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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Explosions Rock FL Gas Plant

July 31, 2013 10:16 am | by Mike Schneider, Tamara Lush, Associated Press

Equipment malfunction and human error are among the possible causes of a series of explosions that spawned a 20-by-20 foot fireball at a central Florida propane plant and left eight injured, authorities said. Tavares Fire Chief Richard Keith identified the possible causes Tuesday, but said sabotage was not suspected.

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Report: U.S. Economic Growth Stronger In 2012

July 31, 2013 10:14 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

The government says the U.S. economy grew at a much faster pace last year than previously estimated. The revised growth figures signal a more sustainable economic recovery and help explain why job growth has accelerated this year. The economy expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate in 2012, up from a previous estimate of 2.2 percent.

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Rosie The Riveter's Factory Gets 2-Month Reprieve

July 31, 2013 10:12 am | by Mike Householder, Associated Press

A group has been given a two-month extension in which to raise enough money to save some of the Detroit-area factory where Rosie the Riveter helped build World War II-era bombers and became an icon of American female empowerment.             

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Judge Says He Can't End Chrysler Stock Fight Yet

July 31, 2013 10:11 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

A Delaware judge on Tuesday said he needs to hear more evidence before he can decide how much Fiat should pay to buy some outstanding shares of U.S. automaker Chrysler. The ruling by Chancery Court Judge Donald Parsons is likely to delay Fiat's quest to buy all of the Chrysler stock that it doesn't own.

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VW Holds Its Own In Tough Market

July 31, 2013 10:09 am | by David McHugh, AP Business Writer

German automaker Volkswagen AG says net profit fell 50 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous year, when earnings were boosted by a one-time accounting plus related to its takeover of Porsche. Excluding the Porsche effect, the company's operating earnings rose 1.8 percent in what it called "a difficult market environment," beating analyst estimates.

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Ford To Offer Natural Gas F-150

July 31, 2013 10:08 am | by The Associated Press

Ford soon will offer a natural gas version of its F-150 pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in America. The company is the first Detroit automaker with that option in a light-duty pickup truck. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler already have natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.

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Nissan Building Park For Suppliers At Miss. Plant

July 30, 2013 2:52 pm | by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press

Gov. Phil Bryant and Nissan officials spoke Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday near Canton. The manufacturing plant opened in 2003 and is about 15 miles north of Jackson, facing Interstate 55. The new supplier park will not be visible from the interstate.

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U.S. Consumer Confidence Dips From 5-Year High

July 30, 2013 2:44 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

Americans' confidence in the economy fell only slightly in July but stayed close to a 5 ½-year high. The report shows consumers remain upbeat about the outlook for job growth later this year. Consumers' confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. It surged in June, coinciding with a stronger job market.

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Nissan Recalls Versa Note Hatchbacks

July 30, 2013 2:42 pm | by Associated Press

The company says the recall affects cars from the 2014 model year that were built in Mexico before July 5 and distributed mainly in North America. Nissan says bolts holding the rear seat back latches may not be strong enough. This could increase the injury risk for back-seat passengers in a crash.

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EPA Chief: Climate Controls Will Help Economy

July 30, 2013 2:39 pm | by Dina Cappiello, Associated Press

In her first speech as the head of EPA, Gina McCarthy told an audience gathered at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass., that curbing climate-altering pollution will spark business innovation, grow jobs and strengthen the economy. The message was classic Obama, who has long said that the environment and the economy aren't in conflict and has sold ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gases as a means to jumpstart a clean energy economy.

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Unemployment Rates Rise In 90 Pct. Of U.S. Cities

July 30, 2013 2:37 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Unemployment rates rose in nearly all large U.S. cities in June as college graduates and many of those still in school began searching for jobs. The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates rose in 347 large metro areas in June compared with the previous month. They fell in 12 and were unchanged in 13. In May, rates fell in 109 cities and rose in 243.

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Manufacturing Drop Shows Weakness In Japan Economy

July 30, 2013 2:35 pm | by Associated Press

Japan's industrial output fell in June for the first time in five months, the government said Tuesday as it released data highlighting the fragility of the recovery in the world's No. 3 economy. Manufacturing slipped 3.3 percent from the month before in June and was 4.8 percent lower than a year before, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

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Volkswagon Gags Academics From Revealing Car Flaws

July 30, 2013 10:43 am | by Associated Press

A British university says it is delaying the publication of an academic paper on electronic vulnerabilities in high-end Volkswagen cars following legal action from the German automaker. The academics had hoped to publish the paper at the USENIX Security Conference in Washington next month.

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Massive Explosions Rock Fla. Gas Plant

July 30, 2013 10:39 am | by Mike Schneider and Tamara Lush, Associated Press

A series of explosions rocked a central Florida propane gas plant and sent "boom after boom after boom" through the neighborhood around it. Eight people were injured, with at least three in critical condition. Tavares Fire Chief Richard Keith said possible causes of the explosion may be either equipment malfunction or possibly human error. Sabotage was not suspected.

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Valeant To Cut Jobs, Move Bausch + Lomb HQ

July 30, 2013 10:34 am | by Associated Press

In a letter to its own and Bausch + Lomb workers, Valeant said that after the deal closes, it will eliminate between 10 percent and 15 percent of positions company wide. That works out to between 1,850 and 2,775 people and is expected to include both Valeant and Bausch + Lomb workers.

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China Explosion Fuels Environmental Concerns

July 30, 2013 10:27 am | by Louise Watt, Associated Press

An explosion Tuesday at a Chinese plant that produces the toxic chemical paraxylene has added fuel to a growing movement opposing such plants, on the same day that a state-run newspaper prominently urged the public to accept the industry as safe.

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Obama Proposes 'Grand Bargain' For Jobs

July 30, 2013 10:16 am | by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press

President Barack Obama is extending a new proposal to Republicans that he hopes will break the political gridlock on budget negotiations, offering to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for job investments. White House officials say just because they're at an impasse with congressional Republicans over a grand bargain on reducing the deficit doesn't mean they shouldn't look for other areas of agreement.

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Toyota Financial Services To Appoint New President, CEO

July 29, 2013 3:16 pm | by Toyota

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) announced that George Borst, the company’s U.S. leader of 16 years will be retiring effective September 30, 2013, after which he will assume the role of Executive Advisor until the end of calendar year 2014. Appointed to replace Borst is Mike Groff, currently Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Product Development at TFS.

BMW Pulls Wraps Off i3 Electric Car

July 29, 2013 2:32 pm | by The Associated Press

BMW AG is showing off the production model of its new i3 electric compact that uses carbon-fiber materials to keep the weight down and improve driving performance. CEO Norbert Reithofer stressed at a New York unveiling that the car was designed as an electric from the ground up. The i3 is "born electric," he said.

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Signs Of Declining Economic Security

July 29, 2013 2:29 pm | by Hope Yen, Associated Press

Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

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