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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China Can't Make Decision On Rare Earths Exports

April 1, 2011 4:54 am

BEIJING (AP) — China said Thursday it will increase this year's production quota for rare earths but gave no sign it might reverse plans to cut exports of the exotic metals needed by high-tech industry. China accounts for most rare earths production and has alarmed global manufactures by reducing exports of the ores as it tries to develop its own producers of lightweight magnets and other high-tech goods that use the metals.

ISM Index: 20th Straight Month Of Manufacturing Growth

April 1, 2011 4:37 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing activity probably increased in March for the 20th straight month, though at a slightly slower pace than the previous month. Economists forecast that the Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity will edge down to 61.

EU Appeals Own Victory Against U.S. Subsidies For Boeing

April 1, 2011 4:31 am

GENEVA (AP) — The European Union is appealing its own victory in a trade ruling against U.S. planemaker Boeing Co. by asking the World Trade Organization to toughen its condemnation of American subsidies for Boeing-made aircraft. The ruling published Thursday based on EU complaints concluded Boeing received at least $5 billion in subsidies between 1989 and 2006 that were prohibited under international trade rules.

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Unemployment Falls To 8.8 Percent With 216,000 Jobs

April 1, 2011 4:27 am | by Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent in March and companies added workers at the fastest two-month pace since before the recession began. The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 216,000 new jobs last month, offsetting layoffs by local governments.

U.S. Car Sales Hit Double-Digit Increase In March

April 1, 2011 4:24 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. sales of cars and trucks are expected to rise at a double-digit rate in March as worries about higher gas prices and supplies of Japanese cars prompted some shoppers to buy new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The number of new vehicles sold likely rose 17 percent to 1.24 million, compared with a year earlier, according to Edmunds.

One Dead, Three Injured In Texas Chemical Blast

April 1, 2011 4:21 am

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) — One person is dead and three others are hurt after an explosion and flash fire at a Southeast Texas chemical plant. The incident happened about 2:15 p.m. Thursday at the KMTEX plant near Port Arthur. A statement issued by Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Rod Carroll says witnesses report a worker was welding on a pipeline containing coal tar solvent when it exploded.

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Dana Reaches New Union Deal With 4,000 Workers

March 30, 2011 4:53 am

MAUMEE, Ohio (AP) — Auto supplier Dana Holding Corp. said Tuesday it has reached new three-year labor agreements covering 4,000 workers. The agreements, with the United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers unions, are effective June 1. They include Dana's first-ever profit-sharing payments to workers based on the company's performance.

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Nissan, TI Optimistic About Japan Manufacturing's Future

March 30, 2011 4:51 am

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. said Wednesday that an engine plant wrecked by the March 11 tsunami won't return to operations until June and it will take "some time" before auto production runs at full capacity. Nissan spokesman Mitsuru Yonekawa said the Iwaki factory, one of Nissan's two engine plants in Japan, still has no running water.

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Calif. CEO Charged With Counterfeiting Rifle Sights

March 30, 2011 4:33 am

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a California businessman who has been charged with counterfeiting high-tech rifle sights in a scheme to sell them over the Internet. Yongming "Steven" Sui, the 37-year-old chief executive officer of Anaheim-based Field Sport Inc., and two business associates are accused of manufacturing and advertising about 700 counterfeit gun sights and 200 magnifier systems for sale online, with a retail value of about $475,000, according to U.

Calif. Manufacturer Leaked Hexavalent Chromium For Years

March 30, 2011 4:25 am | by Gosia Wozniacka, Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Company officials failed to alert residents and collect data about groundwater, air and soil contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals from a Central California manufacturing plant owned by a former subsidiary of drug maker Merck & Co., lawyers for nearby residents told jurors Tuesday in closing arguments of a lawsuit.

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Auto Parts Shortages Hit Honda's, Toyota's U.S. Operations

March 30, 2011 4:21 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Shortages of auto parts from Japan are hitting North American operations at Honda and Toyota. Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday said it wants its U.S. car dealers to stop ordering more than 200 replacement parts made in Japan because it's worried about running out of them. And Honda Motor Co.

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UAW: We're Open To Lower Wages

March 30, 2011 4:16 am

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The United Auto Workers union would be open to expanding a wage structure with lower-paid workers to keep General Motors Co. factories open or reopen closed plants, a top union official said Tuesday. Vice President Joe Ashton, who handles GM bargaining for the UAW, said the union "will look at anything when it comes to negotiations that will retain jobs.

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Siemens Spins Off Light Bulb Maker Osram

March 29, 2011 5:14 am | by David McHugh, AP Business Writer

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Industrial engineering company Siemens AG said Tuesday it is shaking up its organizational chart, spinning off light bulb maker Osram and forging a new division that will focus on energy-efficient infrastructure projects in the world's cities. Osram GmbH will be sold off to investors in an initial public offering of shares later this year, said Munich-based Siemens, which makes a wide range of industrial equipment such as trains, power plants and medical diagnostic machines.

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Judge Rules With Boeing, Spirit In Age Discrimination Lawsuit

March 29, 2011 5:06 am | by Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to reconsider his earlier ruling siding with The Boeing Co. and Spirit AeroSystems in an age discrimination lawsuit brought by former workers in the wake of Boeing's 2005 sale of its commercial airplane operations in Kansas and Oklahoma. U.

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Subaru Slows Production At Lafayette Plant Over Shortage

March 29, 2011 5:03 am

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Subaru of America is slowing production at its Lafayette plant because of a temporary auto parts shortage caused by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. spokeswoman Jennifer McGarvey said Monday that the company will be reducing its Subaru production shifts to the first four hours of each shift this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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Nokia Sues Apple For Infringing 'Virtually All' Of Its Patents

March 29, 2011 5:01 am | by Matti Huuhtanen, Associated Press

HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia is suing Apple in the United States for allegedly infringing patents in "virtually all" of its mobile phones, portable music players, tablets and computers, the Finnish company said Tuesday. The move is the latest in a string of lawsuits by Nokia and comes as the world's largest handset maker struggles to keep up with smartphone rivals like Apple.

Four Weapon-Smuggling Executives Plead Guilty

March 29, 2011 4:59 am | by Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Four men accused of smuggling military weapons and parts, some of which were sold to Middle East nations, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court and have agreed to testify against a British firearms manufacturer who currently faces extradition from England.

S.C. Lawmakers Fight For Incandescent Lightbulbs

March 29, 2011 4:56 am | by Jim Davenport, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers are taking a stand in favor of states' lights. With incandescent bulbs being phased out under federal law in favor of energy-efficient compact fluorescents, legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure, saying Washington has no business telling the state how to light its closets and countertops.

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Kodak Revives Patent Battle Against Apple, Wants $1 Billion

March 28, 2011 4:59 am | by Ben Dobbin, AP Business Writer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A federal agency said Friday that it will review Eastman Kodak Co.'s high-stakes patent-infringement claim against technology giants Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., agreed to examine a judge's finding in January that Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry don't violate an image-preview patent the photography pioneer obtained in 2001.

GM Restarts Louisiana Pickup Plant After Part Shortage

March 28, 2011 4:54 am | by Alan Sayre, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — General Motors will resume regular production at its pickup plant in Shreveport on Monday, a week after the company shut it down and blamed a shortage of parts from Japan. Falling supplies of auto parts have disrupted car factories around the world ever since a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11.

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