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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Natural Gas Price Plunge Aids Businesses

January 16, 2012 3:47 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of natural gas is plummeting at a pace that has caught even the experts off guard. A 35 percent collapse in the futures price over the past year has been a boon to homeowners who use natural gas for heat and appliances and to manufacturers who power their factories and make chemicals and materials with it.

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Apple Discloses Suppliers For The First Time

January 16, 2012 3:45 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple has disclosed a list of its suppliers for the iPhone, iPad and other popular gadgets for the first time amid growing criticism over labor and environmental practices, especially in China. The list for years has been strictly and fervently protected. Even a glimpse of an Apple iPhone or its components before a public release became a source of intrigue and controversy.

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Unemployment Applications Jump To 399,000

January 13, 2012 7:56 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Applications for weekly unemployment benefits spiked last week, largely because companies let go of thousands of workers after the holiday season. Weekly applications rose by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 399,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest level in six weeks.

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Colfax Closes $2.3B Deal For Charter International

January 13, 2012 7:54 am

FULTON, Md. (AP) — Pump and valve maker Colfax Corp. on Friday said that it closed a $2.3 billion acquisition of Charter International plc after approval by a regulator and the boards and shareholders of both companies. Colfax said in September that it would buy Charter, which owns two engineering businesses, in a cash-and-stock deal worth about 1.

IN Dems: Voters Should Decide Right-To-Work

January 13, 2012 7:52 am | by Tom LoBianco, Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Democrats want voters to decide the fate of a right-to-work bill or else they'll continue stall tactics designed to derail the contentious legislation, the House minority leader said Friday. A statewide referendum should decide whether Indiana will become the 23rd state to ban union contracts that include mandatory representation fees, House Democratic leader Patrick Bauer said.

November Trade Deficit Hits $47.8B

January 13, 2012 7:50 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in November for the first time in five months, largely because of a spike in the price of imported oil. Still, exports fell for a second straight month, a sign that Europe's slowdown has begun to affect the U.S. economy. The trade gap rose 10.

Man Sentenced For Selling Dow Secrets To China

January 13, 2012 7:47 am

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A retired Dow Chemical Co. research scientist has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for his conviction on charges that he stole trade secrets from Dow's Plaquemine plant and sold them to companies in China. The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/yc5sNh ) 75-year-old Wen Chyu Liu, also known as David Liou, was sentenced Wednesday U.

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Bankrupt Solyndra Eyes Employee Bonuses

January 13, 2012 7:45 am

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A California solar panel manufacturer that received a half-billion dollar loan from the federal government before declaring bankruptcy is asking a Delaware judge to approve up to $500,000 in employee bonuses. A hearing on the request by Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif.

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Japan To Reduce Iran Oil Imports, Support U.S.

January 13, 2012 4:00 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan gave a boost Thursday to the U.S. campaign to sanction Iran over its nuclear program, pledging to buy less Iranian oil, a day after China reacted coolly to the U.S. effort. Iran's "nuclear development problem can't be ignored by the world, so from that perspective we understand the U.

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Novartis To Cut Nearly 2,000 U.S. Jobs

January 13, 2012 3:59 am

GENEVA (AP) — Drug maker Novartis will cut 1,960 jobs in the United States this year in anticipation of lower sales for two of its hypertension drugs, the Swiss company said Friday. Basel-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG said the cuts will affect 1,630 sales positions in the field and 330 posts at its U.

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Survey Shows 2011 Economy Ended Strong

January 13, 2012 3:57 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The final weeks of 2011 were among the U.S. economy's strongest as Americans shopped and traveled more, ending the year with a shot of optimism for 2012. That's the bright picture the Federal Reserve sketched in a survey released Wednesday. It said all but one of its 12 banking districts experienced some growth from late November through the end of the year.

BMW To Add 300 Jobs With $900M Investment

January 13, 2012 3:54 am | by Susanne M. Schafer, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — BMW said Thursday it will add 300 new jobs at its South Carolina plant and make a $900 million investment to expand the factory over the next three years, continuing a recent trend of automakers boosting their U.S. operations to help meet growing global demand. Officials for the German automaker said the move will boost production at the plant, BMW's only one in the United States, to at least 300,000 cars this year from 276,065 in 2011 and include the introduction of its new X4 crossover.

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New Sensation: Phones That Let You Feel

January 13, 2012 3:52 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sure, today's phones can deliver the sound of a heartbeat. But how would you like to actually feel the throbbing? A few companies want to replace the crude vibration motors in today's phones and tablets with something that provides a much wider range of sensations, allowing you to feel the rumble of a Harley or the reverberation of a shotgun blast.

Apple Store Egged After New iPhone Delayed

January 13, 2012 3:49 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Angry customers and gangs of scalpers threw eggs at Apple Inc.'s Beijing store Friday after the iPhone 4S launch there was canceled due to concerns over the crowd's size. Apple reacted to the outburst by postponing iPhone 4S sales in its mainland China stores to protect customers and employees.

NC Freightliner Factory To Add 1,100 Jobs

January 12, 2012 6:02 am | by Emery P. Dalesio, Associated Press

CLEVELAND, N.C. (AP) — Daimler Trucks North America has announced it will hire 1,100 workers to build long-distance trucks at its NC Freightliner plant as it bulks up after the recession. The company made the announcement Thursday at the factory in the Rowan County town of Cleveland.

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China Auto Sales Slow

January 12, 2012 5:58 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — Vehicle sales in China rose a scant 2.5 percent in 2011, the slowest growth in over a decade, as higher prices and traffic controls kept buyers out of showrooms. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Thursday that total vehicle sales rose to 18.

Vestas To Lay Off More Than 2,300 Workers

January 12, 2012 5:55 am | by Jan M. Olsen, Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world's biggest maker of wind turbines in terms of revenue, said Thursday it is to layoff 2,335 people worldwide and warned that an additional 1,600 jobs in the U.S. could be at risk if Congress doesn't extend tax breaks for renewable energy.

Union: Nike To Pay Indonesian Workers $1M

January 12, 2012 5:53 am

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Sports equipment maker Nike Inc. has agreed to give workers in Indonesia $1 million in unpaid overtime, employee representatives said Thursday. A national trade union representing nearly 4,500 employees from the PT Nikomas shoe plant in Banten province said Nike had failed to pay close to 600,000 hours over a two-year period.

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Marchionne: Europe Needs To Cut Car Production

January 12, 2012 5:51 am

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday that Europe needs to cut 10 to 20 percent of its auto manufacturing capacity to deal with falling sales in the region. Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimates Europe sold 13.5 million vehicles last year, down from a peak of 16 million in 2007.

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Xbox Workers Threaten Suicide In Labor Tiff

January 12, 2012 5:47 am

BEIJING (AP) — Dozens of workers assembling Xbox video game consoles climbed to a factory dormitory roof, and some threatened to jump to their deaths, in a dispute over jobs that was defused but highlights growing labor unrest as China's economy slows. The dispute boiled over last week after contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group said it would close the production line for Microsoft Corp.

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