PITTSBURGH (AP) — The former chief executive of a defunct western Pennsylvania soft-drink maker is scheduled to change his not guilty plea to charges that he perpetrated an $806 million bank fraud then allegedly sold or tried to sell millions of dollars' worth of gold, jewels and other valuables he's accused of buying with money stolen from the company.
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors said Friday that pricing for its new Chevrolet Sonic will start at just under $15,000 when the sub-compact car hits dealer lots this fall. Base models of the 2012 Sonic will start at $14,495 including the destination charge, but excluding tax, title, license and dealer fees.
REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a water tank explosion that killed a worker at a sewage treatment plant in Redding. The Shasta County coroner's office says 54-year-old Fred Crumb died Thursday afternoon after suffering critical head injuries in the explosion. The Redding Record-Searchlight reports that Crumb was critically injured when the explosion blew the top off a 4,500-gallon steel tank at the Clear Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
PARIS (AP) — French authorities are investigating two new suspected cases of E. coli linked to hamburger patties that have already sickened seven children, the health minister said Friday. Health authorities have ordered a recall of 10 tons of the frozen beef patties produced in France and sold by the German supermarket chain Lidl, but say there is no link to a deadly outbreak of the virus in neighboring Germany.
DENVER (AP) — The criminal trial over the deaths of five workers at a Colorado hydroelectric plant has reached the half-way point. Federal prosecutors rested their case against Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy and a subsidiary on Thursday, allowing company lawyers to begin presenting their case Friday.
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will invest $65 million in two plants and create or retain 163 jobs at those sites so it can make more four-cylinder engines. GM will add capacity at its Tonawanda, NY, plant to make engines for its Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers. It will invest $33 million there and create or retain 100 jobs.
NEW YORK (AP) — A private research group said the economy is rebounding from its spring slump and should grow modestly through the fall. The Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.8 percent last month. That's an improvement from April, when the index dropped 0.
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. says it will expand its hydraulic excavator plantcurrently under construction in Victoria, Texas, and add 100 more jobs to the original plans for 500 employees. Caterpillar announced the $130 million, 850,000 square foot plant in August.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Plastics manufacturer Presto Products Co. is expanding its operations in Halifax County, creating 22 jobs over the next three years. Gov. Bob McDonnell said Friday that the company will invest $6 million to add five new manufacturing lines. Presto is a supplier of products ranging from private label food and disposer bags to packaging closures, soil stabilization materials and specialty stretch films.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co. has sued its friend-turned-foe Oracle Corp. in another sign of how badly the relationship between the information technology big shots has frayed. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, accuses Oracle of behaving illegally in deciding that future versions of its database software won't support a particular line of HP servers.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's jobless rate in May dipped below double digits for the first time since early 2009, but high gas and food prices coupled with supply disruptions from Japan that hit manufacturing "weighed down" the job market, a state labor official said Thursday. The unemployment rate fell to 9.
TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.'s quarterly results on Thursday provided fresh evidence of the company's struggles to come up with a device to compete with the iPhone and smartphones running Google's Android operating system. The Waterloo, Ontario, company reported a nearly 10 percent drop in its fiscal first-quarter net income.
WASHINGTON (AP) — About 30,000 bunk beds have been recalled because of the threat of children becoming entrapped in the bed, a federal consumer agency said Thursday. A 3-year-old Iowa boy died after such a mishap in March 2010. Big Lots of Columbus, Ohio, issued the voluntary recall of the metal futon bunk beds, which can entrap a child when the futon and its metal frame are lowered to a flat position.
TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — President Akio Toyoda promised shareholders a revived Toyota despite the production disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami that decimated northeastern Japan on March 11, and first offered his prayers for those killed. The disaster dominated Friday's annual shareholders at Toyota Motor Corp.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The chief financial officer of United Technologies Corp. said Thursday that Boeing Co. will ultimately prevail in its battle with the National Labor Relations Board over the plane-maker's decision to build a non-union production line in South Carolina. At an investor analyst conference, Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes said unions and their political allies are on the losing side of the argument.
WESTPORT, Connecticut (AP) — Machinery products manufacturer Terex Corp. raised its offer for Demag Cranes AG on Thursday by more than 9 percent to $1.38 billion, and the German company indicated it expects to be able to recommend that its shareholders accept it. Terex's German unit is now offering euro45.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and builders broke ground on more homes in May. The latest data offered some hope that the economy may be improving after hitting a slump in late spring. Unemployment benefit applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the Labor Department said.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — BMW in South Carolina is adding a new shift of workers in October to increase production by at least 20,000 more vehicles. BMW president of manufacturing Josef Kerscher says the Greer plant is at capacity after a $750 million expansion. Kerscher says he wants to move from 240,000 vehicles to more than 260,000 vehicles annually.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As IBM turns 100 this year, the anniversary coincides with another milestone: CEO Sam Palmisano is turning 60, the typical age at which an IBM CEO retires. With succession chatter growing, Palmisano has tried to tamp down speculation that he's ready to step aside, even as he's put a spotlight on his possible heirs.
PARIS (AP) — Boeing Co. upped its forecast Thursday for aircraft demand over the next 20 years, saying airlines will need $4 trillion worth of new planes to meet a pickup in passenger numbers, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Airlines will need 33,500 new jets from now through 2030, Boeing said in a statement.