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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Ad Agency Drops Harley-Davidson Due To Slow Sales

September 1, 2010 4:52 am | by Emily Fredrix, AP Marketing Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc.'s main ad agency for more than three decades has dropped the struggling motorcycle maker in favor of new business. Ad agency Carmichael Lynch, a unit of Interpublic Group, said many factors went into the decision, including the fact that the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker has slashed its marketing spending in recent years amid slumping sales.

Heinz 1Q Income Rises 13 Percent

September 1, 2010 4:39 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — H.J. Heinz Co.'s fiscal first-quarter net income jumped 13 percent, largely on stronger sales in Asia. The foodmaker best known for its signature ketchup said Wednesday that it earned $240.4 million, or 75 cents per share, for the quarter that ended in late July. That's up from $212.

Chinese Manufacturing Rebounds In August

September 1, 2010 4:37 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — Chinese manufacturing growth improved and auto sales rebounded in August, suggesting the world's second-biggest economy may not be slowing as quickly as feared. Two surveys released Wednesday showed production, new orders and purchasing prices all rose in August, with the HSBC purchasing managers index — a seasonally adjusted index designed to measure the performance of the manufacturing economy — rising to its highest level in three months, at 51.

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Hyundai Shifts SUV Production To Kia Plant

September 1, 2010 4:36 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hyundai Motor America said Tuesday it will shift manufacturing of its Santa Fe SUV beginning this fall from its plant in Alabama to one in Georgia run by Kia Motor Manufacturing, a move aimed at boosting production of Hyundai's popular Sonata sedan. The automaker plans to increase production of the Sonata at the plant in Montgomery, Alabama, said Hyundai Motor America spokesman Chris Hosford.

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Family Sues Nestle Over Bottled Water Death

September 1, 2010 4:34 am

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) — The family of a woman who died after a pallet of bottled water fell on her at a Kroger store in central Indiana is suing the water bottler, arguing a new eco-friendly bottle design might have contributed to the accident. The lawsuit filed by the husband of 32-year-old Lori Keen is pending in federal court in Indianapolis.

Delays Cripple Solar Projects On Public Land

September 1, 2010 4:33 am | by Jason Dearen, Associated Press Writer

ROACH DRY LAKE, Nev. (AP) — Not a light bulb's worth of solar electricity has been produced on the millions of acres of public desert set aside for it. Not one project to build glimmering solar farms has even broken ground. Instead, five years after federal land managers opened up stretches of the Southwest to developers, vast tracts still sit idle.

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HP Agrees To Pay $55 Million For Kickbacks

August 31, 2010 4:58 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Justice says Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay $55 million to settle claims it paid kickbacks to companies so that they would recommend its products to federal agencies. Hewlett-Packard Co. has already announced earlier this month it will take a charge of 2 cents per share in the third quarter to settle the claims.

As Automakers Recover, Incentives Become Rare

August 31, 2010 4:28 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — For years, Americans shopping for cars were treated to all sorts of deals and incentives, especially at the end of summer. Think Cash for Clunkers, which paid up to $4,500, or promotions that offered employee discounts to everyone. Those days are over. Deals are getting more scarce because automakers, newly lean and profitable, are holding the line on those profit-eating promotions.

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U.S. Likely To Accuse China Of Aluminum Protectionism

August 31, 2010 4:27 am | by Foster Klug, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Analysts say the Obama administration, under congressional pressure to take a tough stance on Chinese trade policies, is expected to declare that China unfairly helped its aluminum industry. The finding, which could spark higher import duties, was anticipated Tuesday as the White House attempts to strike a delicate balance ahead of November congressional elections that will be dominated by the weak U.

Muslim Meatpackers Sue Over Corporate Intolerance

August 31, 2010 4:26 am | by Timberly Ross, Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Somali Muslim workers at a meatpacking plant in Grand Island were denied prayer time and faced harassment and even termination for asking to pray, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit filed on behalf on more than 80 Somali Muslims says JBS Swift & Co.

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Deere Sells Wind Energy Business For $900 Million

August 31, 2010 4:25 am

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere & Co. will sell its wind energy business to a subsidiary of Exelon Corp. for $900 million, the company said Tuesday, potentially signaling an active merger and acquisition period ahead for the power industry. With energy prices persistently low due to a grinding economic recovery, stakes in the power industry have begun to shift.

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Ford's Louisville Workers To Get First Overtime Since 2005

August 31, 2010 4:24 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant will see its first extended overtime in years leading up to a layoff of up to a year for factory retooling. Company and union officials told The Courier-Journal that Ford Motor Co.'s production of the 2010 Explorer will employ workers on most Fridays in September and October and two Saturdays in October.

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Consumer Spending Rises In July, Economists Still Worried

August 30, 2010 5:17 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans spent last month at the fastest pace in four months, helped by a jump in demand for automobiles. Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in July after three lackluster months, the Commerce Department said Monday. Spending fell 0.1 percent in April, rose a tiny 0.1 percent in May and was flat in June.

Raytheon Lands $55 Million Navy Contract

August 30, 2010 5:02 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Raytheon Co. has landed a $55.4 million Navy contract related to the production of a test site for the Aegis missile-defense system, the Department of Defense said Friday. The contract modifies and earlier contract to exercise an option for the production of an Aegis ashore test site transmitter and fire control system.

Tough Computer Industry Means Bargains For Consumers

August 30, 2010 5:01 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — If you're looking for bargains on personal computers, bad news from the industry could be good for your pocketbook. Computer makers are scrambling for ways to goose faltering consumer demand after a weak start to the back-to-school shopping season. That could mean deeper price cuts and other promotions beyond the incentives that the industry dangled in front of shoppers to lure them into stores during the worst of the recession.

Japanese Plastics Company Readies $100M W.Va Facility

August 30, 2010 5:00 am

BELLE, W.Va. (AP) — A Japanese company expects to finish building a $100 million specialty plastics factory in Belle by the end of the month. Manager Tom Provost says the Kureha Corp. factory should start production in November. Kureha has hired 35 people to work there already and expects to have a total of 50 employees once the operation is up and running.

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Coca-Cola Workers Sue After Health Care Cut Off

August 30, 2010 4:59 am

SEATTLE (AP) — The 500 Coca-Cola employees who went on strike last week have filed a class-actionlawsuit against the company after the soda giant canceled their health care coverage. KOMO News reports that Coca-Cola canceled health care coverage for the workers on Tuesday, one day after they walked off the job.

Microsoft Co-Founder Sues Google, Apple, Facebook

August 30, 2010 4:57 am | by Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft Corp. co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen is suing nearly a dozen major companies, including tech giants Google Inc. and Apple Inc., alleging they infringed on four Web technology patents held by his company Interval Licensing LLC. Interval said Friday it filed the suit in a U.

Japan Calls For 'Transparent' Chinese Labor Policies

August 30, 2010 4:56 am | by Anita Chang, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Japan called for "transparent policies" governing workers in China, saying labor disputes that halted operations at dozens of factories this year were troubling to Japanese companies. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada brought up the issue at a high-level economic meeting between China and Japan — the world's second and third largest economies — held in Beijing to discuss ways to recover from the economic crisis and foster regional cooperation.

Raytheon's Ray Gun Preparing To 'Torture' LA Prisoners

August 27, 2010 5:02 am | by Thomas Watkins, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A device designed to control unruly inmates by blasting them with a beam of intense energy that causes a burning sensation is drawing heat from civil rights groups who fear it could cause serious injury and is "tantamount to torture." The mechanism, known as an "Assault Intervention Device," is a stripped-down version of a military gadget that sends highly focused beams of energy at people and makes them feel as though they are burning.

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