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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Caterpillar, UAW Halt Contract Talks

December 20, 2010 3:58 am

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Negotiators for Caterpillar Inc. and the United Auto Workers are taking a break for the holidays and plan to resume talks on a contract on Jan. 11. The contract covers about 9,500 workers at a number of sites around Illinois and in three other states. The two sides met Thursday for about two hours.

Coal Shortages Cause Massive Blackouts In China

December 20, 2010 3:46 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — Communities in central and northern China are facing power cuts and rationing as winter coal supplies fall short of surging demand. Cold weather and transport disruptions typically cause shortages most years, but the problem has been complicated by coal producers' unhappiness over price controls that are crimping their profits.

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Qatar Airways: We're Not Abandoning Boeing, Yet

December 20, 2010 3:39 am | by Adam Schreck, AP Business Writer

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar Airways' CEO voiced confidence in Boeing Co. over its delayed 787 program Saturday, but warned the fast-growing carrier may scrap orders for the planes if development problems drag on. Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker noted, however, that there are no current plans to amend Qatar Airways' multibillion-dollar orders for 30 787s and options for 30 more.

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Lockheed Pays Feds $10.3 Million For Lying About Prices

December 20, 2010 3:38 am | by Greg Bluestein, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Defense company Lockheed Martin Corp. reached a $10.3 million settlement with the federal government Friday to resolve claims that the company's Georgia division inflated rates used to price contracts for the Air Force and Navy between 1996 and 2000. The settlement resolves prosecutors' claims that Lockheed mischarged costs in a commercial contract with Italian company Alenia Aerospazio to develop a tactical transport plane dubbed the C-27J, said U.

Titan Tire Locks Out 1,000 Workers Nationwide

December 20, 2010 3:33 am

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Titan Tire has stopped work at three plants in Illinois, Iowa and Ohio amid contract talks with union members. Quincy, Ill.-based Titan closed plants in Freeport, Ill., Des Moines and Bryan, Ohio, as of 11 p.m. Friday. Titan has been in negotiations with the United Steelworkers union for several months.

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Four Arrested For Insider Trading On Apple's Secrets

December 17, 2010 3:29 am | by Tom Hays, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Manhattan broadened their insider trading crackdown Thursday, arresting four people on charges alleging that so-called "expert consultants" revealed secrets about Apple Inc.'s iPhone and other technology products to hedge funds seeking a trading edge on quarterly earnings reports.

Geithner: Financial Bailout Cost Dips, Now At $25 Billion

December 17, 2010 3:27 am | by Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The eventual cost to taxpayers for the government's $700 billion financial bailout will be less than the $25 billion price tag put on it in the latest estimate, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday. The Congressional Budget Office's most recent estimate is that taxpayers will lose $25 billion on the rescue of automakers, banks and other financial institutions undertaken at the peak of the crisis in the fall of 2008.

A Thief's Delight: Boca Raton's New Gold-Dispensing ATM

December 17, 2010 3:26 am | by Kelli Kennedy, Associated Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Shoppers who are looking for something sparkly to put under the Christmas tree can skip the jewelry and go straight to the source: an ATM that dispenses shiny 24-carat gold bars and coins. A German company planned to install the machine Friday at an upscale mall in Boca Raton, a South Florida paradise of palm trees, pink buildings and wealthy retirees.

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UAW Workers Accept Pay Cuts At Mitsubishi Plant

December 17, 2010 3:21 am | by David Mercer, Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — United Auto Workers members at Mitsubishi Motors North America's plant in Normal ratified a new contract Thursday that includes wage cuts the union has said could determine the fate of the facility and its 1,300 jobs. Seventy-seven percent of the union workers who voted on the deal approved it, UAW local President Ralph Timan said.

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Ford's Louisville Plant Sends Last Explorer Down The Line

December 17, 2010 3:20 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Ford Motor Co.'s Louisville Assembly Plant saw its last Explorer SUV come off the line on Thursday. The plant is shutting down for a $600 million renovation. The Courier-Journal reports it will reopen late next year with new body, paint, and trim assembly lines equipped to produce multiple fuel efficient models.

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The Cost Of Giving Cigarettes To Children: $81 Million

December 17, 2010 3:18 am | by Rodrique Ngowi, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — A tobacco company that had tried to hook black children on cigarettes was ordered Thursday to pay $81 million in punitive damages to the estate and son of a Boston woman who started smoking at age 13, in what an attorney said is one of the largest jury awards of its kind in the United States.

Fisker Automotive To Bring Electric Vehicles To China

December 16, 2010 8:17 am

SHANGHAI — Fisker Automotive, the California manufacturer of premium electric vehicles with extended range, has partnered with the China Grand Automotive Group, the number one passenger car trader in China, to have its vehicles distributed, marketed and serviced in the region. Executives from Fisker and China Grand Auto (CGA) formalized the non-exclusive agreement during a ceremony near CGA headquarters in Shanghai today.

Ten Years Later, Will The Electric Car Fail Again?

December 15, 2010 4:02 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Low gas prices, weak batteries and a lack of cooperation between carmakers and utilities caused past efforts to introduce electric vehicles to fizzle. But this time, advocates say, an alliance of automakers, utilities and regulators are squarely behind an ambitious project to make California a national leader in accommodating electric vehicles for the mainstream car market.

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Obama To Meet CEOs To Negotiate Regulatory Labyrinth

December 15, 2010 3:40 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring is anemic but corporate profits are up, and President Barack Obama is having 20 CEOs over to talk about how to tap that cash to boost jobs. But don't count on the president to reprise the "fat cat" scolding he gave bankers a year ago. No, this is not a woodshed moment.

U.S. Factory Output Grows For Fifth Straight Month

December 15, 2010 3:36 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output grew for the fifth straight month, adding to evidence thatmanufacturing remains an engine of economic growth. The Federal Reserve says output by the nation's factories, utilities and mines increased 0.4 percent in November, after falling 0.2 percent in October.

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GE Expects 'Substantially' Higher Profits In 2011

December 15, 2010 3:34 am

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt said Tuesday he expects the company to deliver "substantially" higher profits in 2011, driven by growth in its industrial division and in China. Revenue in GE's industrial division, which makes everything from windmill turbines to ventilation fans, is expected to grow after being flat in 2010, Immelt said.

Chinese Authorities Nab Bosses Who Enslaved Workers

December 15, 2010 3:33 am

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities have rescued a group of mentally ill workers enslaved in a factory after being sold by a man who purportedly ran a beggars' shelter, state media reported Wednesday. Police on Tuesday nabbed Li Xinglin, the boss of the building materials factory in the far-western Xinjiang region who had fled Sunday after Chinese media reports exposed the plant's working conditions, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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GM's Flint Plant Shut Down Due To Crippling Blizzard

December 15, 2010 3:32 am

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The winter storm pushing through the Midwest forced General Motors Co. to temporarily halt production at its Flint Truck Assembly plant. GM says it sent workers home at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday because of a parts shortage. Hazardous roads in Ontario have closed the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron, Mich.

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China Won't Restrict Rare Earths, But They Will Tax Them

December 15, 2010 3:31 am

BEIJING (AP) — China plans to raise tariffs on some rare earth exports starting next year in a move to limit shipments of the precious metals out of the country, state media said Wednesday. The Ministry of Finance issued a statement saying some rare earth products will have export duties increased beginning Jan.

Chinese Factory Bought, Enslaved Mentally Ill Workers

December 14, 2010 3:54 am

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese official said Tuesday that authorities were on their way to rescue a group of mentally ill workers who state media reports said were enslaved in a factory and given dog food to eat. The official with the civil affairs bureau in Qu county in the southwestern province of Sichuan said authorities took a flight early Tuesday to the western region of Xinjiang.

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