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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Investigators Seek Answers In Blast That Killed Brothers

December 10, 2010 3:40 am | by Joe Mandak, Associated Press

NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. (AP) — Investigators planned to search Friday for answers to what caused an explosion at a West Virginia chemical plant that killed two brothers in the third fatal blast at the site in 15 years. The blast happened around 1:30 p.m. at the AL Solutions Inc. plant in New Cumberland, a small town in West Virginia's northern Panhandle about 33 miles west of Pittsburgh.

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GM Was Humbled By Its 'Near-Death Experience'

December 10, 2010 3:39 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top executive at General Motors says the company was humbled by its "near-death experience" and hopes to rebound from its bankruptcy two years ago. GM CEO Dan Akerson says in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., that the automaker is making strides after its large initial public offering in November.

Ill. Manufacturing Execs Plead Guilty To Loan Fraud

December 10, 2010 3:37 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Three people who pleaded guilty earlier this year to fraudulently borrowing $213 million from 85 lenders for a now-bankrupt Bloomington, Ill. company have been sentenced to prison. Former Wildwood Industries plant manager Dominic F. Propersi of Bloomington was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.

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RIM Stock Could Drop Under Heavy Fire From Google

December 8, 2010 3:48 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Research in Motion Ltd.'s stock could fall over 3 percent over the next 12 months, said one analyst, as the company's line of BlackBerry smart phones continue to lose market share to phones running Google Inc.'s popular Android software. Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu maintained his "Hold" rating on the company, which suggests it will perform in line with similar companies over the coming year.

Fortune Brands To Keep Jim Beam, Ditch Everything Else

December 8, 2010 3:47 am | by Mae Anderson, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Consumer products maker Fortune Brands Inc. plans to split into three separate companies, keeping its liquor business led by Jim Beam bourbon while shedding the businesses that make Titleist golf balls, Moen faucets and Master Locks. Fortune Brands said Wednesday it will focus on its spirits business which generates annual revenue of $2.

Concrete Maker's President Pleads Guilty To Price Fixing

December 8, 2010 3:45 am

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The president of an Iowa ready-mix concrete company has pleaded guilty in a price fixing case. The Justice Department says Chad Van Zee pleaded guilty on Monday in U.S District Court in Sioux City, and agreed to cooperate with the department's ongoing antitrust investigation.

Is It A Scam? Nigeria Sues Cheney, Halliburton For Bribery

December 8, 2010 3:44 am | by Jon Gambrell, Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's anti-corruption agency on Tuesday charged former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney over a bribery scheme involving oil services firm Halliburton Co. during the time he served as its top executive, a spokesman said. The charges stem from a case involving as much as $180 million allegedly paid in bribes to Nigerian officials, said Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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Firm Cited By OSHA: Dust Isn't Hazardous To Our Workers

December 8, 2010 3:39 am

COFFEEN, Ill. (AP) — A worksite in central Illinois has been cited by the federal government for willfully exposing workers to dangerous levels of hazardous dust without providing protective breathing equipment. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday it has cited U.

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FBI Issues Alert For 'Barbie Video Girl'

December 8, 2010 3:36 am | by Terry Collins, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The FBI says it recently issued an alert about a popular Barbie doll with a hidden video camera that could be used to produce child pornography, but stressed that the toy has not been linked with any reported crimes. FBI spokesman Steve Dupre said Tuesday the alert last month was meant only for law enforcement agencies to advise them not to overlook Mattel's "Barbie Video Girl" during any searches.

Americans Ready To Spend On Frivolous Coffee, Lacy Bras

December 7, 2010 4:06 am | by Ellen Gibson, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Few companies were clobbered harder than Starbucks in the recession. The coffee chain with outposts on every corner came to represent all that was wrong with American businesses and shoppers: unchecked expansion, self-indulgence and mindless credit-card swiping. But now customers who swore off frivolous spending during the recession are lining up again for their $4 caffeine fix.

Google Admits Getting Overwhelmed By Nexus One

December 7, 2010 3:59 am | by Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The head of Google's Android mobile operating software says the search company "bit off a little more than we could chew" with the sale of the Nexus One, a smart phone Google began selling online early this year but then stopped offering after similar devices powered by Android hit the market.

RV Manufacturers Turning A Profitable Corner, Slowly

December 7, 2010 3:44 am | by Bruce Schriener, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — American families are ready to hitch up their trailers and tow the RV industry out of its worst stretch in nearly two decades. The industry was driven into the ditch last year by the Great Recession. Sales plunged, plants closed and thousands of jobs were cut as orders for recreational vehicles dropped to their worse level since 1991.

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Chrysler Invests $850M In Mich., Shows Off New Sedans

December 7, 2010 3:41 am

Sterling Heights, Mich. — Chrysler Group LLC celebrated the extension of production, the addition of a second shift and an $850 million investment at an event today at its Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant. The celebration also marked the start of production of the all-new 2011 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger.

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Boeing Puts Three-Week Hold On 787 Assembly

December 7, 2010 3:39 am

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing Co. puts a three-week hold on assembling new 787s. Boeing said on Monday that the hold began late last month. It says it is not asking the companies that make parts for the 787 to slow or stop production. The latest delay comes as Boeing deals with the aftermath of an electrical fire during a test flight last month.

Ford Focus Goes Global In Massive Cost-Savings Gamble

December 7, 2010 3:39 am

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. on Monday started high-volume production of its new Focus compact at its Saarlouis factory in Germany, the company said. Early U.S. production of the car is now under way at a factory near Detroit, with the Focus due in U.S. showrooms early next year. The car, designed in Europe for sale in 120 markets around the globe, will be built in mid-2011 in St.

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Kraft Seeks Injunction Against Starbucks

December 6, 2010 4:14 am

NORTHFIELD, Illinois (AP) — Kraft Foods is seeking a preliminary injunction against Starbucks, saying Monday that the coffee chain violated terms of a distribution deal. The two businesses began arbitration proceedings late last month as Kraft tried to prevent Starbucks from ending an agreement to distribute and promote its packaged coffee in stores.

Factory Orders Slipped In October On Cooled Demand

December 6, 2010 4:00 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell in October by the largest amount in five months, reflecting a big drop in demand for aircraft. Factory orders declined 0.9 percent in October, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the first setback since June and the biggest decline since a 1.

U.S., South Korea Sign Job-Creating Trade Agreement

December 6, 2010 3:51 am | by Julie Pace and Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. and South Korea have reached an agreement on America's largest trade pact in more than a decade, a highly coveted deal the Obama administration hopes will boost U.S. exports and create tens of thousands of jobs at home. After a week of marathon negotiations, representatives from both countries broke through a stalemate Friday morning on outstanding issues related to the automobile industry, which have been a sticking point in the talks.

Mazda CEO: Ford Hasn't Abandoned Us

December 6, 2010 3:41 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automaker Mazda remains committed to its 30-year-old technical and strategic alliance with Ford although the US company is no longer its top shareholder, Mazda's chief said Monday. Ford cut its stake in Mazda from 11 percent to 3.5 percent last month, marking a symbolic shift in a longtime U.

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American Voices: How Would You Jumpstart The Economy?

December 6, 2010 3:40 am

The Associated Press asked people around the country to share their ideas on jump-starting the economy. Some responses: More stimulus: Carolyn Morrison is a Wake County, N.C., school board member who has spent more than 45 years in education. The public school she attended as a child in Lumberton, N.

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