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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Former Enron Plant Manager Looks Back With Mixed Feelings

November 30, 2011 8:26 am

HOUSTON (AP) — Former Enron Corp. employee George Maddox, who lost his retirement savings when the energy giant collapsed, says he has been forced to spend his golden years making ends meet by mowing pastures and living in a run-down East Texas farmhouse. Maddox, who served 30 years as a plant manager with the company, was long retired as Enron began spiraling out of control in the months leading up to its bankruptcy on Dec.


Republicans Aim To Quash New Labor Rules

November 30, 2011 8:21 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are maneuvering to short-circuit an effort by Democrats on the National Labor Relations Board to approve rules that would quicken the pace of union elections. The GOP member of the labor board is threatening to resign his post, which would deny the board a quorum and quash the entire process.

After Losing Fed Loan, Military Solar Project A Go

November 30, 2011 4:23 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A $1 billion solar energy project that lost a federal loan in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy and related investigations is back on track to nearly double the number of panels on residential rooftops in the U.S. San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity said Wednesday that it had reached a deal with Bank of America Corp.


Olympus Still Aiming To Release Earnings, Remain Listed

November 30, 2011 4:15 am

TOKYO, Nov. 30 (Kyodo) — Scandal-mired Olympus Corp. said Wednesday it still aims to release its April to September earnings report by the Dec. 14 deadline in order to remain listed. "The company intends to file the quarterly report by Dec. 14, 2011, and is continuing its preparations in that regard" to remain listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the camera and optical equipment maker said in a statement.

Bahrain Firm Accuses Alcoa Of Bribery

November 30, 2011 4:08 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Companies affiliated with Alcoa and controlled by a billionaire businessman paid $9.5 million in bribes to Bahrain officials and executives with a Bahrain-controlled company that overpaid for raw materials as a result, the Middle Eastern firm said in court papers.

Medal of Honor Recipient Sues BAE For Defamation

November 30, 2011 3:55 am | by Paul J. Weber, Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A U.S. Marine given the nation's highest award for valor is suing a defense contractor that he says ridiculed his Medal of Honor, called him mentally unstable and suggested he had a drinking problem, thereby costing him a job. Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor in September, two years after the young corporal saved 36 lives during a six-hour ambush in Afghanistan.

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.



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