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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

LaHood: Toyota Slow On Recall, 'A Little Safety Deaf'

February 3, 2010 3:19 am | by Ken Thomas and Stephen Manning, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Toyota was slow to deal with safety problems with its gas pedals, asserting in an interview Tuesday that it took government pressure to force the company to recall millions of its most popular vehicles. LaHood, in an interview with The Associated Press, defended his department's handling of the Toyota investigation and said the Japanese automaker was "a little safety deaf" during its probe of the problem.

Feds: China Overreacted With 'Sanctions' Over Arms Deal

February 2, 2010 3:44 am | by Alex Kennedy, Associated Press Writer

SINGAPORE (AP) — China has overreacted to Washington's approval of a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan by threatening the companies that produced the weapons, a top U.S. military official said Tuesday. Bruce Lemkin, a deputy under secretary with the U.S. Air Force, said China shouldn't have been surprised by the arms sale and called on Beijing to continue talks with Taiwan to help reduce tensions.

Obama Pushes Free Money For Small Businesses

February 2, 2010 3:41 am | by Darlene Superville, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's bid to sell his economic agenda and re-energize voters picks up in politically significant New Hampshire, where he will again promote an idea to free up money for small businesses that are hurting. Obama travels to Nashua, N.H., on Tuesday to draw attention to a proposal highlighted in his State of the Union address last week: funneling $30 billion to local banks so they can lend small businesses money they need to grow their enterprises and create jobs.

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Accelerator Fixes Too Late For Battered Toyota Reputation

February 2, 2010 3:36 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

NAGOYA, Japan (AP) — Toyota's fix for the gas pedal problem that led to the recall of millions of cars has not come soon enough to prevent a consumer backlash in the U.S. and elsewhere that is battering its sales. One of the automaker's top executives on Tuesday said the damage from the global recall of nearly 4.

Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak Settled For $12 Million

February 2, 2010 3:23 am

ATLANTA (AP) — Dozens of victims of last year's nationwide salmonella outbreak will split about $12 million as part of a settlement with the insurer of the company linked to the illnesses. Atlanta attorney Alan Maxwell said Monday the money comes from an insurance policy that Lynchburg, Va.

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Spyker To Return Saab To Profitability In 2012

February 2, 2010 3:22 am

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Spyker Cars NV, the new owner of Saab, plans to produce three Saab lines and return the troubled Swedish carmaker to profitability by 2012. "Saab will continue to be repositioned against other brands such as Audi (A4/A6) and BMW (3/5 series) as a premium brand," Spyker said in a statement Tuesday.

Sikorsky Begins $1 Billion Venture Into Unmanned Black Hawk

February 2, 2010 3:21 am | by Stephen Singer, The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced a billion-dollar venture Monday that it hopes will respond to military demand for technology to fight two wars, including Black Hawk helicopters that can see and fly on their own. The Stratford-based helicopter maker and military contractor said Sikorsky Innovations is intended to speed the transformation of the mechanical helicopter into a computerized aircraft.

Doubling Exports: Possible, Two Million Jobs: Good Luck

February 1, 2010 3:57 am | by Jim Abrams, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he wants to double exports over the next five years, supporting 2 million American jobs. The doubling is doable; the job increase is debatable. "The more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America," Obama said in one of the few instances of his State of the Union address last week where he received hearty applause from Republicans.

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Obama Encourages Privatization Of Space, 'Space Taxis'

February 1, 2010 3:37 am | by Alicia Chang and Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Getting to space is about to be outsourced. The Obama administration on Monday will propose in its new budget spending billions of dollars to encourage private companies to build, launch and operate spacecraft for NASA and others. Uncle Sam would buy its astronauts a ride into space just like hopping in a taxi.

China Threatens Sanctions Against Boeing For Arms Sale

February 1, 2010 3:32 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China blasted Washington's approval of an arms sale to Taiwan again Monday, but industry experts say Beijing's reliance on foreign technology may limit its ability to make good on threats to impose sanctions on the companies involved. State media commentaries and editorials attacked U.

Tesla Planning IPO To Raise $100 Million

February 1, 2010 3:29 am | by Dan Strumpf, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. said Friday it plans to sell stock to the public. The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., did not disclose in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission specifically how much it plans to raise though it listed $100 million as a placeholder figure.

Despite Growth, High Jobless To Remain Until Mid-Decade

February 1, 2010 3:23 am | by Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy's 5.7 percent growth last quarter — the fastest pace since 2003 — was a step toward shrinking the nation's 10 percent unemployment rate. There's just one problem: Growth would have to equal 5 percent for all of 2010 just to lower the average jobless rate for the year by 1 percentage point.

Toyota Begins Fixing Accelerators On Recalled Vehicles

February 1, 2010 3:13 am | by Ken Thomas and Tom Krisher, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its dealers should get parts to fix a sticky gas pedal problem by the end of this week as the automaker apologized to customers and tried to bring an end to a recall that has affected 4.2 million vehicles worldwide. The company said in a statement that it has begun shipping parts and is training dealers on the repairs.

Honeywell Hobbs Phases Out Springfield Plant

January 29, 2010 3:59 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A corporate spokesman says Honeywell Hobbs expects to complete the phase-out of its Springfield manufacturing plant and eliminate approximately 120 jobs by the end of the year. The closing would end the company's more than 70-year run in Springfield. A second plant in Spring Valley, about 60 miles northeast of Peoria, will be shut down by midyear.

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ArcelorMittal To Revive Ind. Blast Furance

January 29, 2010 3:55 am

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — Company and union officials say steel maker ArcelorMittal is planning to restart a blast furnace at a northwestern Indiana mill in a move that could put hundreds of workers back on the job. The company says it is increasing production at the East Chicago plant in response to improving market demand.

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U.S. Wages, Benefits Rise Slightly In 4Q

January 29, 2010 3:47 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wages and benefits paid to U.S. workers posted a modest gain in the fourth quarter, ending a year in which recession-battered workers saw their compensation rise by the smallest amount on records going back more than a quarter-century. The anemic gains have raised concerns about the durability of the economic recovery.

Obama Offers Tax Credits To Hiring Companies

January 29, 2010 3:45 am | by Charles Babington and Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key House Republican leader said the GOP expects President Barack Obama to do more listening than talking when he huddles privately with lawmakers Friday at a retreat in Baltimore. Obama wants to offer tax credits to companies that hire new workers, a plan that drew a cool reception from Congress last month despite the nation's double-digit unemployment rate.

Toyota Fixes Accelerator Problem, But Sales May Still Slip

January 29, 2010 3:42 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. says it has figured out how to fix a problem with sticking accelerator pedals and will update employees with details. The company said in an e-mail to workers Thursday night that it presented a remedy to federal regulators. The e-mail obtained by The Associated Press says that plans are being developed on a variety of fronts.

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Feds: Series Of DuPont Leaks Unrelated

January 29, 2010 3:41 am | by John Raby, Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Three recent chemical leaks at a DuPont plant, one of which killed a worker, don't appear to be related, a federal investigator said Thursday. U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigator Johnnie Banks promised a thorough investigation into the leaks, which prompted the plant's temporary shutdown over the weekend.

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Oracle Looks To Hire 2,000 After Sun Acquisition

January 27, 2010 4:04 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Oracle Corp. is planning to hire 2,000 sales and engineering employees, which will outnumber the cuts it is making at its latest acquisition, Sun Microsystems Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told the newspaper that his company, the leader in proprietary database software, is charting a new course with its $7.

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