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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Silicon Valley's Slow Demise

February 11, 2010 8:38 am | by Brooke Donald, Associated Press Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Silicon Valley's economy took a big hit during the global meltdown and could have trouble climbing out, according to a report released Wednesday. The 2010 Index of Silicon Valley said the region is entering a "new phase of uncertainty" where job losses, a shrinking foreign talent pool, a drop in investments and state legislative gridlock could put its standing as the center of technology at risk.

Pepsi Doubles 4Q Profit On Snacks, Overseas Soda

February 11, 2010 8:37 am | by Emily Fredrix, AP Food Industry Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit almost doubled on strength in its snacks business and overseas beverage operations, while U.S. beverages continued to slump. The drink maker said Thursday it will continue to launch new snack products as well as speed growth in developing markets, which it expects to boost revenue and profit.

Trade Deficit Surges To $40 Billion In December

February 11, 2010 8:36 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit surged to a larger-than-expected $40.18 billion in December, the biggest imbalance in 12 months. The wider deficit reflected a rebounding economy that is pushing up demand for imports. The Commerce Department said the December deficit was 10.4 percent higher than the November imbalance.

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Governors To Congress: Be Fair To Toyota

February 11, 2010 4:36 am | by Roger Alford, Associated Press Writer

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Four governors of states with Toyota plants called Wednesday for Congress to be fair to the automaker in hearings concerning safety recalls. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley asked in a letter Wednesday that Toyota get "a responsible and fair response from the federal government.

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Grainger Announces 2010 Catalog, 300,000 MRO Products

February 10, 2010 8:55 am

LAKE FOREST, IL (Feb. 8, 2010) — Grainger (NYSE: GWW), North America’s leading distributor of facilities maintenance supplies, today announced the release of its 2010 catalog including more than 300,000 maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products, the company’s largest offering yet.

Contractors May Compromise Investigation At Middletown Site

February 10, 2010 6:58 am

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — A federal investigator says employees of the main contractor at a Connecticut power plant that exploded have had unfettered access to the site and could compromise probes into the deadly blast. Don Holmstrom, the lead investigator for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, says he's concerned that employees of O&G Industries could unintentionally alter the scene at the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown.

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Twin River Chicken Processing Plant To Close In April

February 10, 2010 4:00 am

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) — The owners of the Twin Rivers Foods plant in Neosho says it will close on April 6, costing 485 workers their jobs. The Fayetteville, Ark.-based company's human resources director, Doug Quillen, notified the state on Tuesday of plans to close the chicken deboning plant. The Joplin Globe reports that in a letter to the state, Quillen said the closing would be permanent.

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Workers Lobby For Toyota's Reputation, Mourn Personal Failure

February 10, 2010 3:51 am

by Larry Margasak, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Jim Shuker, who tests vehicles for Toyota, says he feels so strongly about quality that he believes he personally failed by not finding the company's acceleration problem. Shuker was among 23 Toyota workers from across the country who were flown to Washington at company expense to fight Tuesday for their employer's reputation.

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Toyota Turns Down Award For Prius, Cites Recalls

February 10, 2010 3:47 am | by Mari Yamaguchi,Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota has declined to accept a Japanese government energy efficiency award given to its hybrid Prius, saying Wednesday the honor is not appropriate for a car hit by massive recalls. The Prius was one of the three products that won the annual trade minister's grand prize for energy efficiency and ecological quality, said Hiroshi Tsuchiya, an official with the government's energy agency.

Toyota Turns Down Awards For Prius, Cites Recalls

February 10, 2010 3:47 am | by Mari Yamaguchi,Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota has declined to accept a Japanese government energy efficiency award given to its hybrid Prius, saying Wednesday the honor is not appropriate for a car hit by massive recalls. The Prius was one of the three products that won the annual trade minister's grand prize for energy efficiency and ecological quality, said Hiroshi Tsuchiya, an official with the government's energy agency.

Airgas Board Rejects 'Bargain Basement' Buyout

February 10, 2010 3:30 am

RADNOR, Pa. (AP) — Industrial gas supplier Airgas Inc. on Tuesday rejected the unsolicited $5 billion buyout bid from larger rival Air Products and Chemicals Inc., calling it a "bargain basement price." In a letter to Air Products CEO John McGlade, Airgas said the $60 per share offer, as well as an earlier bid of $62 per share, "grossly" undervalues the company.

Honda Expands 15-Month Air Bag Recall

February 10, 2010 3:30 am

by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press Writer TOKYO (AP) — Honda's expansion of its global recall for faulty air bags suggests automakers are turning cautious amid consumer scrutiny of Toyota's safety lapses, a trend that could see more recalls in the coming months. Honda Motor Co., Japan's No.

China Charges Rio Tinto Workers With Theft, Bribery

February 10, 2010 3:29 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China will put an Australian national and three other detained employees of mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd. on trial on charges of stealing commercial secrets and taking bribes, a state news agency said Wednesday. The four Rio employees were detained in July during contentious iron ore price talks with China's steel industry group.

Mill Workers Agree To Cuts With A 'Gun To Their Heads'

February 9, 2010 4:02 am

MADAWASKA, Maine (AP) — Unionized workers at a Madawaska paper mill will see their paychecks cut by eight and a half percent as part of a new contract mill management says is needed to keep the facility from closing. Officials with the United Steel workers say about 65 percent of the 460 members from the Fraser Papers Inc.

Recalls Compound Dangers Of Panicked Drivers

February 9, 2010 3:51 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — You're driving down the highway and suddenly your car starts accelerating on its own. Knuckles white, going from 60 to 90 miles an hour in a couple of seconds, you do what comes naturally — hit the brakes. But what if the car keeps going? There are options: Put the car in neutral, or in park, or switch off the ignition.

Residents Awarded $117,000 Against Messy Smelter

February 9, 2010 3:45 am

DETROIT (AP) — A jury has awarded $117,000 in damages and $220,000 for legal and other fees to neighbors of a lead smelting company that once operated in northeast Detroit. The Detroit Free Press reports the Wayne County jury reached its decision Monday in a lawsuit against NL Industries, which ran Master Metals until 1974.

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WTO: U.S.-China Protectionism Damaging Global Trade

February 9, 2010 3:43 am | by Rod McGuirk, Associated Press Writer

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The global economic crisis has not led to a return to trade protectionism to the extent feared, but free trade remains under threat, the World Trade Organization's director general said Tuesday. "I still believe we're not out of the woods, but this notion that for the moment .

Criminal Probe Launched Into Deadly Power Plant Blast

February 9, 2010 3:30 am | by John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writers

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — Authorities launched a criminal investigation Monday into the cause of an explosion that killed five people at a power plant under construction, saying they could not rule out criminal negligence. "If everything went right, we wouldn't all be here right now," Middletown Mayor Sebastian Guiliano said.

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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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