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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Official Suspended After Factory Sickens Hundreds Of Children

January 10, 2011 3:40 am

BEIJING (AP) — An environmental official in eastern China was suspended after a battery factory sickened more than 200 children with lead poisoning, authorities said Sunday. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of lead, a key component in lead-acid batteries needed for the growing number of vehicles in the country.

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Detroit Auto Show, Day 1: VW Returns Manufacturing To U.S.

January 10, 2011 3:37 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

Volkswagen to keep Passat name on new midsize   DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen is keeping the Passat name for a new midsize vehicle that will be built at the company's new U.S. plant in Tennessee. Volkswagen of America Inc. announced plans Sunday to maintain the Passat nameplate at an event before media previews of the North American International Auto Show.

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Chevrolet Volt Named 'Car Of The Year'

January 10, 2011 3:34 am | by Jeff Karoub, AP Business Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The 2011 Chevrolet Volt got another marketing jolt Monday, when it received the North American Car of the Year. The car that runs on electricity for 40 miles before a backup gas engine kicks in beat out the Nissan Leaf, another electric, and Hyundai Sonata in the annual ceremony on the first day of media previews for the Detroit auto show.

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Is Ford Strong Enough To Survive Their Latest Success?

January 10, 2011 3:28 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DEARBORN, Michigan (AP) — In every boom cycle of its 107-year life, Ford Motor Co. became complacent, unprepared for the inevitable bust in the auto business. From the 1920s, when Ford lost its dominant position in the U.S. because it was slow to update the Model T, to the 2000s, when it squandered billions in SUV profits and narrowly avoided bankruptcy, the company stuck with some strategies too long and didn't pay enough attention to others.

Can You Imagine Working For Just A Dollar?

January 7, 2011 3:58 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs' compensation package remained the usual $1 in fiscal 2010, but the value of the shares he owns has skyrocketed amid the company's ongoing success with introducing shiny new gadgets many people come to find indispensible. Apple said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday it paid a salary of $1 to Jobs, who rejoined the company in 1997 and has overseen the company's explosive growth following the launch of the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad.

Is Microsoft Even Trying To Compete Against Apple?

January 7, 2011 3:35 am | by Jessica Mintz, AP Technology Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — Instead of unveiling an elegant response to the iPad, Microsoft came to the tech industry's premier gadget show with a collection of exposed computer guts. Microsoft's biggest news was that the next version of Windows would run on the style of mobile phone chips that power the iPad and other tablets today.

Phosgene Leak Sickens 62 Workers At Chinese Factory

January 7, 2011 3:31 am

BEIJING (AP) — A chemical leak has sickened 62 workers at a pharmaceutical factory in eastern China. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that 37 of them were still in a hospital Friday after inhaling fumes at work Thursday. The cause of the leak was under investigation. Xinhua said the leaked chemical was phosgene, commonly used to produce pesticides, painkillers and antibiotics.

Donald Tyson, Poultry Patriarch, Dies At 80

January 7, 2011 3:30 am | by Chuck Bartels, AP Business Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Tyson Foods Inc. chief executive Donald J. Tyson, who led his family's poultry company from being a regional producer to dominance in the industry while instilling a corporate culture that mixed hard work and enjoyment, died Thursday. He was 80. Company spokesman Gary Mickelson said Tyson died from complications from cancer, and passed away at home with his family.

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Alcoholic Energy Drinks Meet Their End In Virginia Plant

January 7, 2011 3:27 am | by Zinie Chen Sampson, Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Truckloads of Four Loko and other alcohol-laced energy drinks are being recycled into ethanol and other products after federal authorities told manufacturers the beverages were dangerous and caused users to become "wide-awake drunk." Wholesalers from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and other East Coast states started sending cases of the high-alcohol, caffeinated malt beverages to MXI Environmental Services in Virginia after the U.

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Unemployment Drops To 9.4 Percent

January 7, 2011 3:24 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent last month, its lowest level in 19 months. That was because more people found jobs, but also because some people gave up on their job searches. The Labor Department says employers added 103,000 jobs in December, an improvement from November but far below most analysts' expectations.

GM: New Batteries To Improve Volts By 50 To 100 Percent

January 7, 2011 3:23 am

General Motors said Thursday that it has licensed technology from a government laboratory that promises to improve battery performance in its Volt electric car by 50 percent to 100 percent. GM and LG Chem have agreed to license the technology, which consists of a mix of materials, from the Argonne National Laboratory.

Asus Introduces Bevy Of Tablets To Take Down Apple

January 5, 2011 4:11 am | by Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Taiwan's AsusTek Computer Inc. plans to start selling an array of tablet computers — including hybrids that sit somewhere between a laptop and a tablet — with the hope that variety is the best weapon against Apple Inc.'s iPad and other similar gadgets. Asus chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the new devices Tuesday ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Chinese Candymaker To Bring 120 Jobs To S. Carolina

January 5, 2011 4:04 am

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — A Chinese candy maker is building a new $6 million factory in Sumter. Officials for Au'Some says they hope to hire 120 workers over the next five years. The Hong Kong company makes candy for retailers like Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS. The Sumter factory is Au'Some's first facility in North America, and the company wants to have it open by the end of the summer.

Ford Gains Marketshare At The Expense Of GM, Toyota

January 5, 2011 3:48 am | by The Associated Press

Ford Motor Co. saw the biggest percentage point gain in U.S. market share in 2010, while Toyota Motor Co. saw the biggest loss. These are the 10 largest car companies by U.S. sales and their share gains or losses in 2010. A percentage point of share equaled about 115,800 cars and trucks in 2010. Company Total 2010 sales 2010 U.

Moore's Law Continues To Predict Semiconductor Innovation

January 5, 2011 3:47 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Semiconductor companies are whipping up a new generation of chips to bring richer video and better battery life to personal computers and help them hold off threats from tablets and increasingly powerful smart phones. Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., whose processors are the "brains" of PCs, are unveiling significant changes to their chips' designs at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Automakers Paid $9.1 Million In Fuel Efficiency Fines

January 5, 2011 3:42 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says car companies paid $9.1 million in fines last year for failing to comply with federal fuel efficiency requirements. Six companies had to pay fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Jaguar-Land Rover paid the largest fine of $3.2 million.

Analysts: Employers Added 297,000 Jobs In December

January 5, 2011 3:41 am | by Matthew Craft, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — A surprising jump in hiring is swaying U.S. stock and bond markets. An early decline in stock index futures was trimmed after payroll processor ADP reported employers added 297,000 jobs last month. The jump in payrolls from the ADP survey came in far above the 100,000 rise economists expected.

Samsung Plans Hiring, $38.4 Billion Investment

January 5, 2011 3:40 am | by Kelly Olsen, AP Business Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Group said Wednesday it plans to carry out record investment and hiring this year as it seeks to extend global dominance in products including flat screen televisions and memory chips. South Korea's top business conglomerate is spearheaded by Samsung Electronics Co.

Auto Sales Surged In 2010, Bringing Hope For 2011

January 4, 2011 3:40 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — A surge in car and truck buying that began in October is expected to lift last year's U.S. auto sales above a dismal 2009. Customers gained confidence in the economy, loans were easier to get and deals got sweeter. Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other car companies will report 2010 and December sales throughout the day on Tuesday.

Factory Orders Rose In November After Slow October

January 4, 2011 3:36 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories are expected to strengthen in November outside of transportation in a further sign that manufacturers will be cranking up production in anticipation of greater spending by businesses and consumers in 2011. Economists at JPMorgan Chase are forecasting that factory orders will post a 0.

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