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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Lawmakers: Put Dangerous Chemical Site Info Online

June 18, 2013 10:10 am | by Will Weissert, Associated Press

There are 16 fertilizer production sites in Texas like the one that exploded in West, but authorities aren't clear how many of those might be located near schools or other residential centers, top state officials said Monday. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy testified before the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.

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Lego To Expand Czech Facility To Meet Demand

June 18, 2013 10:08 am | by The Associated Press

Danish toymaker Lego says it will expand a factory in the Czech Republic and create some 800 jobs to meet growing regional demand for its popular building blocks. Carsten Rasmussen of Lego's European packing division did not reveal the size of the investment except to say it was "a large two-digit million euro figure."

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EU Official: Trade Deal With U.S. A 'Game-Changer'

June 18, 2013 10:07 am | by The Associated Press

The top official with the European Union's executive arm says a free trade deal with the United States would be a "game-changer" for the global economy. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made the statement Monday ahead of a formal launch of the trade effort at the Group of Eight Summit in Northern Ireland.

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U.S. Official: Solar Plane To Help Ground Energy Use

June 18, 2013 10:06 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer

The plane parked outside the airport looks more like a giant exotic insect or maybe an outsized toy. When it's in flight, there's no roar of engines. It's strangely quiet. And as it crisscrosses the U.S., the spindly plane doesn't use a drop of fuel. Day, and even night, it flies on the power of the sun.

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Unsuccessful Job Applicants Seek Hiring Records

June 17, 2013 2:18 pm | by Kate Brumback, Associated Press

Documents having to do with a state agency's involvement in recruiting and hiring workers for a private company should be available to the public, a lawyer for four unsuccessful applicants for jobs at a Georgia auto plant argued Monday.

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Nuclear Weapons Plant To Improve Fire Safety

June 17, 2013 2:16 pm | by The Associated Press

Pantex, the country's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly plant, has completed main construction on a $35M project that is designed to improve fire protection at the facility. The new construction comes after the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board raised safety concerns earlier this year.

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Texas Gov. Courts CT Gun Makers On Tour

June 17, 2013 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has come to Connecticut in search of gun manufacturing and other jobs while talking up the importance of competition. Perry met privately with gun manufacturers and other businesses at a downtown Hartford restaurant on Monday. He told reporters it's part of his state's drive to compete for jobs.

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2 Remain Hospitalized After LA Explosions

June 17, 2013 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press

Federal investigators are at two chemical plants that were the sites of fatal explosions last week, and two people remain hospitalized. CF Industries Holdings Inc. spokeswoman Blythe Lamonica says a team from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was at the plant Sunday.

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Hundreds Sickened In Bangladesh Garment Factory

June 17, 2013 2:11 pm | by The Associated Press

Several hundred garment workers were sickened at their factory outside Bangladesh's capital on Sunday, apparently after drinking water there. Police official Mohammad Jahid said many of the workers were treated at various hospitals after the incident at East West Factory in Gazipur district.

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Company Drops Plans For NV Solar Project

June 17, 2013 2:10 pm | by The Associated Press

A Chinese-backed company is dropping plans for a major solar project near the Colorado River resort town of Laughlin, Nev. ENN Mojave Energy LLC has informed Clark County officials that it's terminating its agreement to purchase 9,000 acres after it was unable to find customers for the power that would have been generated there.

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Police: 1 Dead, 7 Hurt In 2nd LA Plant Blast

June 17, 2013 10:15 am | by The Associated Press

A second blast in two days has killed a worker at a south Louisiana chemical plant, just miles from the site where two workers were killed a day earlier. The latest explosion also injured seven people, some severely, State Police Trooper Jared Sandifer said late Friday.

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Chrysler Freezes Pension Plan For 8,000 Employees

June 17, 2013 10:09 am | by Sarah Skidmore, Associated Press

Chrysler Group LLC said Friday that it is freezing the pensions of roughly 8,000 U.S. salaried employees at the end of the year. The U.S. automaker said it is making the move to stay in line with industry trends and to comply with IRS regulations. The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company declined to detail the specifics of the IRS issue, but said it is currently in compliance.

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Caterpillar To Begin WI Layoffs

June 17, 2013 10:08 am | by The Associated Press

Caterpillar Inc. says it is placing about 260 production employees at its South Milwaukee plant on indefinite layoff because of weaker demand for mining equipment. The layoffs represent about a third of the more than 800 workers represented by the Steelworkers union at the plant. The layoffs go into effect June 24.

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GM Recalling 193,652 SUVs For Fire Risk

June 17, 2013 10:07 am | by The Associated Press

General Motors is recalling more than 193,652 SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years because a circuit board in the driver's door could short and cause a fire. The vehicles involved are the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Ruick Rainier, Saab 9-7x and Isuzu Ascender from the 2006 and 2007 model years. The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL are also included.

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Long-Haul Jets Get Boost At Paris Air Show

June 17, 2013 10:05 am | by Lori Hinnant, Associated Press

Airbus and Boeing both won pledges for big purchases of long-haul, wide-body jets Monday, as the Paris Air Show got off to a robust if rainy start. The global aviation event at Le Bourget airfield north of Paris is once again showcasing the rivalry between U.S.-based Boeing and French-based Airbus.

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Pope Blesses Hundreds Of Harley-Davidsons

June 17, 2013 10:03 am | by Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Biker culture came to the Vatican on Sunday as Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley-Davidsons and their riders celebrating the manufacturer's 110th anniversary with a loud parade and plenty of leather. Standing in his open-top jeep, Francis drove up the main boulevard leading to St. Peter's Square, blessing the thousands of people in what was a giant Harley parking lot.

2 PA Plants Close, Affecting Almost 150

June 14, 2013 5:23 pm | by The Associated Press

Two central Pennsylvania factories have abruptly closed down, leaving almost 150 workers without jobs, a local official confirmed. Fenco Automotive Products is filing for bankruptcy, said Mike Flanagan, president and CEO of Clinton County Economic Partnership, and its local plants include the former Champion Parts building in Lock Haven and Fenco-related Lock Haven Distribution.

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European Growth Still On U.S. Agenda, Not As Loudly

June 14, 2013 5:23 pm | by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press

A year after President Barack Obama made an emphatic pitch to Europe's economic powers to focus more on economic growth than austerity, much of the eurozone remains mired in or near recession. Obama's appeals have had mixed results in softening the demands on some of the most debt-ridden European nations to cut their spending.

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AP: More Bangladesh Factories Dangerous

June 14, 2013 5:23 pm | by Ravi Nessman, Associated Press

Bangladeshi garment factories are routinely built without consulting engineers. Many are located in commercial or residential buildings not designed to withstand the stress of heavy manufacturing. Some add illegal extra floors atop support columns too weak to hold them, according to a survey of scores of factories by an engineering university that was shown to The Associated Press.

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U.S. Factory Output Rises 0.1 Percent In May

June 14, 2013 5:23 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

U.S. factories barely increased their output in May after two months of declines, a sign that manufacturing is providing little support for the economy. The Federal Reserve said Friday that factory production rose just 0.1 percent in May from April. Output fell 0.4 percent in April and 0.3 percent in March.

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