch its products in Indian markets once the fad for 'green' products catches on. Rubber wood is chemically treated to make it heavy and durable like pine or teak. It is termite-resistant, slow-ageing and receptive to stains of all colours including white. Meanwhile, the company plans to manufacture ecofriendly colour TV monitors with its Korean partner, Hyundai.

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