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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Mass. Residents Sue Over Chemical Explosion

November 17, 2009 4:05 am

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) — Two Massachusetts residents are suing a company that supplied chemicals they say were involved in huge explosion that damaged more than 270 homes and businesses in 2006. Deborah Riva, whose home was destroyed by the blast in Danvers, and Robert Corrieri, who lost his boat, want Salem Superior Court to grant class-action status to a lawsuit they filed Monday against Covington, Ky.

GAO: Employers Keep Workers Quiet On Injuries

November 17, 2009 3:53 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some employers are pressuring workers not to report illnesses and injuries, just one problem that has led to widespread underreporting of workplace safety issues, according to congressional investigators. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors often didn't interview workers to verify what employers claim when keeping tabs on accident and illness rates, the Government Accountability Office report released Monday states.

Coca-Cola Focuses On New Billion-Strong Middle Class

November 17, 2009 3:46 am | by Emily Fredrix, AP Food Industry Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — Coca-Cola Co. seeks to double its business in the next decade as it caters to the expected billion people worldwide who will join the middle class by 2020. The world's largest soft drink maker told analysts and investors at a meeting Monday that its systemwide revenue will reach $200 billion by 2020.

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Chinese Solar Panel Maker Finds Home In Arizona

November 17, 2009 3:33 am | by Terry Tang, Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX (AP) — Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday announced plans for a Chinese-owned solar panel maker to build its U.S. headquarters and a manufacturing plant in the Phoenix area, propelling one of the nation's sunniest states toward a bigger global presence in the renewable energy industry. Suntech Power Holdings Co.

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Dell To Use Crushed Bamboo In Packaging

November 17, 2009 3:30 am

SEATTLE (AP) — Bamboo has sprouted all over. It's being used everywhere from floorboards to tableware to inline skates and T-shirts, as consumers increasingly seek out products considered gentler on the Earth. Now computer maker Dell Inc. is using the fast-growing member of the grass family as a replacement for paper, plastic and foam packaging materials.

October Retail Beats Expectations Through Autos

November 16, 2009 4:03 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales rose more than expected in October, but the gain largely reflected a big rebound in auto sales. Sales fell at many other retail stores as consumer spending remains under pressure, raising questions about the durability of the recovery. The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales rose 1.

Pfizer Gets Eminent Domain, Does Nothing With Land

November 16, 2009 3:54 am | by Eric Tucker, Associated Press Writer

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — After drug giant Pfizer Inc. ( NYSE:PFE ) announced that it was opening a new research center here, city officials aggressively moved to acquire surrounding land for an economic development project — triggering an epic fight over eminent domain that reached the U.

Gen Xers The New Workplace 'Curmudgeons'

November 16, 2009 3:47 am | by Martha Irvine, AP National Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — They're antsy and edgy, tired of waiting for promotion opportunities at work as their elders put off retirement. A good number of them are just waiting for the economy to pick up so they can hop to the next job, find something more fulfilling and get what they think they deserve.

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Mass. Struggles Turning Green Tech Into Green Jobs

November 16, 2009 3:36 am | by Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) — In June, lithium-ion battery maker Boston-Power Inc. unveiled plans for a new manufacturing plant in Auburn that it said would employ 600 workers — a big gain in the state's drive for green jobs. Five months later, the Westborough-based company has scrapped its plans and is scoping out sites in China and other parts of Asia.

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GE Teams With China To Battle Boeing, Airbus

November 16, 2009 3:26 am

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric's ( NYSE:GE ) aviation unit is teaming with Aviation Industry Corp. of China to develop and market electronic systems for commercial aircraft customers, including the C919 narrow-body aircraft that China hopes will compete with jets made by industry giants Boeing ( NYSE:BA ) and Airbus.

GM Spins $1.2B Loss Into Positive Outlook

November 16, 2009 3:14 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krishner, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. says it lost $1.2 billion from the time it left bankruptcy protection through Sept. 30, far better than it has reported in previous quarters and a sign that the auto giant is starting to turn around its business. The company also says it will begin repaying $6.

FDA Challenges Makers Of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

November 13, 2009 5:03 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is challenging makers of alcohol-infused energy drinks to prove their beverages are safe, citing complaints that the products can cause dangerous behavior and injury. The FDA issued a letter to 30 beverage manufacturers, saying they have 30 days to show evidence that the combination of caffeine and alcohol is safe.

Tenn. Home To New 'Solar Way' And $1.2B Plant

November 13, 2009 3:50 am

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. and Tennessee officials on Thursday broke ground on a $1.2 billion plant and renamed the road leading to the sprawling facility "Solar Way." The plant will produce polysilicon, a raw material used to make solar cells and semiconductor devices.

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China Rejects $28 Billion In Steel Contracts

November 13, 2009 3:42 am

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities have rejected $28 billion worth of steel and other proposed industrial projects as they try to curb chaotic overinvestment the government worries could lead to economic trouble, officials said Friday. Business groups and economists have warned that Beijing's huge stimulus might fuel a dangerous boom and bust.

World's Richest Men: 'Darkest Hour' Behind Us

November 13, 2009 3:31 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Capitalism is still alive and well, say the world's two richest men, despite lingering shocks from the longest, deepest recession since the Great Depression. "The financial panic is behind us," said famed investor Warren Buffett, who recently made what he called an "all-in wager" on the U.

Boeing Patches Up Faulty 787 Wings After Delays

November 13, 2009 3:23 am

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Boeing Co. ( NYSE:BA ) said Thursday it has finished fixing structural flaws in the first of its long-delayed 787 jetliners. The problem forced the company to postpone test flying the jet for a fifth time earlier this year. The Chicago-based airplane maker said the repair within the joint where the wings attach to the plane's fuselage is "a significant step" toward the first test flight of the aircraft, which has been delayed due to a series of production glitches and a two-month labor strike late last year.

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Manufacturers Face Shortage Of Highly-Skilled Workers

November 13, 2009 3:17 am

DEARBORN, Mich.— As employers across the country continue to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, many manufacturers are facing an ironic dilemma. As they eliminate positions—mainly repetitive, assembly type jobs—they still have unfilled job openings for high-skilled workers. According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, The Manufacturing Institute and Oracle, “almost one-third of responding companies report some level of shortages today.

Defense Secretary To Truckmakers: 'You Are Saving Lives'

November 13, 2009 3:15 am

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates commended workers at Oshkosh Corp. ( NYSE:OSK ), telling them Thursday that the military trucks they produce that are being used in Afghanistan are saving soldiers' lives. The newest trucks, designed to be agile enough to maneuver through the nation's rugged terrain yet strong enough to withstand the blasts of roadside bombs, began landing in Afghanistan last month.

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Engineers Compete For $400,000 In 'Astronaut Glove Challenge'

November 12, 2009 10:25 am

WASHINGTON /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Reporters and the public are invited to attend the 2009 Astronaut Glove Challenge on Nov. 19 at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Fla., near NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The $400,000 prize challenge is a nationwide competition that focuses on developing improved pressure suit gloves for astronauts to use while working in the vacuum of space.

Toymaker Settles Suit Accusing CEO Of Harassment, Rape

November 11, 2009 11:11 am | by Mae Anderson, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — German toy maker Steiff has settled an $80 million lawsuit filed in June accusing the company's CEO of conducting a yearslong campaign of unwelcome advances toward a U.S. marketing executive and raping her, a lawyer for the company said Wednesday. When the lawsuit was filed by Steiff marketing executive Jane Collins in June, CEO Martin Frenchen said the allegations were meritless.

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