HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A Hammond Sanitary District official says a greasy white substance backing up through basement drains into homes appears to be linked to operations at a Unilever soap factory. Unilever and Hammond city officials haven't determined the cause of the Friday backup but the district's pretreatment coordinator, Jeff Massey, said during a public meeting Monday night that sewage apparently backed up after animal fat and coconut oil from the plant solidified and clogged sewer lines.
HONG KONG (AP) — China's manufacturing boom eased off slightly in the last month of the year, a survey said, reflecting tightening policies taken by authorities to keep inflation in check. The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its purchasing managers index, or PMI, dipped to 53.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturers likely increased output at the same pace in December as the previous month, notching the 17th straight month of growth. The Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity is expected to remain unchanged at 56.6. Any reading above 50 indicates that the sector is growing.
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A spokesman for an auto parts supplier says four people have been injured in an explosion at the company's plant in Virginia. Jim Burke, spokesman for Federal-Mogul Corp. in Southfield, Mich., said the injured were employees of a local contractor that was conducting routine duct work cleaning.
DETROIT (AP) — This was the year General Motors Co. and Nissan made good on their promise to bring mass-produced electric cars to the market. But don't count on seeing one in traffic soon. Sales so far have been microscopic and they're likely to stay that way for some time because of limited supplies.
MILAN (AP) — Fiat split its industrial vehicle business from its automaking unit on Monday, unwinding two vastly divergent businesses with the goal of creating a global automotive company with Chrysler LLC. As Fiat Industrial began its trading life as an independent entity, opening at euro9 ($12.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Farm equipment manufacturers are rolling out cleaner tractors to meet stricter new federal air regulations, but many in the industry say the challenge will be getting farmers to put the high-priced models into fields during hard economic times. The rules that went into effect Saturday apply to tractors, construction vehicles and other so-called nonroad equipment.
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of General Motors jumped 2.4 percent Tuesday in premarket trading after several investment groups initiated coverage of the reinvigorated automaker. Credit Suisse set an "Outperform" rating for GM with a 12-month price target of $43 per share, saying that the company's stint under bankruptcy protection cleansed its balance sheet.
BEIJING (AP) — China said Tuesday it is reducing the amount of rare earths it will export next year by more than 10 percent — likely to be an unpopular move worldwide since the minerals are vital to the manufacture of high-tech products. China accounts for 97 percent of the global production of rare earths, which are essential to devices as varied as cell phones, computer drives and hybrid cars.
ROCHESTER, New York (AP) — Alfred E. Kahn, who presided over the historic deregulation of the U.S. airline industry during President Jimmy Carter's administration, paving the way for JetBlue and other low-cost carriers, died Monday. He was 93. Kahn, an economics professor at Cornell University, died of cancer at his home in Ithaca, New York, the school said in a statement.
NEW YORK (AP) — Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring? Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat. More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Monday that it plans to include its fuel-saving Auto Start-Stop technology — originally designed for and used in its gas-electric hybrids — in a wider range of vehicles sold in North America starting in 2012. The technology automatically shuts off the engine when a vehicle stops, which Ford says improves fuel economy at least 4 percent.
BURNS HARBOR, Ind. (AP) — Andrew Sweeney said it wasn't part of his initial plan to work in the steel industry. Hired earlier this year as an electrical maintenance technician working at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, Sweeney said his thoughts changed once he enrolled in a training program that helped him snag a job with the world's largest steelmaker.
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A division of Caterpillar that plans to employ 650 people at a diesel-electric railroad locomotive plant in Muncie is looking for workers. Progress Rail Services has begun advertising for 70 welders and other positions through the state website www.indianacareerconnect.
MOUNT VERNON, Ind. (AP) — A company is ramping up production at an ethanol plant in southwestern Indiana that is now operating after construction work was halted for more than a year. Pekin, Ill.-based Aventine Renewable Energy produced its first ethanol on Nov. 30 at the Mount Vernon plant, which it started building in late 2007.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan has been overtaken by China as the world's No. 2 economy. Its flagship company, Toyota, recalled more than 10 million vehicles in an embarrassing safety crisis. Its fourth prime minister resigned in three years, and the government remains unable to jolt an economy entering its third decade of stagnation.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft Corp. on Tuesday announced its commitment to keep its aircraft operations in Kansas for the next 10 years as part of a $45 million deal brokered with state and local officials. In return for an incentives package, Hawker Beechcraft has agreed to maintain its current aircraft lines and keep at least 4,000 jobs in the state during the next 10 years.
SHANGHAI (AP) — A Chinese subsidiary of U.S.-based PPG Industries Inc. has pled guilty to violating U.S. export controls by exporting high-tech coatings to a nuclear reactor in Pakistan, the U.S. Commerce Department said. PPG and its wholly owned subsidiary PPG Paints Trading (Shanghai) Co.
PARIS (AP) — Airbus has warned pilots about a dangerous potential malfunction of speed sensors on aircraft like the Air France A330 that crashed into the Atlantic last year, killing all 228 people aboard. The European jet maker on Monday sent the warning over the sensors, called Pitot tubes, to the roughly 100 operators of its A330 and A340-200 and A340-300 long-range, widebody aircraft.
WASHINGTON (AP) — South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia and German car maker Volkswagen lead the insurance industry's annual list of the safest new vehicles, used by safety-minded consumers looking to buy a new car. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recognized 66 vehicles on Wednesday with its "top safety pick award" for the 2011 model year, the most-ever awarded by the Virginia-based group.