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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

EU Probes Samsung, Germany Blocks Its Tablets

January 31, 2012 4:05 am | by David Rising, Gabriele Steinhauser, Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — Samsung took a hit in its battle against arch-rival Apple on Tuesday, when the European Union announced it will investigate whether it is illegally trying to hinder competitors and Germany blocked sales of some of its tablets. Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. are engaged in a strategic war over patents in many countries across the world as they try to draw market share away from each other.

Analysts: RIM Is Losing Interest

January 31, 2012 4:03 am

MONTREAL — Research In Motion's new marketing campaign to attract more consumers in the United States only calls attention to its lack of new smartphones and its vulnerable position in the marketplace, analysts said Monday. "It's like saying, 'I am wounded, please look at me,'" said Raymond Pirouz, who lectures in marketing and new media at the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University in London, Ont.

Japanese Suppliers To Pay Price-Fixing Fine

January 31, 2012 3:59 am | by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Japanese auto suppliers have agreed to pay more than half a billion dollars in criminal fines for a price-fixing conspiracy in the sale of parts to U.S. automakers, the Justice Department announced Monday. Yazaki Corp. agreed to pay a $470 million fine, the second-largest criminal fine obtained for an antitrust violation.


Boeing Closure Spurs Interest By Job Recruiters

January 30, 2012 8:26 am

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aerospace companies seeking engineers and other workers have been reaching out to Boeing Co. following its announcement this month that it will close its plant in Wichita. Boeing, which employs 600 engineers at the Wichita plant, plans to move some of the work to its facilities in Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Seattle over the next two years.


Suit Claims Silicon Valley Anti-Poaching Scheme

January 30, 2012 8:24 am | by Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press

SAN JOSE, California (AP) — In Silicon Valley's white-hot competition for tech talent, programmers can face a daily barrage of calls from recruiters seeking to woo them to rival companies with offers of better pay and perks. But workers for some of the biggest names in the business claim their phones fell silent because of a conspiracy among their employers.

ABB To Buy Thomas & Betts For $3.9B

January 30, 2012 8:20 am | by John Heilprin, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd. said Monday that it has agreed to pay $3.9 billion in cash for Thomas & Betts Corp., a deal that boosts its market presence in North America. The Zurich-based maker of power and automation technology and the Memphis, Tennessee-based supplier of low-voltage products jointly announced that both companies' boards have agreed to ABB paying $72 a share for the U.

Incomes Up, But Consumer Spending Flat

January 30, 2012 8:18 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans' income rose in December by the most in nine months, a hopeful sign for the economy after a year of weak wage gains. But consumers didn't spend any more than they had in November. Americans ended up saving all their additional income. Economists noted that income rose last month largely because of strong hiring.

Gov't Steps Up Jeep Air Bag Probe

January 30, 2012 8:14 am

DETROIT (AP) — Federal safety regulators have stepped up their investigation into the Jeep Liberty SUV after 50 people reported they were hurt when the air bags inflated even though the vehicle wasn't involved in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started investigating Liberty SUVs made by Chrysler Group LLC from the 2002 and 2003 model years in September.


WTO: China Unfairly Limits Raw Materials Exports

January 30, 2012 8:12 am | by John Heilprin, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization ruled Monday that China unfairly limited exports of nine raw materials to protect domestic manufacturers. A WTO appeals body rejected China's appeal of an earlier ruling in July that concluded the Asian economic powerhouse had violated international trade rules.

BMW Launches Eco-Friendly Sedans

January 30, 2012 4:05 am

TOKYO, Jan. 30 (Kyodo) — BMW Japan Corp. said Monday it began selling in Japan its fully-remodeled series of BMW 3 sedans, which will qualify for tax breaks as well as planned subsidies for environment-friendly vehicles. The new 328i models, equipped with 2.0-liter engines and auto-stop functions, have a fuel economy of 15.

Graham's 3Q Profit Doubles

January 30, 2012 4:04 am

BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) — Industrial equipment maker Graham Corp. said Friday that fiscal third-quarter earnings doubled on better prices and higher revenue from an acquisition. CEO James R. Lines said the company believes it's in "the early stages of a global industrial recovery." Net income rose to $1.


Facebook IPO Could Value It Among Top Companies

January 30, 2012 4:02 am | by Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Facebook makes its long-expected debut as a public company this spring, the social-networking company will likely vault into the ranks of the largest public companies in the world, alongside McDonald's, and Bank of America. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Facebook is preparing to file initial paperwork for an offering that could raise as much as $10 billion and value the company at $75 billion to $100 billion.

Serbia To Buy Loss-Making U.S. Steel Plant

January 30, 2012 4:00 am | by Dusan Stojanovic, Associated Press

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia's government has agreed with U.S. Steel to buy back its loss-making plant in the Balkan country for a symbolic $1, with a goal to avoid its closure and the layoff of 5,400 of its workers, the prime minister said Friday. Mirko Cvetkovic said the formal agreement with the Pittsburgh-based giant will be signed next Tuesday.


CA Passes New Auto Emission Rules

January 30, 2012 3:58 am | by Jason Dearen, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Seeking to influence other states and Washington, California air regulators passed sweeping auto emission standards Friday that include a mandate to have 1.4 million electric and hybrid vehicles on state roads by 2025. The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved the new rules that require that one in seven of the new cars sold in the state in 2025 be an electric or other zero-emission vehicle.

After 70 Years, Right-To-Work Impact Still Unclear

January 30, 2012 3:56 am | by Tom LoBianco, Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The battle over the right-to-work issue may be reaching a conclusion in Indiana as the state prepares to adopt its law, but the argument over exactly what the measure means for a state's economy is likely to rage on, unresolved, as it has for 70 years. Since the 1940s, 22 states have passed laws barring unions from collecting mandatory fees from workers for labor representation.

Briggs & Stratton To Cut 767 Jobs

January 27, 2012 8:15 am

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Engine maker Briggs & Stratton Corp. on Thursday said it will close a plant in Tennessee and shift the work to Georgia, eliminating about 690 jobs in the U.S., as it adjusts to a changing market for outdoor equipment. The company is also closing a plant in the Czech Republic, which will result in 77 job cuts there.


Cooper Tire Workers Get Pay Increases

January 27, 2012 8:13 am

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — Union members at Cooper Tire and Rubber Co.'s Texarkana plant will see their pay go up for their first time since 2008, when members agreed to millions in concessions to save the plant from closure. Members of United Steelworkers Local 752L approved a four-year contract 1,006-141 on Thursday.


F-35 Fighter Pushes Sales Abroad

January 27, 2012 8:09 am | by Eric Talmadge, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Detractors say the F-35 stealth fighter, the costliest military plane ever, is destined to go down as one of the biggest follies in aviation history. But it may have found a savior: deep-pocketed U.S. allies hungry to add its super high-tech capabilities to their arsenal.

Chu: Energy Standard Would Broaden Market

January 27, 2012 8:07 am | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that the creation of a federal clean energy standard would serve as a big step toward creating a nationwide market that would spur more innovation in renewable energy technology. Many states already require a certain percentage of a utility's electricity to come from solar, wind and other renewable resources, but Chu said the nationalizing of those efforts could pay off with hundreds of millions of dollars more in investments by private companies.

Unions Add Members As Jobs Return

January 27, 2012 8:05 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Union membership grew slightly last year, giving labor leaders hope that a period of steep declines has finally bottomed out. The number of unionized workers increased by about 50,000 to nearly 14.8 million members in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.


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