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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Power Plant Blast Kills 5, 95 Percent Workers Accounted For

February 8, 2010 3:27 am | by John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writer

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut fire official says at least 95 percent of the nearly 100 workers who were at a power plant that exploded are accounted for. Middletown Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano said Monday that most of the workers are accounted for, judging by conversations with contractors and labor union officials.

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Chinese Seller Of Phony Cisco Parts Gets 2.5 Years

February 5, 2010 10:02 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Chinese businessman who sold phony Cisco computer parts to U.S. buyers has been sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles announced the sentence Friday against Yongcai Li. He also was ordered to repay nearly $800,000 to Cisco Systems Inc.

Wis. Gov. Signs Green Jobs Bill To Rake In Stimulus Cash

February 5, 2010 9:57 am

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Jim Doyle says a bill he signed into law will help the state increase access to federal bonds and create hundreds of jobs in Wisconsin. Doyle signed the bill Friday at Energy Composites, a wind blade manufacturing plant in Wisconsin Rapids. The bill allows cities and counties to tap into unused bonding authority given under the federal stimulus law.

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GM Supplier, SL America, To Add 300 Jobs With $35m Expansion

February 5, 2010 8:38 am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Auto parts supplier SL America will add 300 jobs in a $35 million expansion at its SL Tennessee LLC plant in Clinton. A statement from Tennessee economic development director Matt Kisber's office said the new jobs in the planned $35 million expansion will be created by the end of 2010.

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BAE Systems Closes Tenn. Plant, Cuts 173 Jobs

February 5, 2010 5:04 am

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Defense contractor BAE Systems said it is permanently closing its manufacturingplant in East Tennessee in a move that will eliminate 173 jobs. The plant in Grainger County made body armor for the military. Joe Coltman, vice president of personnel protection systems, said in a statement provided to the Knoxville News Sentinel that the permanent closure would be effective Friday.

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Toy Company Fined $200K For Leaded Winnie The Pooh

February 5, 2010 3:54 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. company has agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty to settle allegations it violated U.S. law when it imported Thomas and Friends, Curious George and Winnie the Pooh toys with high levels of lead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission alleged that Schylling Associates Inc.

Prius Recall Highlights Dangers Of Electronic Car Controls

February 5, 2010 3:41 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Your most expensive piece of electronics probably is not your flat panel TV or your computer. More likely, it's your car, which can pack 50 microprocessors to control everything from the fuel mix to the rearview mirrors. The recalls and other technical problems besetting Toyota in the last few weeks highlight the risks of relying on electronics instead of the mechanical rods and cables that controlled vehicles for most of the 20th century.

January Unemployment Drops To 9.7 Percent

February 5, 2010 3:34 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly in January to 9.7 percent, while employers shed 20,000 jobs, according to a report that offered hope the economy will add jobs soon. The unemployment rate dropped from 10 percent because a survey of households found the number of employed Americans rose by 541,000, the Labor Department said Friday.

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Air Products Offers $5.1B For Airgas, Willing To Get Hostile

February 5, 2010 3:28 am

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. (AP) — Industrial gas supplier Air Products and Chemicals Inc. said Friday that it made an unsolicited cash bid of about $5.1 billion for smaller rival Airgas Inc. and is willing to make a hostile offer if necessary. Airgas said its board will review the offer with financial and legal advisors and recommended that its stockholders not take any action yet.

Body Armor CEO Spent $353,000 On Pens

February 5, 2010 3:22 am

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a former chief executive had lavish spending habits — including $353,000 worth of pens, some made of gold or silver. The evidence was presented Thursday at the Central Islip (EYE'-slip), N.Y., trial of David H. Brooks. He founded DHB Industries, Inc.

Feds Adopt Safety Revisions After Slim Jim Explosion

February 5, 2010 3:20 am | by Mike Baker, Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal officials voted Thursday night to adopt urgent safety recommendations in response to last year's deadly explosion at a Slim Jim snack factory in North Carolina. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board approved the recommendations Thursday night by a 2-1 vote taken following a public hearing in Raleigh.

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Joojoo Web Tablet To Reach Consumers By Month's End

February 4, 2010 4:49 am | by Jessica Mintz, AP Technology Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — The Joojoo, a Web-browsing tablet device that's the subject of a high-profile Silicon Valley legal dispute, appears on track to reach early buyers at the end of February. The flat touch-screen computer was known until December as the CrunchPad, after the technology blog TechCrunch.

Civil Lawsuit Reopened Over Stinky Hogs

February 4, 2010 3:45 am | by Bill Draper, Associated Press Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fourteen rural northwest Missouri residents who received $100,000 apiece in a 1999 lawsuit against a major hog producer have asked a Jackson County jury to give them more money for what they say are intolerable smells coming from its 80,000-head hog confinement in Gentry County.

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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