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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Toyota, UAW Reach Tentative NUMMI Closure Agreement

March 15, 2010 11:25 am

FREMONT, Calif. (AP) — The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement to shut down California's sole remaining auto plant which employs 4,600 people. The terms weren't disclosed Monday but will include payouts for workers at the Fremont-based Nummi plantwhich is slated to close on April 1.

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Industrial Prodcution Edges Up, Manufacturing Slips

March 15, 2010 5:02 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in February, beating expectations and marking the eighth straight monthly increase. But the key manufacturing sector produced less —for months a rare bright spot — produced less, muting hopes for a speedy recovery.

Lawmakers Bash China Ahead Of Election Day

March 15, 2010 4:58 am | by Foster Klug, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — China is once again the country Congress loves to hate. After a lull last year, U.S. politicians jockeying ahead of crucial November elections have stepped up attacks on China as a way to win support from voters worried that the Asian power is taking American jobs. China-bashing eased during President Barack Obama's first year in office, partly as a nod to the administration's attempts to get Chinese help settling nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran, and on important environmental and economic initiatives.

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Foreign Investment In China Slows In February

March 15, 2010 4:45 am

BEIJING (AP) — Foreign direct investment in China rose at its slowest rate in seven months in February, the Commerce Ministry reported Monday. Investment for February was $6 billion, up 1.1 percent from a year earlier, a period in the depths of the global crisis. Many companies closed in February for the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, which distorts economic data.

Toyota, Nissan Create Electric Car Association

March 15, 2010 4:40 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota and three other Japanese automakers together with a power company have set up a group to promote electric vehicles by standardizing recharging machines and marketing the technology abroad. Representatives of Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Feds: Runaway Prius Story Not 'Feasibly Possible'

March 15, 2010 4:27 am | by Elliot Spagat and Ken Thomas, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government said Monday it cannot explain a reported incident of sudden, high-speed acceleration in a Toyota Prius on a San Diego, Calif., freeway last week. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement that it continues to investigate but "we may never know exactly what happened with this car.

Conn. Considers Waiving Student Loans For 'Green' Jobs

March 15, 2010 4:23 am | by Stephen Singer, AP Business Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Paul Goulet hopes Connecticut will help him get from under nearly $8,000 he's borrowed for college after losing his job in a paper manufacturing plant. Goulet, 55, is a student in environmental studies at Goodwin College in East Hartford, aiming to find work in wastewater treatment.

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Chinese Lead Factory Posions 88 Children

March 15, 2010 4:22 am

BEIJING (AP) — At least 94 people living near a lead factory, most of them children, have tested positive for lead poisoning, state media said Monday, prompting authorities to order the closure of the plant. Hundreds more people are still waiting for test results. Reports of lead poisoning have emerged around the country since last year, highlighting the heavy environmental cost of China's rapid economic development.

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Sole N.D. Refinery Plans Monthlong Maintenance Shutdown

March 12, 2010 10:09 am

James MacPherson, Associated Press Writer BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's only oil refinery is planning a monthlong shutdown for maintenance and upgrades beginning next month though officials say customers should not see any fuel shortages or price increases. The planned $125 million project at Tesoro Petroleum Corp.

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Britain Disappointed With Shady Tanker Contract

March 12, 2010 4:08 am | by Jennifer Quinn, Associated Press Writer

LONDON (AP) — The French and British leaders accused the United States of protectionism on Friday over a contract to build a new Air Force refueling tanker. A European-led consortium pulled out of bidding this week for the $35 billion contract, saying the Pentagon was favoring rival American bidder Boeing.

LG Chem To Build Chevy Volt Batteries In Michigan

March 12, 2010 3:54 am

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — Korean battery-maker LG Chem Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary Troy-based Compact Inc. will make battery cells for electric vehicles at a plant in western Michigan. The companies announced in a statement Friday that at its peak the $303 million factory in Holland will produce enough battery cells for 50,000 to 200,000 vehicle battery packs, including the Chevrolet Volt.

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CPSC Recalls Coil Nailer For Eye Injuries

March 12, 2010 3:46 am

WASHINGTON, March 12 (Kyodo) — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Friday Hitachi Koki Co. of Japan is voluntarily recalling its coil nailers for free repairs due to the risk of serious injury. The CPSC, a governmental body, said about 50,000 coil nailers imported from Japan by Hitachi Koki U.

NHTSA Seeks Heavier Hand In Car Investigations

March 12, 2010 3:40 am | by Ken Thomas and Stephen Manning, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government vehicle safety regulators may seek greater authority to investigate defects in cars and trucks and are weighing a range of new safety requirements in response to Toyota's recall of more than 8 million vehicles over brake and acceleration problems. David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Thursday his agency will take a "hard look" at the power it has to set safety standards for automakers.

GM's Lutz: Hybrid SUVs, Electrics Are Automotive's Future

March 12, 2010 3:38 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

WARREN, Mich. — General Motors Co. will keep making big trucks and SUVs because U.S. buyers demand them, but a major portion of them will be gas-electric hybrids in the near future, retiring Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Friday. Lutz didn't give details, but said GM must apply hybrid technology to more vehicles in order to meet fuel-economy standards that will rise 40 percent to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

Feds Continue Recalls Of Cadmium-Tainted Jewelry

March 12, 2010 3:36 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal safety regulators recalled a line of Christmas-themed bracelets Thursday, expanding their effort to purge children's jewelry boxes and store shelves of items containing high levels of the toxic metal cadmium. The latest action by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission targeted "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" charm bracelets that released alarmingly high levels of cadmium in government lab tests, suggesting children could be exposed to a carcinogen that also can damage kidneys and bones.

Siemens AG Expands, Creates 825 N.C. Jobs

March 11, 2010 5:41 am | by Emery P. Dalesio, AP Business Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG plans to expand a North Carolina unit that makes equipment for electric utility plants, adding hundreds of jobs. The company plans to invest $135 million and create 825 engineering and manufacturing jobs in Charlotte in five years, according to a project description approved by a state incentives committee on Thursday.

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Reid Supply Adds Dickies Workwear Online

March 10, 2010 6:47 am

Muskegon, MI (PRWEB) — Reid Supply Company, a Michigan-based, premier global distributor of industrial supplies, added the Dickies family clothing line as well as more safety products to its online offerings at  ReidSupply.com . “We have no doubt that many of our customers will appreciate the extra value that the  Dickies workwear  line offers the entire family.

China Tells U.S. To 'Do More' On Climate Change

March 10, 2010 4:13 am | by Gillian Wong, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China told the United States on Wednesday to make stronger commitments on climate change and provide environmental expertise and financing to developing nations. At the same time, China said its own efforts to reduce energy intensity have been hampered by its economic recovery in the latter part of last year, which brought growth in heavy energy-consuming industries.

Meatpacking Inspector Cuts Hurting Small Businesses

March 10, 2010 4:09 am | by Ken Kusmer, Associated Press Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's plan to lay off some meat inspectors to save money and reduce the time inspectors spend with small, independent processors has the industry and farmers fearing it could hurt what has been a growing industry. It's not clear how many of the state's 52 inspectors will be let go, but meatpackers say any layoffs will prevent them from growing to meet demand for locally raised meat.

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French Call Obama 'Anticompetitive' Over Tanker Contract

March 10, 2010 3:57 am

PARIS (AP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy will raise concerns that the U.S. Air Force's $35 billion tanker contract is anticompetitive when he visits President Barack Obama later this month, a spokesman said Wednesday. EADS, the parent company of Airbus, had partnered with Northrop Grumman to vie for the 179-tanker order, but their consortium pulled out on Monday.

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