An entrepreneurial duo is in talks with Victoria and New South Wales state governments to establish a production factory for their new military-grade, reusable and environmentally-friendly, Australian designed protective masks.
Adrian Critchlow, co-founder of Booking.com, and Mehdi Qerim, Managing Director of Solid Foundation Investments, are in the final stages of settling on a location for their multi-functional and environmentally friendly protective face covering.
Mechanical engineer and clean-tech investor Critchlow told Epoch Times that both are keen to commence production as soon as possible, “weve narrowed it down to two sites, one in Ballarat and one in Adelong for our manufacturing base,” he said. There is also interest from “governments about their requirements in terms of emergency services, and were talking to a number of corporates.”
Ambulance services in Victoria and NSW have already agreed to trial their masks.
Made In Australia
Developing an all Australian supply chain was important for the ActiveMasks co-founders who note the need for masks will not dissipate until the pandemic ends.
“Australians, particularly Victorians, will be required to wear masks for some time into the future. It will remain a critical piece of equipment for many years on the other side of the current COVID-19 crisis,” said Critchlow
“ActiveMask will be entirely designed and constructed right here in Victoria. It is important that Australia develops its own supply pipeline for sophisticated, protective masks,” Qerim said.
The friends also have plans to take their product global.
“We have already had enquiries from the UK, United States and Asia, so we see a sizable export opportunity for a quality manufactured Australian mask,” they said
ActiveMask will use an automated manufacturing process and expects to generate hundreds of jobs at the new site.
Critchlow said the balance of automated machinery and labour enables them to compete with low-labour-force countries.
Inspired by Loss
The co-founders set out to create a long-lasting, reuseable mask after Critchlows elderly father lost his life due to COVID-19. At the aged care home, he saw first hand how concerning face-covering standards were for health care workers.
“Many single-use and fabric mask designs have significant drawbacks that limit their efficacy putting the wearer at potential risk, and they are made of melt-blown plastic, which ends up in landfill or our waterways,” he noted.
“Were already seeing hundreds of them being audited and removed from Australias register of therapeutic goods given they dont adequately prevent infection,” Critchlow said.
The experience inspired him and friend Qerim to develop a mask suitable for a variety of infectious diseases and other life–threatening situations, including bushfires.
Their product named ActiveMask, partly developed with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is made up of two layers: an activated carbon layer—originalRead More – Source
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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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