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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

GE Profits Fall 44 Percent In 3Q

October 16, 2009 3:41 am | by Stephen Manning, AP Business Writer

The continued woes at General Electric's big financial unit fueled a big drop in its third-quarter earnings, outweighing signs of improvement in its divisions that make heavy machinery and other industrial equipment, the company said Friday. GE posted a 44-percent decline in profit to $2.4 billion, or 23 cents per share, hurt by much lower earnings at its GE Capital arm, which loans money to businesses ranging from credit cards to shopping centers.

EPA Puts Down Foot With Texan Heavy Industry

October 14, 2009 4:42 am | by John McFarland, Associated Press Writer

DALLAS (AP) — For 15 years, environmentalists have complained that state regulations have allowed the powerful oil and chemical industries to skirt Clean Air Act standards in Texas, the nation's foremost producer of industrial air pollution. But the Environmental Protection Agency last month scrapped several aspects of the state's air-pollution permitting program, including "flexible" permits that have allowed about 140 plants and refineries to exceed toxic emissions limits in the short term as long as they complied to overall federal averages in the long term.

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U.S. Steel Exports Surpass Imports

October 14, 2009 4:37 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A steel industry trade group said the United States exported more steel than it imported in August for the first time in more than 50 years. But another group said that assessment was based on a selective reading of government data. The American Institute for International Steel said late Monday that government data indicated U.

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Costco, JPMorgan Urge Boeing To Build 787 In Wash.

October 14, 2009 4:28 am

SEATTLE (AP) — Executives from some of Washington's largest employers on Tuesday urged Boeing Co. to build a second assembly line for its long-delayed 787 jetliner in the state, entering the fray in an interstate competition for the facility. In a letter to Jim Albaugh, the head of Boeing's commercial aircraft unit, more than two dozen corporate leaders wrote that "we encourage you to locate that line here in Washington, where we have a long track record of demonstrable success together.

Spanish Unions And Magna Debate Mass Layoffs

October 14, 2009 4:23 am | by Daniel Woolls, Associated Press Writer

MADRID (AP) — Spanish unions met Wednesday with representatives of Magna International Inc. to discuss its new proposal for an Opel plant targeted for job cuts, an official said. As part of its takeover of Opel from General Motors Co., Magna wants to eliminate 1,300 jobs at an Opel plant near Zaragoza in northeast Spain and move one of its two assembly lines to Germany.

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Auto Sales Down 10.4 Percent Post-Clunkers

October 14, 2009 4:14 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales declined in September by the largest amount this year as car sales plummeted following the end of the government's popular Cash for Clunkers program. But outside of autos, sales were better than expected. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that retail sales dropped 1.

Ford Adds 4.5m Cars To Flaming Switch Recall

October 14, 2009 4:12 am | by Stephen Manning and Tom Krisher, AP Business Writers

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will add 4.5 million older-model vehicles to the long list of those recalled because a defective cruise control switch could cause a fire. The latest voluntary action pushes Ford's total recall due to faulty switches to 14.3 million registered vehicles over 10 years, capping the company's largest cumulative recall in history involving a single problem.

GM Trimming Fat With Opel, Hummer Sales

October 13, 2009 4:24 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — General Motors could finalize the sale of its German auto unit Opel as early as this week, the U.S. automaker's CEO said Tuesday. Fritz Henderson, visiting China for the first time since GM was restructured last summer, was also upbeat about the prospects for the sale of the company's Hummer unit to Chinese buyer Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp.

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Siemens Nabs $888m Turbine Deal With Four States

October 13, 2009 4:07 am

FRANKFURT (AP) — Siemens AG has won orders worth some euro600 million ($888 million) to supply 250 wind turbines in the United States and Canada, the German-based industrial conglomerate said Tuesday. A quarter of the order is destined for the Canadian province of Ontario, while the rest of the turbines will go to California, Oklahoma, Washington and Wyoming, Munich-based Siemens said.

China Poisons Another 1,000 Children

October 13, 2009 3:57 am

BEIJING (AP) — Nearly 1,000 children in a central Chinese province have tested positive for excessive lead in their blood, state media reported Tuesday, the latest of several lead poisoning cases involving thousands of children across the country. After reports of large-scale lead poisoning in neighboring Shaanxi province, the health bureau in Jiyuan City, Henan province, conducted blood tests on 2,743 children under the age of 14, the official Xinhua News Agency quoted the bureau's director, Wei Zongchang, as saying.

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Cap & Gown Co. Sued For Hispanic Discrimination

October 13, 2009 3:56 am | by Margery A. Beck, Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha cap-and-gown manufacturer has been accused in federal court of discriminating against its Hispanic employees. Three lawsuits filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha allege that Willsie Cap & Gown routinely offered better hours, more desirable work, more breaks and even better lighting to non-Hispanic employees.

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Iowa Slaughterhouse Exec On Trial In SD

October 13, 2009 3:54 am | by Nigel Duara, Associated Press Writer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The first trial for a former manager of an Iowa kosher slaughterhouse that was the site of a massive immigration raid gets under way Tuesday in South Dakota. Sholom Rubashkin's trials were moved from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Sioux Falls, S.D., after a federal judge ruled last month that a "prodigious" amount of negative pretrial publicity caused potential jurors to develop a bias against Rubashkin and Agriprocessors, Inc.

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Detroit Mayor Considers Selling Bing Steel Plant

October 13, 2009 3:52 am

DETROIT (AP) — Mayor Dave Bing says he is weighing whether to sell the steel company that bears his name and employs about 600 people. Bing tells WWJ-AM that The Bing Group has been caught up in the auto industry downturn that has depressed sales of the stamped and processed steel. He says he'll likely decide by early 2010 whether to sell the Detroit-based company.

Onyx Pharma Buys Proteolix For $851m

October 12, 2009 4:45 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Monday it will buy cancer drug developer Proteolix Inc. in a deal that could be worth as much as $851 million. Onyx shares advanced $2.20, or 8.2 percent, to $29.10 in premarket trading. Onyx will pay $276 million upfront for the privately held South San Francisco company, and in the process it gains Proteolix's cancer drug candidate carfilzomib, which is being tested as a treatment for multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and solid tumors.

Plasan Expands Armor Manufacturing

October 12, 2009 4:27 am

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Bennington manufacturer has purchased a second industrial site in town as it prepares to fill a Pentagon contract to make armor for vehicles going to Afghanistan. Plasan North America, a subsidiary of an Israeli firm, is joining with a Wisconsin-based company, Oshkosh Corp.

Steel Makers Raise Outlook On Global Demand

October 12, 2009 4:24 am

BRUSSELS (AP) -- World steel makers said Monday that "exceptionally strong growth" in Chinese demand and a better-than-expected global economic recovery would keep steel consumption from falling as sharply as previously expected. The World Steel Association said steel use was likely to fall by 8.

Hybrid, Indian Automakers Show Interest In Ex-GM Plant

October 12, 2009 4:17 am

NEWPORT, Del. (AP) — Three automakers reportedly have toured the shuttered Boxwood Road auto plant near Newport as Delaware officials work to find another tenant for the former General Motors plant. The Wilmington News Journal reported Sunday that the three include a start-up developing a plug-in hybrid and an Indian automaker.

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China Asks WTO To Probe EU Steel Taxes

October 12, 2009 4:11 am | by Bradley S. Klapper, Associated Press Writer

GENEVA (AP) — China said Monday that it will ask the World Trade Organization to examine whether European Union charges on imports of Chinese steel fasteners comply with international commerce rules. Beijing argues that the EU is illegally taxing the screws needed for products from furniture to cars.

Manufacturers Turn To Prisoners For Work

October 12, 2009 4:07 am | by Chuck Bartels, AP Business Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Good help is hard to find, unless that help is doing hard time. Two manufacturers are taking advantage of a program in which they develop factories in Arkansas prisons and put convicts to work at market wages. The workers use their earnings to fund the program, pay child support, fines, restitution and build a nest egg.

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GM Inks Hummer Sale To Chinese

October 9, 2009 8:41 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Hummer, the off-road vehicle that once was a symbol of America's love for hulking trucks, is now in the hands of a Chinese heavy equipment maker. General Motors Co. and Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp. finally signed the much-anticipated deal to sell the brand on Friday, according to a joint statement issued by both companies.

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