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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China's Number Of Web Users Rises To 513M

January 16, 2012 8:03 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — The number of Internet users in China has surged past 500 million as millions of new Web surfers go online using mobile phones and tablet computers, an industry group reported Monday. The popularity of the Internet in China has driven the explosive growth of profitable Web companies and made fortunes for some Chinese entrepreneurs despite government controls on what the public can see online.

Motorola Says Receives Favorable Court Ruling

January 16, 2012 8:01 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. said Friday it has received a favorable initial determination in patent infringement litigation filed by Apple Inc. According to Motorola Mobility, an administrative law judge in the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an initial determination finding no violation for any of the three Apple patents listed in Apple's suit, which was filed in October 2010.

Malaysia's DRB-Hicom To Buy Carmaker Proton

January 16, 2012 7:58 am | by Eileen Ng, Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom Berhad said Monday it will buy national carmaker Proton in a 3 billion ringgit ($957 million) deal that could help revive Proton's flagging fortunes. DRB-Hicom said it would pay 1.29 billion ringgit ($412 million) for government investment arm Khazanah Nasional's 43 percent stake in Proton.


Six Gadgets That Defined CES

January 16, 2012 7:55 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Cheaper tablets, thinner laptops and an array of sleeker TVs stood out at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. More than 140,000 people gathered there this week, for an event that's growing despite the absence of Apple and more recently, the decision by Microsoft to make this the last year it participates.

Antitrust Suits Target LA Pool Products Company

January 16, 2012 7:51 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana company that bills itself as the world's largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool products is becoming a target for plaintiffs' lawyers filing antitrust lawsuits. In November, Pool Corp. settled claims by the Federal Trade Commission that the Covington-based company used its "monopoly power" to eliminate would-be rivals by pressuring manufacturers not to sell their products to other distributors.

Project To Pour Water Into Volcano To Make Power

January 16, 2012 3:58 am | by Jeff Barnard, Associated Press

Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in Central Oregon this summer to demonstrate new technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise. They hope the water comes back to the surface fast enough and hot enough to create cheap, clean electricity that isn't dependent on sunny skies or stiff breezes — without shaking the earth and rattling the nerves of nearby residents.


Detroit Auto Show Opens To The Public At Cobo

January 16, 2012 3:56 am

DETROIT (AP) — Thousands of people poured through the doors Saturday for the opening of the Detroit auto show, the global industry's annual showcase of new vehicles and concept cars. Industry executives spent the week promoting their brands to news media from around the world. Now it's the public's opportunity to walk the floor and gaze at more than 500 vehicles, through Jan.

Push To Scrap GA Energy Tax Gains Support

January 16, 2012 3:54 am | by Ray Henry, Russ Bynum, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — For manufacturing giant Shaw Industries, producing carpet in north Georgia costs the company millions of dollars in sales taxes that it wouldn't have to pay in most parts of the nation. That's because Georgia is one of the few remaining states that requires manufacturers to pay sales tax on electricity, natural gas and other energy they consume to produce goods — whether they're building Gulfstream business jets in Savannah or brewing Miller beer in Albany.


CA Imposes Battery Charger Standards

January 16, 2012 3:51 am | by Noaki Schwartz, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has declared war on vampires, but this time it's no Hollywood monster flick. The state will be the first in the nation to target so-called vampire battery chargers that suck up and waste as much as 60 percent of the electricity they consume. The California Energy Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday to regulate such power-sapping chargers despite objections by consumer product makers.

Natural Gas Price Plunge Aids Businesses

January 16, 2012 3:47 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of natural gas is plummeting at a pace that has caught even the experts off guard. A 35 percent collapse in the futures price over the past year has been a boon to homeowners who use natural gas for heat and appliances and to manufacturers who power their factories and make chemicals and materials with it.


Apple Discloses Suppliers For The First Time

January 16, 2012 3:45 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple has disclosed a list of its suppliers for the iPhone, iPad and other popular gadgets for the first time amid growing criticism over labor and environmental practices, especially in China. The list for years has been strictly and fervently protected. Even a glimpse of an Apple iPhone or its components before a public release became a source of intrigue and controversy.


Unemployment Applications Jump To 399,000

January 13, 2012 7:56 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Applications for weekly unemployment benefits spiked last week, largely because companies let go of thousands of workers after the holiday season. Weekly applications rose by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 399,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest level in six weeks.

Colfax Closes $2.3B Deal For Charter International

January 13, 2012 7:54 am

FULTON, Md. (AP) — Pump and valve maker Colfax Corp. on Friday said that it closed a $2.3 billion acquisition of Charter International plc after approval by a regulator and the boards and shareholders of both companies. Colfax said in September that it would buy Charter, which owns two engineering businesses, in a cash-and-stock deal worth about 1.

IN Dems: Voters Should Decide Right-To-Work

January 13, 2012 7:52 am | by Tom LoBianco, Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Democrats want voters to decide the fate of a right-to-work bill or else they'll continue stall tactics designed to derail the contentious legislation, the House minority leader said Friday. A statewide referendum should decide whether Indiana will become the 23rd state to ban union contracts that include mandatory representation fees, House Democratic leader Patrick Bauer said.

November Trade Deficit Hits $47.8B

January 13, 2012 7:50 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in November for the first time in five months, largely because of a spike in the price of imported oil. Still, exports fell for a second straight month, a sign that Europe's slowdown has begun to affect the U.S. economy. The trade gap rose 10.

Man Sentenced For Selling Dow Secrets To China

January 13, 2012 7:47 am

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A retired Dow Chemical Co. research scientist has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for his conviction on charges that he stole trade secrets from Dow's Plaquemine plant and sold them to companies in China. The Advocate reports ( ) 75-year-old Wen Chyu Liu, also known as David Liou, was sentenced Wednesday U.


Bankrupt Solyndra Eyes Employee Bonuses

January 13, 2012 7:45 am

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A California solar panel manufacturer that received a half-billion dollar loan from the federal government before declaring bankruptcy is asking a Delaware judge to approve up to $500,000 in employee bonuses. A hearing on the request by Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif.

Japan To Reduce Iran Oil Imports, Support U.S.

January 13, 2012 4:00 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan gave a boost Thursday to the U.S. campaign to sanction Iran over its nuclear program, pledging to buy less Iranian oil, a day after China reacted coolly to the U.S. effort. Iran's "nuclear development problem can't be ignored by the world, so from that perspective we understand the U.


Novartis To Cut Nearly 2,000 U.S. Jobs

January 13, 2012 3:59 am

GENEVA (AP) — Drug maker Novartis will cut 1,960 jobs in the United States this year in anticipation of lower sales for two of its hypertension drugs, the Swiss company said Friday. Basel-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG said the cuts will affect 1,630 sales positions in the field and 330 posts at its U.


Survey Shows 2011 Economy Ended Strong

January 13, 2012 3:57 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The final weeks of 2011 were among the U.S. economy's strongest as Americans shopped and traveled more, ending the year with a shot of optimism for 2012. That's the bright picture the Federal Reserve sketched in a survey released Wednesday. It said all but one of its 12 banking districts experienced some growth from late November through the end of the year.


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