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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

EPA To 'Effectively Shut Down' Without Budget Deal

September 23, 2013 2:32 pm | by Josh Lederman, Associated Press

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says the agency will "effectively shut down" unless Congress approves stopgap funding by Oct. 1. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency won't be able to pay employees. She says only a core group of people will remain on duty in case the EPA has to respond to a "significant emergency." The vast majority of employees will stay home.

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BlackBerry Slashes Jobs In Face Of $1B 2Q Loss

September 23, 2013 2:30 pm | by Rob Gillies, Associated Press

It was once so addictive it inspired the nickname "CrackBerry." President Barack Obama confessed to being among the millions of devotees who couldn't bear to stop tapping feverishly away on its tiny keyboard. Madonna once said she slept with hers under her pillow. Then came the iPhone.

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Moody's Restores GM Debt To Investment Grade

September 23, 2013 2:28 pm | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

A key ratings agency has restored General Motors' debt to investment grade status, eight years after the company lost the rating as it spiraled toward bankruptcy protection. The upgrade came on Monday morning, shortly after GM announced plans to buy back high-interest preferred stock from a union retiree health care trust fund for $3.2 billion.

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Survey: China Manufacturing At 6-Month High

September 23, 2013 2:26 pm | by Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer

China's manufacturing rose to a six-month high in September, in the latest sign that the world's second biggest economy is gradually recovering from a prolonged slowdown. The preliminary version of HSBC's purchasing managers' index released Monday climbed to 51.2 from 50.1 in August on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 indicate an expansion in activity.

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Lockheed Martin Awarded $4B Missile Defense Deal

September 23, 2013 2:24 pm | by The Associated Press

Lockheed Martin Corp. said Monday that it was awarded a $3.9 billion deal to provide missile defense equipment for the United States and the United Arab Emirates. The contract includes making up to 110 interceptors for the U.S. Army and 192 interceptors for the UAE. It will also make ground equipment for the UAE. Missile defense systems are able to detect and destroy any incoming missiles.

Auto Suppliers To Bring At Least 350 Jobs To AL

September 23, 2013 2:23 pm | by The Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says two affiliated companies in the automotive supply field will build their first U.S. production facility in Tuscaloosa, creating at least 350 new jobs by 2016. Bentley announced the plans during a Monday morning news conference at the Tuscaloosa River Market in Tuscaloosa.

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Long, Strange Trip Ending For VW's Hippie Van

September 23, 2013 10:02 am | by Bradley Brooks, Stan Lehman, Associated Press

It carried hippies through the 1960s, hauled surfers in search of killer waves during endless summers and serves as a workhorse across the developing world, but the long, strange trip of the Volkswagen van is ending. Brazil is the last place in the world still producing the iconic vehicle.

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Worker Rescued After Getting Stuck In Tank Of Tar

September 23, 2013 10:01 am | by The Associated Press

A worker at a Florida asphalt plant has been rescued after getting stuck in a tank of tar. The Florida Times-Union reports the 45-year-old man was using a steel cutter inside the tank Friday afternoon at Atlantic Coast Asphalt in Jacksonville.

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Unemployment Rates Rise In A Third Of U.S. States

September 23, 2013 9:58 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Employers cut jobs in 20 states last month, suggesting modest improvement in the job market this year is not enough to benefit all areas of the country. The Labor Department said Friday that 29 states added jobs, while Montana showed no net gain or loss in August. Unemployment rates rose in 18 states, fell in 17 and were unchanged in 15.

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Violence Continues Over Pay Hikes In Bangladesh

September 23, 2013 9:56 am | by Julhas Alam, Associated Press

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas Monday in the third day of clashes with thousands of garment workers demanding better minimum wages amid escalating tension over the country's main export business. Police said the violence mainly took place in the Gazipur and Savar Industrial zones, just outside the capital of Dhaka. 

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President Applauds Auto Mfg Resurgence

September 23, 2013 9:54 am | by Heather Hollingsworth, Associated Press

President Barack Obama applauded the resurgence of auto manufacturing Friday at a Ford Motor Co. plant near Kansas City as he urged Congress not to hamper the nation's economic recovery with threats of a partial government shutdown. "We bet on the America worker, we bet on you and now that bet is paying off," Obama said. "You have trouble making (vehicles) fast enough."

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AR Proposed Steel Mill Lining Up Customers

September 23, 2013 9:51 am | by Chuck Bartels, Associated Press

Financing for a $1.1 billion steel mill planned for northeast Arkansas expects to be wrapped up by the end of the year, but until then backers will be lining up customers and suppliers. The Big River Steel plant, which is projected to employ more than 500 people, recently was approved for an air quality permit from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, pending resolution of any objections that are due before mid-October.

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Ford To Pump $680M Into Canadian Factory

September 20, 2013 2:15 pm | by The Associated Press

Ford says it will sink 700 million Canadian dollars ($680 million) into an assembly plant near Toronto to add models and meet increased demand for vehicles around the world. The investment will preserve the Oakville, Ontario, plant's 2,800 jobs and expand its manufacturing capability, the company said Thursday.

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Senate Passes Bill To Avert Helium Shortage

September 20, 2013 2:12 pm | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press

Break out the balloons. Congress moved a step closer Thursday to averting an impending shutdown of the federal helium reserve, a key supplier of the lighter-than-air gas used in a products ranging from party balloons to MRI machines.

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Senator Concerned About Apple's Fingerprint Tech

September 20, 2013 2:10 pm | by The Associated Press

Sen. Al Franken is concerned about Apple's use of fingerprint recognition technology in its new iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5S, which went on sale Friday, includes a fingerprint sensor that lets users tap the phone's home button to unlock their phone, rather than enter a passcode.

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$188M Contract Is Welcome News For OH Tank Plant

September 20, 2013 2:08 pm | by The Associated Press

A deal to upgrade Abrams tanks for Saudi Arabia will be a big boost for the nation's only tank-manufacturing plant, which just a year ago was on shaky footing amid numerous threats to its federal funding. The $188 million contract with Saudi Arabia calls for most of the work to be done at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, about 80 miles south of Toledo.

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Employee Sues MO Utility Over Hazardous Materials

September 20, 2013 2:03 pm | by The Associated Press

An employee of Empire District Electric Co. alleges in a lawsuit that the utility exposed its employees to asbestos and other hazardous materials at a plant in southeast Missouri. The lawsuit, filed last week in Jasper County Circuit Court by Les Rider, of Diamond, seeks class-action status for employees who worked at the utility's Riverton plant. 

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Japan's Nissan In Sunny Plan For Myanmar

September 20, 2013 2:00 pm | by The Associated Press

Japan's Nissan Motor Co. said Friday it will build a car assembly plant in Myanmar to begin manufacturing the Nissan Sunny compact sedan in 2015. The company said the Myanmar Investment Commission approved its application for the joint venture auto plant with Malaysia's Tan Chong Motors on Aug. 15.

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MAPI: Return To Moderate Growth

September 20, 2013 10:57 am | by MAPI

Following a strong pace of production in the first quarter of 2013, manufacturing production eased in the second quarter but should accelerate growth, according to the quarterly Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation U.S. Industrial Outlook, a report that analyzes 27 major industries.

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Measure Of U.S. Economy's Health Up 0.7 Percent

September 20, 2013 10:09 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

A gauge of the U.S. economy's future health posted a solid gain in August, signaling stronger growth in coming months. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.7 percent in August from July. That followed a 0.5 percent gain in July from June.

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