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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Deadly Slim Jim Blast Prompts New Rules

February 4, 2010 3:35 am

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal officials are scheduled to vote Thursday evening on urgent safety recommendations in response to a deadly explosion at a Slim Jim snack factory in North Carolina last year. The proposal before the U.S. Chemical Safety Board recommends that national and international safety codes be changed to more strongly control gas-line purging.

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Cincinnati Couple Sue Toyota Over Fraud, Negligence

February 3, 2010 9:02 am | by Lisa Cornwell, Associated Press Writer

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati couple represented by a veteran civil action attorney has filed a lawsuitagainst Toyota charging fraud and negligence over a safety issue involving gas pedals that has caused a massive auto recall. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, seeks class-action status on behalf of all Ohio residents who have bought or leased vehicles Toyota-manufactured vehicles subject to the recall.

Report: U.S. Unlikely To Meet Congressional Biofuel Goals

February 3, 2010 8:58 am | by Philip Elliott, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A presidential task force recommended spending more money to make biofuels like ethanol, saying the U.S. is likely to fall short of mandates for more environmentally friendly energy. An energy task force was ready to present President Barack Obama with a report outlining how the United States' production of fuel from plants or animals was unlikely to meet the goal Congress has demanded.

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Cadmium Found On 'Cancer Awareness' Jewelry

February 3, 2010 3:51 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Concern about the heavy metal cadmium in jewelry grew Tuesday as a California environmental group said new testing of adult necklaces and bracelets bought at three leading retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Aeropostale, detected high levels of the toxic material — as much as 75 percent by weight.

Obama Continues Jobs Campaign: Clean Coal, Biofuels

February 3, 2010 3:43 am | by Philip Elliott, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is meeting with governors from coal-producing states, hoping to earn their support for a languishing energy bill and to bolster his image as a leader willing to work with Republicans as well as Democrats. Obama planned to announce on Wednesday new steps to increase the role of biofuels in powering the nation and to release a report detailing how Washington could increase investments in green technologies, an administration official said.

Lawmaker Demands Tech Firms Hand Over Chinese Practices

February 3, 2010 3:33 am | by Joelle Tessler, AP Technology Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Senate Democrat is asking 30 leading technology, Internet and communications companies to provide detailed descriptions of their operations and human rights practices in China. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois sent letters on Tuesday to technology companies including Apple Inc.

Worker Found Dead Inside Empty Tank

February 3, 2010 3:28 am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A South Carolina contractor has been found dead at a Nashville tank farm. Metro Nashville Police say the body of 49-year-old Dan Dugan of Rock Hill, S.C., was found inside a tank at the Ashland Distribution plant on Tuesday. Nashville Fire Department spokesman Charles Shannon told The Tennesseans Dugan's last entry on his inspection clipboard was at 8:15 a.

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Cadbury Shareholders Agree To Kraft's $19.5 Billion Offer

February 3, 2010 3:25 am | by Sarah Skidmore, AP Food Industry Writer

Cadbury PLC shareholders have approved Kraft Foods Inc.'s roughly $19.5 billion offer to acquire the British candy maker — the final step in creating the global food giant. The focus now shifts to how Kraft will combine the companies and prove it was worth the often-bitter fight. Kraft announced Tuesday that nearly 72 percent of Cadbury shareholders voted in support of the deal.

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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.

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.

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