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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Africa's Cocoa Industry Still Supported By Child Trafficking

October 8, 2010 4:33 am | by Marco Chown Oved, Associated Press Writer

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — West Africa's cocoa industry is still trafficking children and using forced child labor despite nearly a decade of efforts to eliminate the practices, according to an independent audit published by Tulane University. A U.S.-sponsored solution called the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed in 2001 by cocoa industry members to identify and eliminate cocoa grown using forced child labor.

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GM, UAW Reach Wage-Cutting Deal At Small Car Plant

October 8, 2010 4:32 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — General Motors and the United Auto Workers have reached a cost-cutting deal that could help accomplish what once seemed impossible: Making a profit on small cars built in the United States. The deal, announced Thursday, could cut in half the hourly wage of some longtime UAW workers at a factory in Orion Township, Mich.

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Criminal Negligence Case Opened For Toxic Sludge Avalanche

October 6, 2010 4:58 am | by Bela Szandelszky and Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writers

KOLONTAR, Hungary (AP) — Police say Hungary's top investigative agency is taking over the inquiry into the toxic sludge reservoir that burst, flooding several towns in western Hungary and killing at least four people. Police spokeswoman Monika Benyi tells The Associated Press that the decision Wednesday by National Police Chief Jozsef Hatala reflects the importance and complexity of the sludge disaster.

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Geithner: Yuan Undervaluation Hurting U.S. Manufacturers

October 6, 2010 4:48 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stepped up pressure on China to make more progress in moving toward flexible exchange rates. Geithner said Wednesday that it is particularly important to see appreciation in countries where the currency is significantly undervalued. Geithner never mentioned China, but the speech was clearly aimed at the world's second-largest economy.

Majority Of 6,000 Kan. Beechcraft Jobs Saved By Gov.

October 6, 2010 4:41 am | by John Milburn, Associated Press Writer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An agreement has been reached that could keep "the vast majority" of the Hawker Beechcraft general aviation jobs in the Wichita, Gov. Mark Parkinson said late Tuesday. Parkinson said he brokered a "long-term deal" with the company and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union.

Mother Sues Bayer Over Son's Chemical Exposure Death

October 6, 2010 4:39 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The mother of a West Virginia State University student is suing Bayer CropScience and the school over her son's death in 2008. Portia Gray's lawsuit claims her 19-year-old son, Ra'Sean Gray, died as a result of exposure to substances released during an explosion at Bayer's Institute plant.

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Frito-Lay To Pull Noisy, Biodegradable SunChips Bags

October 6, 2010 4:37 am | by Emily Fredrix, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Frito-Lay hopes to quiet complaints about its noisy SunChips bags by switching out the biodegradable bags for the old packaging on most flavors. The company is switching back to original packaging, which is made of a type of plastic, for five of the six varieties of the chips.

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Prius Sales Drop For First Time In 17 Months

October 6, 2010 4:35 am | by Shino Yuasa, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Sales of Toyota's Prius hybrid in Japan dropped for the first time in 17 months as government subsidies for green cars expired, an auto industry group said Wednesday. Despite the lower sales, the gasoline-electric hybrid was the top-selling car in Japan for the 17th straight month in September, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

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Iran Blames Covert Western Sabotage For Stuxnet Worm

October 5, 2010 4:51 am | by Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran claimed Tuesday that a computer worm found on the laptops of several employees at the country's nuclear power plant is part of a covert Western plot to derail its nuclear program. Iranian officials have suggested in recent days that the Stuxnet worm that has affected computers of employees at the Bushehr nuclear power plant could be a conspiracy to damage Iran's nuclear activities.

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Toyota To Sell Smart Grid System Alongside EVs

October 5, 2010 4:49 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota is pairing its little known housing business with its expertise in green cars to sell computer systems that link homes, utilities and vehicles to reduce energy use. The world's biggest automaker said Tuesday the launch of its home smart grid system in Japan will coincide with its plug-in hybrid cars going on sale in early 2012.

BMW To Hire 600 More S.C. Workers

October 5, 2010 4:48 am

GREER, S.C. (AP) — BMW Manufacturing Co. says it will hire an additional 600 workers at its Greer plant to work as they are needed to assemble the company's vehicles. BMW told multiple media outlets on Monday it will hire the new employees at job fairs Oct. 13 and Oct. 20 at Spartanburg Community College's Tyger River Campus.

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Initiative Reinforces Manufacturing 'Skills' For Young Workers

October 5, 2010 4:47 am | by Eric Gorski, AP Education Writer

As the White House stages a first-of-its-kind community college summit Tuesday, the Obama administration is proposing that stronger partnerships between two-year public colleges and big-name U.S. employers such as McDonald's and The Gap will help better match workers with jobs during the economic recovery and beyond.

AP: U.S. Economic Stress Eased In August

October 5, 2010 4:42 am | by Martin Crutsinger and Mike Schneider, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's economic stress eased slightly in August thanks to lower foreclosure rates in the hardest-hit states, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis of conditions around the country. But the improvement was meager, and it added to evidence of sluggish economic growth.

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Gov't Tightens Standards For 'Five Star' Passenger Cars

October 5, 2010 4:41 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Transportation Department is outlining changes Tuesday to the U.S. government's 5-Star Safety Rating System that will make it more difficult for new cars and trucks to earn top scores. Only two of the first 34 vehicles tested under the new program — the 2011 BMW 5 Series and a version of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata — received the top grade of five stars.

U.S. Car Sales Down Despite New Models

October 4, 2010 5:21 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — New models and Labor Day holiday promotions didn't do much to fire Americans' appetites for new cars in September. Sales at Chrysler and Ford rose slightly from August. They fell at General Motors and Honda and were flat at Toyota. Car companies say a recovery is still happening, but it's not as strong as they had hoped following a terrible 2009.

Apple Could Surpass Exxon As 'Most Valuable' Company

October 4, 2010 4:53 am | by David K. Randall, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Here's something to think about the next time you pick up a call on your iPhone: the device you're holding may soon be the signature product of the most valuable company in the world. Thanks to its line of gadgets that combine the ability to make calls, send email, read books, watch movies and listen to music, Apple Inc.

China's Reliance On Rare Earth Metals Worries Washington

October 4, 2010 4:49 am

TOKYO (AP) — China's recent halt of exotic metal shipments to Japan amid a diplomatic spat has reverberated throughout the world's high-tech manufacturing hubs — now on heightened alert to the risks of relying on one country for materials that do everything from helping hybrid engines run to creating the color red in televisions.

Students Build, Battle Robots To Understand Manufacturing

October 4, 2010 4:47 am | by Lugene Hudson, Associated Press Writer

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) — The plan for being the best involves building a robot. At Lawrence County Career and Technical Center, the best stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. Students from various shops have been meeting with electronics instructor Barry Clever to construct a prototype operating robot.

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GE To Invest $68 Million In Indiana Plant

October 4, 2010 4:47 am

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — General Electric plans to invest $68 million to redesign side-by-side refrigerators made at an Indiana plant. Louisville, Ky.-based GE Appliances & Lighting told employees at the Bloomington plant Friday about the investment. It's part of an agreement with the union in May that includes a wage freeze and competitive wage structure for new employees.

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Manufacturing Growth Sparks Wall Street Recovery

October 4, 2010 4:45 am | by Stephen Bernard, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks started off October on a positive note following mostly good news on the economy. Shares of big manufacturing companies like Boeing Co., General Electric Co. and 3M Co. rose Friday after the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index showed that factory activity was still expanding in September, although not quite as fast as analysts had hoped and slightly slower than the month before.

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