JOINT NETWORKING: Oracle Corporation of the US has entered into an alliance with the Philippine Long Distance Phone Company (PLDT) to build a telecommunications and computer network in the Philippines. The project called Phil-Net will initially put Oracle's low-cost network Computers on college students' desks giving them access to the Internet as well as satellite educational programmes. Oracle and PLDT expect to start work on the network later this year with students getting on-line in 1998. Oracle will sell the computers for about US $500 per piece.

POLLUTION-FREE BIKES: A Canadian firm it looking for an Indian partner to manufacture 100 per cent pollution-free motorcycles which would run on kerosene, butane, natural gas or electricity. Rodeo, the US $20 million company, has also made presentations in Singapore and Malaysia to manufacture the two-stroke motor-cycles. Setting up the joint venture would require an investment of US$ 80-100 million. Rodeo also has in its proposed range of products a self-luminous lighting system which requires neither electricity nor cells but relies on tritium, a radioactive element.

GARBAGE VENTURE: A German waste disposal company, Abfallentsorgungs GmbH (AGR), will collaborate with two Japanese firms to dispose of industrial waste in the Nagasaki Prefecture. The new company, AGR Japan, will design and build waste-dumping facilities and provide advice to local governments. Local sites are likely to reach full capacity for industrial waste by AD 2008. Of the US $81,300 of the capital in the venture-, 50 per cent will come from agr, whereas Mitsubishi Nagasaki Machinery Mfg Co and Pal Corp will invest 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

BONE THERAPY: Procter & Gamble (P&G) of the US have formed a global alliance with Hoechst Marion Roussel, the pharmaceutical company of Hoechst, AG of Germany, to commercialise P&G's bone health therapy Actonel, a biphosphate therapy. The two companies would work together to complete clinical studies, obtain regulatory approvals and develop sales and marketing plans to launch Actonel for osteoporosis and other bone diseases in all countries except Japan. The companies would share future revenues and costs for Actonel.

COOL WINDOWS: Sintex Industries of Ahmedabad, makers of the popular Sintex water tanks, have developed energy-saving windows for the first time in India in association with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Energy Management Centre of the ministry of power. These ensure effective cooling from low-capacity air conditioners and save energy up to 30 per cent. The windows consist of heat insulating framing material, double glass glazing and proper sealing between walls and windows.

ASH TO CEMENT: With a view to improving their environmental credentials, Nihon Cement Co and Tokuyama Corp of Japan have decided to increase the amount of waste used in making cement. Nihon, the country's third largest cement company, plans to use 4,000 metric tonnes of industrial waste. It has also started using ash from burnt sewage sludge collected from local municipalities as a substitute for clay. Tokuyama uses waste plastic mixed with coal in its cement plant. The company plans to double the amount of plastic to 400 tonnes in this fiscal year.