News in brief

GEC in US comms deal

GEC underlined its aim of becoming a global telecommunications firm with the £1.3bn purchase this week of Reltec Corp, a US network products group. The deal comes just six weeks after GEC agreed to sell its defence business to British Aerospace for £7bn.

Gas monopoly ends

Ofgas published proposals this week for a new regime for the wholesale buying and selling of gas, which remove pipeline operator Transco’s monopoly.

Census jobs

US defence giant Lockheed Martin has won the £50m contract to run the next census in April 2001. It will create 1,000 jobs in the UK.

Batteries on charge

The US has delayed imposing sanctions on UK-made batteries over the ‘banana war’ between the EU and the US. This is while an arbitration panel seeks more information on the EU banana regime.

Defence Foresight

The DTI has launched eight new defence and aerospace research partnership schemes under its Technology Foresight programme. They include rotorcraft aero-mechanics, advanced metallic airframes and advanced engine materials.

Exporting made easy

A computerised export licence form has been introduced by the DTI to simplify licence applications. It can be downloaded at: export.control.

Women engineers

There are now 357 women chartered engineers in the navy and 371 in the RAF, according to defence minister Doug Henderson.

Scots power bid

The US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have ruled that Scottish Power’s £4.7bn takeover of Pacificorp posed no anti-trust problems.