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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Johnson Controls: Shanghai Plant Not Leaking Lead

November 30, 2011 3:47 am

SHANGHAI (AP) — U.S. battery maker Johnson Controls is at odds with Shanghai's environmental regulator over tests the company says show it was not responsible for severe lead poisoning cases in children discovered earlier this year. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company said Wednesday that an investigation by the China Electric Equipment Industry Association found its battery factory in Shanghai's eastern suburbs was not the cause of elevated blood-lead levels among children in a nearby community.


Horses Could Soon Be Slaughtered For Meat In U.S.

November 30, 2011 3:28 am

TULSA, Oklahoma (AP) — Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month. Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years.


Labor Dept: Cargill Discriminates In Hiring

November 29, 2011 8:03 am

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — The U.S. Labor Department says Cargill Meat Solutions systematically discriminated against more than 4,000 qualified applicants who sought entry-level production jobs at a facility that processes turkeys in northwest Arkansas. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs filed an administrative complaint against Cargill Meat Solutions, which is a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Cargill, Inc.


Who's Running The Show At American Airlines?

November 29, 2011 7:57 am

NEW YORK (AP) — A new executive is taking the helm at American Airlines parent AMR Corp. as the nation's third-largest carrier heads into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Thomas W. Horton, who first started at the Fort Worth, Texas, company 26 years ago, will now lead the company through court reorganization.

Diamond Foods: We're Ready To Get Sued Again

November 29, 2011 7:50 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Diamond Foods Inc., which is in the midst of an internal accounting probe and facing several related lawsuits, says it expects more suits will be filed against the company in the future. The company, based in San Francisco, is looking into allegations of improper accounting for crop payments to walnut growers.

American Confidence In Economy Rises

November 29, 2011 7:43 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans' confidence in the economy in November bounced back to its highest level since July, the latest sign that consumers are beginning to feel more cheerful about spending during the holiday shopping season. The Conference Board, a private research firm, says Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose 15 points to 56.

Cooper Tire To Resume Talks With Locked Out Union

November 29, 2011 7:19 am

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — Workers at a northern Ohio tire factory who are locked out after voting down a new contract say they will meet with company negotiators. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. locked out about 1,000 workers Monday at its plant in Findlay, a day after union members voted down a tentative three-year agreement.


NC Approves Deal To Lure Chiquita HQ From OH

November 29, 2011 7:12 am

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina economic development panel has approved an incentives deal worth more than $22 million to bring the global headquarters of banana giant Chiquita Brands International from Cincinnati to Charlotte. The state Economic Investment Committee voted Tuesday to approve the deal, which includes more than $20 million in state incentives and more than $2 million from local government to bring at least 375 high-paying jobs to North Carolina by 2014.


Toyota Starts Taking Orders For Prius Plug-in In Japan

November 29, 2011 4:05 am

TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota began taking orders Tuesday for the plug-in version of its hit Prius hybrid, announcing efficient mileage and a relatively affordable starting price of 3.2 million yen ($41,000), which comes down with green vehicle subsidies. Toyota is targeting Prius Plug-in sales of 35,000 to 40,000 a year in Japan, and 60,000 globally.

American Airlines Files For Bankruptcy

November 29, 2011 4:00 am

NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (Kyodo) — American Airlines' parent AMR Corp. and some of its subsidiaries including American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in a bankruptcy court in New York on Tuesday. The U.S. airline, which partners Japan Airlines, said it expects to continue normal flight operations.

Iconic Steuben Glass Closes Rochester Crystal Plant

November 29, 2011 3:55 am

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — It's the end of the line for Steuben Glass, an American icon of handcrafted crystal for over a century. The company's lone factory in Corning in western New York shuts down Tuesday, ending a high-end glassmaking tradition dating back to 1903. Most of the 60 workers are being axed.

Utility Shutters Recently-Completed Coal Plant

November 29, 2011 3:46 am

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota cooperative recently spent $437 million to build a coal-burning power plant in North Dakota. Now it plans to shut it down. Great River Energy, of Maple Grove, says a combination of factors caused it to reconsider running the plant, about 85 miles west of Fargo, N.


ConAgra Foods Becomes Agro Tech's Majority Owner

November 29, 2011 3:41 am

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — ConAgra Foods Inc. is paying $10 million to become the majority owner of Indian food company Agro Tech Foods Ltd. as ConAgra looks to broaden its international presence. ConAgra, whose brands include Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Hunt's and Peter Pan, said Tuesday that it made the payment to an unnamed third party to boost its ownership stake in Agro to more than 50 percent.

Ohio Insulation Plant A Total Loss After Fire

November 29, 2011 3:33 am

NEWCOMERSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Fire investigators say an eastern Ohio insulation factory where nearly 100 people worked is a total loss. The fire that started Sunday night collapsed the roof and destroyed the manufacturing plant at Janesville Acoustics in Newcomerstown, about 85 miles south of Cleveland.


Nissan To Recall 56,000 SUVs

November 28, 2011 6:55 am

TOKYO, Nov. 24 (Kyodo) — Nissan Motor Co. will recall about 56,000 vehicles of two models for possible fuel leakage and faulty tail lamps, according to its report submitted Thursday to the transport ministry. The two are the Dualis and X-Trail sport utility models produced between April 2007 and October 2010.

FDA Approves Expansion Of BioMarin Plant

November 28, 2011 6:52 am

NOVATO, Calif. (AP) — BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. said Monday the Food and Drug Administration approved the expansion of a manufacturing facility where the company makes several of its drugs and a key experimental drug. The company said the manufacturing facility in Novato now has the capacity to produce $1 billion in products, twice its previous capacity.

Plant Can Now Make 350 Boxes A Minute

November 28, 2011 6:50 am

MONROE, La. (AP) — A box plant started seven years ago with 40 employees, one contract and a $500,000 state grant has just completed a $4.5 million upgrade, with a new machine that can make up to 350 boxes a minute. That's double the speed of the original box press, which is still in use at Louisiana Corrugated Products LLC, operating partner Kingsley McCrocklin told The News-Star (http://tnsne.


Report: Top-Selling Cars In Latin America Unsafe

November 28, 2011 6:48 am

SAO PAULO (AP) — Some of Latin America's top-selling cars pose high risks of life-threatening injuries and are two decades behind the best safety standards in Europe and North America, a safety assessment agency said Thursday. Tests show cars produced by four automakers in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico are unsafe to drive, the Uruguay-based Latin New Car Assessment Program said in a report released in Sao Paulo.

Would-Be Automaker Drops Plans For LA Plant

November 28, 2011 6:45 am

MONROE, La. (AP) — Start-up auto maker Next Autoworks Co. withdrew its application Wednesday for more than $320 million in federal loans to fund a plant in Ouachita Parish, ending a project more than two years in development. A company statement said the U.S. Department of Energy notified Next Autoworks on Tuesday that its loan application with the agency's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program would not be approved.


GM To Offer Free Loaner Cars To Volt Owners

November 28, 2011 6:42 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Autos Writer

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will offer free loaner cars to Chevrolet Volt owners if they're concerned about the cars catching fire. The move comes after last week's announcement that the government is investigating fires involving the Volt's lithium-ion batteries. The company says it will contact the owners to reassure them that the cars are safe.


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