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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China Fines Unilever For Increasing Yuan Inflation

May 6, 2011 4:34 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China's government said it fined consumer products maker Unilever for disrupting efforts to cool surging inflation by talking to Chinese media about expected price hikes for soap and triggering a buying rush. The British-Dutch company was fined 2 million yuan ($308,000) for "spreading information about price rises and disrupting market pricing order," the Cabinet's planning agency said Friday.

GE Begs For F-35 Funding, Offers To Pay Up Itself

May 6, 2011 4:29 am | by Lisa Cornwell, Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — Jet engine manufacturer GE Aviation on Thursday offered to fund continued development of the recently terminated alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through 2012. The GE Electric Co. unit in Evendale, a Cincinnati suburb, has been developing the F136 engine for about 15 years, but the 2011 U.

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CEO Pay Already Surpasses Pre-Recession Levels

May 6, 2011 4:21 am | by Rachel Beck, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — In the boardroom, it's as if the Great Recession never happened. CEOs at the nation's largest companies were paid better last year than they were in 2007, when the economy was booming, the stock market set a record high and unemployment was roughly half what it is today. The typical pay package for the head of a company in the Standard & Poor's 500 was $9 million in 2010, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data provided by Equilar, an executive compensation research firm.

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Volvo To Add 50 Jobs At Hagerstown Engine Plant

May 5, 2011 9:41 am

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Swedish truck maker Volvo says it expects to add at least 50 jobs at its Hagerstown engine-and-transmission plant. An executive made the announcement Wednesday at the plant's 50th anniversary party. He says about 35 jobs will be created when the plant starts making a new transmission for the company's Volvo and Mack trucks in mid-2012.

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RBD Helps Manufacturers On An Electron-Sized Scale

May 5, 2011 9:37 am | by Tim Doran, Associated Press Writer

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Bend-based RBD Instruments deals in equipment so technical that when someone asks about it, President and CEO Randy Dellwo usually gives a simplified answer. He tells them it's similar to working with electron microscopes. For physicists or others who need help operating or aligning their ion guns or rebuilding their duoplasmatrons, RBD Instruments can handle it.

Ky. Gov. Candidate Blasted For Industrial Hemp Support

May 5, 2011 9:20 am

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett is under attack from a primary opponent for supporting a proposal to allow Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp. Moffett has called during the campaign for restrictions to be lifted so that Kentucky farmers could grow hemp for industrial purposes.

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Stocks Tumble On Higher Unemployment News

May 5, 2011 9:09 am | by Matthew Craft, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Renewed worries about the health of the job market weighed on stocks Thursday after the government reported an unexpected jump in unemployment claims. The Labor Department said that first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose to 474,000 last week, the highest level in eight months.

'Hillbilly' Sues Mattel Over Copycat Barbie Doll

May 5, 2011 9:07 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The actress who played Elly May Clampett on the hit television series "The Beverly Hillbillies" is suing toy manufacturer Mattel Inc., claiming the company used her name and likeness for a Barbie doll without her authorization. The federal suit filed Wednesday in Baton Rouge, La.

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GM Nabs Highest Quarterly Profit In A Decade

May 5, 2011 9:04 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. reported its highest quarterly profit in more than a decade, helped by demand for fuel-efficient cars and a big gain from selling its stake in its former auto parts business. The company did well in the key North American market, thanks to strong sales, but growth slowed in China and the company lost money in Europe.

Sony Hit With 'Professional' Cyber Attack, Loses Data

May 4, 2011 9:34 am | by Joelle Tessler, AP Technology Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The data breach of Sony's PlayStation Network resulted from a "very carefully planned, very professional, highly sophisticated criminal cyber attack designed to steal personal and credit card information for illegal purposes," a Sony executive said. In a letter to members of the House Commerce Committee released Wednesday, Kazuo Hirai, chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, defended the company's handling of the breach.

Automakers Win With Florida Product Liability Law

May 4, 2011 8:38 am | by James L. Rosica, Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — In a win for Big Business, the Florida House approved a bill on Wednesday that makes it more difficult for injured plaintiffs to win product liability damages from auto makers and othermanufacturers. The measure (SB 142) was approved by a vote of 80-35 and will be sent to Republican Gov.

Fiat Brings The Tiny 500 To American Soil

May 4, 2011 8:32 am | by Ann M. Job, Associated Press

The 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback is the newest and arguably the cutest small car in the United States, with federal government fuel mileage ratings that are at the top of the subcompact class. The four-passenger, two-door 500, which is the first Fiat to be sold by the automaker in this country since 1983, is rated at 30 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway with standard manual transmission.

Intel Redesigns The Transistor In '3-D'

May 4, 2011 8:29 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Intel Corp. said Wednesday that it has redesigned the electronic switches on its chips so that computers can keep getting cheaper and more powerful. The switches, known as transistors, have typically been flat. By adding a third dimension — "fins" that jut up from the base — Intel will be able to make the transistors and chips smaller.

Boeing Swings Back At NLRB's Anti-Labor Claims

May 4, 2011 8:27 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Boeing Co. says federal labor regulators unfairly twisted or misquoted statements by company executives to make a case that the company illegally retaliated against union workers. The company is urging the National Labor Relations Board to withdraw a complaint that accuses Boeing of locating a new plant in South Carolina in part to avoid future labor disruptions in Washington state.

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GM Invests $131 Million In Kentucky-Built Corvettes

May 4, 2011 8:25 am | by Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — General Motors is putting more muscle into making Corvettes. The automaker said Wednesday it will invest $131 million — and add about 250 jobs — at the south-central Kentucky assembly plant that produces the classic muscle car. The investment allows GM to produce the next-generation Corvette at the Bowling Green plant.

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Analyst: Japanese Car Shortages Could Benefit GM

May 4, 2011 4:54 am

NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors Co. should benefit more than any U.S. competitors from the shortage of Japanese cars resulting from the earthquake in Japan, a Credit Suisse analyst wrote Tuesday in upgrading the stock. That could boost the biggest U.S. automaker's earnings this year by 60 cents a share, Credit Suisse said.

Boeing Will Deliver First 787 In 3Q 2011

May 4, 2011 4:44 am

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Boeing will deliver its first 787 jet in third-quarter 2011 and roll out two of the long-delayed new planes each month after that, a company executive said Tuesday in the Chilean capital. Latin America is an important market for Boeing, with 11,000 company jets flying in the region and requests pending for 3,400 more.

BMW Profit Quadruples On Accelerating Sales Worldwide

May 4, 2011 4:31 am | by David McHugh, AP Business Writer

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German luxury carmaker BMW says first-quarter net profit rose almost fourfold to euro1.21 billion ($1.79 billion) as sales climbed all around the world, but particularly in China. Profits were up from last year's euro324 million. Revenues grew 29 percent to euro16.

Geithner: China Needs To Move Faster On Its Currency

May 4, 2011 4:28 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday that China needs to make more progress on economic issues vital to America's interests, including speeding up the rise of its currency against the dollar. Critics say an undervalued yuan is swelling China's trade surplus. Geithner said a stronger yuan would help reduce trade imbalances and bolster China's efforts to restrain inflation.

Turning Chicken Feathers Into Plastic Bottles

May 4, 2011 4:22 am | by Michael J. Crumb, Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Researchers have developed ways to substitute chicken feathers for petroleum in some plastic products, and at least two companies are working to bring items ranging from biodegradable flower pots to office furniture to market. The substitution would allow the U.S. to cut back on its oil use, however slightly, and give poultry producers another market for the more than 3 billion pounds of leftover chicken feathers they have each year, the developers and others said.

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