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The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance announced recently that the number of mergers and acquisitions in the Canadian software and computer services industry dropped 52 per cent in 2001, from 105 to 61. The value of the deals fell 82 per cent, from $11.4 billion to $2 billion.

“For the first time since the data was first collected in 1987, the value of the foreign software businesses bought by Canadian software (companies was higher) than vice versa. Canadians spent $952 million buying foreign companies, while foreigners spent $720 million in Canada,” said Dave Paterson, executive director of CATA, which does the study each year.

HP, UCLA push ahead in nanochip chase

Hewlett-Packard Co., in conjunction with the University of California at Los Angeles, has developed technology which will enable it to build complex molecular-scale chips simply and inexpensively, HP said recently.

These chips are about 100 times smaller than today’s standard silicon chips, with their dimensions measured in nanometers rather than micrometers. The chips promise related benefits in higher speeds, lower cost and lower power consumption when they eventually appear in commercial computing devices towards the end of this decade. The technology is based on a three-part patent issued to HP and UCLA covering nanoscale logic gates, molecular-switch memory chips and the ability to connect nanochips to existing microchips, HP said in a statement. Nanotechnology is also expected to be exploited in optical switches, quantum computing devices and biotechnology.

Cell phone safety study to be conducted

A U.K. mobile-telephone task force has been set up to carry out 14 projects looking into potential links between the use of mobile phones and health risks to humans, the U.K. Department of Health announced recently.

Though there is currently no conclusive scientific evidence that the use of mobile phones poses any health risks to humans, the research projects are an attempt to rectify that situation, said Yvette Cooper, minister for public health, and Douglas Alexander, minister for e-commerce and competitiveness, at the Department of Trade and Industry in a joint statement. Human volunteers will be used in some of the studies in the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme, the Department of Health said. The program will be jointly funded by the U.K. government and the mobile-phone industry, to the tune of

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