ExColonels wife shot dead

The wife of a former army colonel was shot dead at Wijeyarama, Nugegoda late this evening, the police said.According to the police, Jayanthi Sunila Jayaratne (65) was alone at home at the time of the shooting. Unidentified gunmen had forced their way into her house and shot her twice using a T-56 weapon.The motive for the shooting is still not known. The Mirihana police are conducting investigations. (Colombo Gazette)

SAMOA From weeds to electricity UN partnership aims to connect families to

“This is the first time ever in Samoa that you produce electricity from biogas,” said Mina Weydalh, Energy Analyst and acting head of the energy unit at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) office in the country. “It’s not a new technology. They do it in Europe, and they do it in China. But it’s new in Samoa.” To showcase the bio-fuel partnership, delegates at the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference set to begin on Monday in the Samoan capital, Apia, will be riding around in 15 six-seater electric carts partially fueled by organic waste. The project is run by UNDP, along with Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).MNRE’s collaboration with the non-governmental organization ‘Youth With A Mission’ laid the foundation for the project. “The system we have here is not big enough to power all those golf carts completely but we are going to give them a little top up,” Ms. Weydalh told the UN News Centre standing next to a cart that was being charged from a biogas digester. Reminiscent of a large white propane tank, the biogas digester breaks down organic waste through a fermentation process that does not use air. The methane is then fed into a generator to produce electricity. In the southern coast village of Piu, plans are underway to use this same technology to build a much larger bio-digester that can provide power for six families. Additional energy can be sold back to the national grid, generating income for the community. The project is part of the regional Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Programme (PIGGAREP). Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the project is now supporting Piu to build and manage a power station fuelled entirely by local organic waste. The Danish Government, added another $3 million to be used by Samoa and eight other countries in the region.“This project is quite interesting because we are going to use a vine, it’s called the Merremia vine. That is an invasive vine to Samoa and, if you go out to the outer areas of Samoa, you’ll see it covers everything,” Ms. Weydalh noted, describing a type of ‘Morning Glory’. The vine is blamed for killing more than 60 per cent of Samoa’s forests. But as biomass, it could be fuel for bioenergy. “The goal is to demonstrate the viability of biogas solutions on the island, while at the same time stopping the spread of the invasive vine,” UNDP has said. Samoa, like many other Pacific island states, is very heavily dependent on generators that run on either diesel or petrol, and which have to be shipped to the island. The country imports up to 100 million litres of petrol per year, of which nearly half are used for transport, according to official figures. Seventy per cent of the power consumption in Samoa comes from fossil fuel, according to the UN agency. Most of the remaining 30 per cent is hydro power. “Samoa is lucky because they have a little bit of mountains,” said Ms.Weydalh, “but many of the island states are flat. They’re atoll, so they don’t have any hydro because you need a little height difference to do hydro.”Biogas, then, offers potential for development in small island developing states, particularly at the community level. Whereas wind or hydropower systems can be large generating thousands of megawatts, bio-fuel systems such as the one being demonstrated the UN conference is “something that a smaller village or a smaller household in the community can invest in,” the energy expert noted. She added that the price of one kilowatt hour in Samoa is roughly an “extremely expensive” 45 cents, as compared with the rest of the world. As the UN conference on small island developing states officially kicks on Monday, the carts run on bio-fuel are meant to be reminders of successful partnerships and how to expand them.“This can produce electricity,” Ms. Weydalh said. “That’s what we’re demonstrating here, to get people talking.” read more

GE to buy both Industrea and Fairchild in major mining equipment move

first_imgGE has made a surprise entry into the mobile mining equipment OEM world with announced acquisitions of two important underground mining equipment manufacturers which it says is “in support of the global expansion of its mining business.” GE has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of Australia-based Industrea Ltd, the provider of safety and productivity-enhancing mining equipment and services. The company also signed a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) to acquire Fairchild International, the independently owned and operated underground coal mining equipment manufacturer located in Glen Lyn, Virginia.The Industrea transaction is valued at approximately A$700 million, but terms of the Fairchild agreement were not disclosed. The company stated: “The combination of the two entities expands GE’s product offering to address approximately 35% of the underground mining value chain. Industrea Ltd and Fairchild International together are well positioned in dynamic growth regions for mining, including Australia, China (Industrea), and the United States (Fairchild). GE will enable these regionally focused enterprises to reach a global customer base with enhanced products based on GE’s clean propulsion systems, energy storage offering, and world-class system integration capabilities. Both Industrea Ltd. and Fairchild International will benefit from GE’s lean manufacturing and effective global supply chain management.” Both companies will become part of GE Transportation’s global mining business which already works with mines to provide innovative solutions in critical areas such as power, water, and productivity.With more than 700 employees, seven Australian locations, and a significant presence in China, Industrea is said to be well positioned for growth across its four divisions: Mining Equipment (flame- and explosion-proof underground mining vehicles and equipment), Mining Technology (drill guidance systems and collision avoidance systems), Gas Management (specialised underground in-seam drilling and gas drainage services) and Mining Services (integrated contract mining services). With the proposed acquisition of Industrea, GE makes a strategic investment in expanding its manufacturing footprint to Australia and contributing to a strong industrial manufacturing base in the country. In addition, GE expands its product portfolio to underground mining and increases its presence in key mining regions Australia and China. Industrea is to “benefit from GE’s global footprint and customer relationships, and mining technologies.” The transaction will be subject to shareholder approval. Industrea shareholders will vote on the offer in the second half of 2012. The transaction is also subject to customary conditions including relevant regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close later in 2012.In the other deal, GE Transportation signed a LOI to acquire Virginia-based, independently owned and operated Fairchild International. The company employs approximately 150 people and manufactures a wide range of underground coal mining equipment, including diesel and battery-powered scoops, continuous miners, haulage systems, shield haulers, and maintenance vehicles. With this acquisition, GE again aims to expand its product offering to underground mining but also grow Fairchild’s customer base beyond its core US market to serve mining customers worldwide. Lorenzo Simonelli, President and CEO of GE Transportation said: “With the acquisition of Fairchild International we will combine nearly fifty years of leading industry knowledge and expertise in designing, building and servicing underground mining equipment with GE’s global reach, technology leadership in clean propulsion and energy storage systems, and world-class system integration capabilities. We will bring the next generation of top performing underground mining equipment to mining customers around the globe.”last_img read more