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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Toyota Recalls 437,000 Priuses For Braking Software

February 9, 2010 3:29 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota says it is recalling about 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems — the latest in a string of embarrassing safety lapses at the world's largest automaker. "I don't see Toyota as an infallible company that never makes mistakes," President Akio Toyoda said at a press conference Tuesday in Tokyo.

Conn. Governor Calls For Review Of Safety Codes

February 8, 2010 10:20 am | by John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's governor is calling for a review of state safety codes following a deadly explosion at a power plant in Middletown. Rell announced Monday that she is creating two panels — one to identify the cause and origin of Sunday's explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant and any contributing factors, such as construction problems, worker safety issues and licensing or permitting matters.

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Caterpillar Backs Experimental Clean-Coal Plant

February 8, 2010 10:14 am

MATTOON, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment, plans to join a coalition of companies planning to build an experimental clean-coal power plant known as FutureGen, key politicians announced Monday. Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin said the addition of Caterpillar comes on the heels of a decision by Chicago-based Exelon Corp.

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GM Announces Heavy-Duty Biofuel Pickups

February 8, 2010 6:38 am

NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors said Monday its new lineup of heavy-duty diesel pickups will be capable of running on a biodiesel blend fuel. The pickups will run on B20 fuel, which is a mix of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent conventional diesel. The new Duramax engine, which can run on the biodiesel blend, will power the redesigned 2011 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, as well as the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.

Lockheed Tests Unmanned Helicopter

February 8, 2010 5:42 am

DUGWAY, Utah (AP) — Lockheed Martin Corp. said Monday it and Kaman Corp. successfully demonstrated an unmanned helicopter designed to resupply troops in Afghanistan. The defense contractor said it conducted a series of remote-control flight tests for the K-MAX aircraft last week in subfreezing temperatures at the U.

Endeavour Takes Last Nighttime Shuttle Launch

February 8, 2010 4:06 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Endeavour and six astronauts rocketed into orbit Monday on what's likely the last nighttime launch for the shuttle program, hauling a new room and observation deck for the International Space Station. The space shuttle took flight before dawn, igniting the sky with a brilliant flash seen for miles around.

Economy Reached Breaking-Point In December

February 8, 2010 3:55 am | by Mike Schneider, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Weakness in Western energy-producing states helped raise the average U.S. county's economic stress in December to its highest point since the recession began in December 2007, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis of conditions in more than 3,100 U.S. counties. States such as Alaska, Wyoming and Montana lost jobs related in part to a drop in energy and mining exploration.

Beijing Finds 170 Tons In Tainted Milk Crackdown

February 8, 2010 3:50 am | by Cara Anna, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China has found another 170 tons of tainted milk powder in an emergency crackdown that has made it increasingly clear many products discovered in the country's 2008 milk scandal were repackaged for sale instead of destroyed. The growing number of cases in recent weeks challenges the government's earlier promise to overhaul its approach to food safety after hundreds of thousands of children in that scandal were sickened by milk products tainted with an industrial chemical.

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Boeing 747-8 Freighter Takes First Flight Today

February 8, 2010 3:41 am | by George Tibbits, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing Co.'s giant 747-8 freighter should make its first flight Monday after performing well on taxi tests and reaching a top speed of about 103.5 mph, the company said. At 250 feet long, the plane is the largest Boeing has ever built and about 18 feet longer than the existing 747-400 jumbo jet.

Toyota Pulling Strings With Washington Pals

February 8, 2010 3:36 am | by Sharon Theimer, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota has friends in high places in Washington, including some of the very people now investigating the Japanese automaker. The company has sought to sow good will and win allies with lobbying, charitable giving, racing in the American-as-apple pie NASCAR series and, perhaps most important, creating jobs.

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Power Plant Blast Kills 5, 95 Percent Workers Accounted For

February 8, 2010 3:27 am | by John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writer

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut fire official says at least 95 percent of the nearly 100 workers who were at a power plant that exploded are accounted for. Middletown Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano said Monday that most of the workers are accounted for, judging by conversations with contractors and labor union officials.

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Chinese Seller Of Phony Cisco Parts Gets 2.5 Years

February 5, 2010 10:02 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Chinese businessman who sold phony Cisco computer parts to U.S. buyers has been sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles announced the sentence Friday against Yongcai Li. He also was ordered to repay nearly $800,000 to Cisco Systems Inc.

Wis. Gov. Signs Green Jobs Bill To Rake In Stimulus Cash

February 5, 2010 9:57 am

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Jim Doyle says a bill he signed into law will help the state increase access to federal bonds and create hundreds of jobs in Wisconsin. Doyle signed the bill Friday at Energy Composites, a wind blade manufacturing plant in Wisconsin Rapids. The bill allows cities and counties to tap into unused bonding authority given under the federal stimulus law.

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GM Supplier, SL America, To Add 300 Jobs With $35m Expansion

February 5, 2010 8:38 am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Auto parts supplier SL America will add 300 jobs in a $35 million expansion at its SL Tennessee LLC plant in Clinton. A statement from Tennessee economic development director Matt Kisber's office said the new jobs in the planned $35 million expansion will be created by the end of 2010.

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BAE Systems Closes Tenn. Plant, Cuts 173 Jobs

February 5, 2010 5:04 am

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Defense contractor BAE Systems said it is permanently closing its manufacturingplant in East Tennessee in a move that will eliminate 173 jobs. The plant in Grainger County made body armor for the military. Joe Coltman, vice president of personnel protection systems, said in a statement provided to the Knoxville News Sentinel that the permanent closure would be effective Friday.

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Toy Company Fined $200K For Leaded Winnie The Pooh

February 5, 2010 3:54 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. company has agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty to settle allegations it violated U.S. law when it imported Thomas and Friends, Curious George and Winnie the Pooh toys with high levels of lead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission alleged that Schylling Associates Inc.

Prius Recall Highlights Dangers Of Electronic Car Controls

February 5, 2010 3:41 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Your most expensive piece of electronics probably is not your flat panel TV or your computer. More likely, it's your car, which can pack 50 microprocessors to control everything from the fuel mix to the rearview mirrors. The recalls and other technical problems besetting Toyota in the last few weeks highlight the risks of relying on electronics instead of the mechanical rods and cables that controlled vehicles for most of the 20th century.

January Unemployment Drops To 9.7 Percent

February 5, 2010 3:34 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly in January to 9.7 percent, while employers shed 20,000 jobs, according to a report that offered hope the economy will add jobs soon. The unemployment rate dropped from 10 percent because a survey of households found the number of employed Americans rose by 541,000, the Labor Department said Friday.

Air Products Offers $5.1B For Airgas, Willing To Get Hostile

February 5, 2010 3:28 am

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. (AP) — Industrial gas supplier Air Products and Chemicals Inc. said Friday that it made an unsolicited cash bid of about $5.1 billion for smaller rival Airgas Inc. and is willing to make a hostile offer if necessary. Airgas said its board will review the offer with financial and legal advisors and recommended that its stockholders not take any action yet.

Body Armor CEO Spent $353,000 On Pens

February 5, 2010 3:22 am

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a former chief executive had lavish spending habits — including $353,000 worth of pens, some made of gold or silver. The evidence was presented Thursday at the Central Islip (EYE'-slip), N.Y., trial of David H. Brooks. He founded DHB Industries, Inc.

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