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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Mazda Forced To Pay Family For Worker Suicide

February 28, 2011 3:39 am | by Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court on Monday ordered automaker Mazda to pay 63 million yen ($770,000) in damages to the parents of an employee who was ruled to have committed suicide over depression from being overworked. Japan, a workaholic nation where people often take pride in suffering in silence, has been plagued with deaths of overworked people, some resorting to suicide and others dying from exhaustion.

Bi-Partisan Effort Battles Business To Overhaul Patents

February 28, 2011 3:34 am | by Jim Abrams, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The patent system hasn't changed much since 1952 when Sony was coming out with its first pocket-size transistor radio, and bar codes and Mr. Potato Head were among the inventions patented. Now, after years of trying, Congress may be about to do something about that. The Senate is taking up the Patent Reform Act, which would significantly overhaul a 1952 law and, supporters say, bring the patent system in line with 21st century technology of biogenetics and artificial intelligence.

Survey: Business Still Volatile, But Improving

February 25, 2011 6:11 am

Sixty-four percent of finance executives expect the overall economy in 2011 to fare better than in 2010 — an optimistic outlook reflected by reports of improving economic conditions, reduced fears of a “double-dip” recovery and increased expectations for revenue growth. These results are part of the findings of a quarterly poll of finance executives conducted in December 2010 by Adaptive Planning and the Business Performance Innovation Network.

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Clinton: Ethanol Fuel Could Lead To Food Riots Worldwide

February 25, 2011 3:41 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — With global food prices rising and more corn being diverted to the production of ethanol fuel, Bill Clinton is warning of food riots in poor nations. The former president told farmers and Agriculture Department employees on Thursday that while producing biofuels is important for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, farmers should also look beyond domestic production and consider the needs of developing countries.

Boeing Wins $35 Billion Tanker Contract

February 25, 2011 3:28 am | by George Tibbits, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. states of Washington and Kansas are celebrating a decision to award Boeing Co., a $35 billion contract to build nearly 200 airborne refueling tankers, one of the biggest defense contracts ever that will add tens of thousands of jobs to the struggling economy and bolster regional air industries for a generation.

Obama: Business Leaders Must Back The Middle Class

February 25, 2011 3:26 am | by Julie Pace, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — As corporate profits rise and Wall Street earnings soar, President Barack Obama is pressing American business leaders to create more jobs and find ways for struggling middle-class families to share in the nation's economic recovery. Obama says the private sector has to do its part to ensure that "we're not simply creating an economy in which one segment of it is doing very well, but the rest of the folks are out there treading water.

Volvo To Invest $11-12 Billion In Global Expansion

February 25, 2011 3:22 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Volvo Cars said Friday it will invest $10-$11 billion worldwide over the next five years in an ambitious expansion following its acquisition by a Chinese automaker. CEO Stefan Jacoby's announcement came as Volvo unveiled plans to target fast-growing China for stronger sales.

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Miss. Company Pleads Guilty To Hiring 600 Illegal Workers

February 25, 2011 3:17 am | by Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — One of Mississippi's most successful private companies pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to violate immigration laws related to the nation's largest workplace raid on illegal immigrants, federal authorities said. Immigration agents detained more than 600 illegal immigrants at Howard Industries' electrical transformerplant in Laurel during a massive raid on Aug.

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Toyota Recalls Another 2.17 Million Vehicles In U.S.

February 25, 2011 3:14 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 2.17 million vehicles in the United States on Thursday to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver's side carpeting, prompting federal regulators to close its investigation into the embattled automaker.

Applied Industrial Technologies Names New Director Of Corporate Purchasing

February 24, 2011 10:46 am

CLEVELAND, OH — Applied Industrial Technologies (NYSE: AIT) has announced that Dave Smith has been promoted to Director of Corporate Purchasing.  In this role, Smith will oversee the product purchasing needs for all of the company’s distribution centers, as well as activities related to transportation and procurement systems.

Grainger Honors Georgia-Pacific For Environmental Excellence

February 24, 2011 4:14 am

ATLANTA — Grainger recently presented Georgia-Pacific Professional with two Partners in Performance Awards for 2010 at Grainger’s annual supplier conference held recently in Schaumburg, Ill. Georgia-Pacific Professional earned both the Green Supplier of the Year and an award for operational excellence.

U.S. Investigates Toyota Highlander Hybrids For Stalling

February 23, 2011 3:49 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government has opened a preliminary investigation into reports of stalling engines in more than 40,000 Toyota Highlander hybrids. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website it had received 32 complaints alleging stalling engines in Highlander hybrids from the 2006 model year.

Apotheker: HP Has Grown Too Big For Its Own Good

February 23, 2011 3:40 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new CEO Leo Apotheker delivered some disappointing news to Wall Street on Tuesday after his first full quarter with the technology company. Revenue growth, a persistent worry for companies of HP's size, will be slower this year than many analysts had envisioned.

Chinese Manufacturer Accuses Motorola Of Selling Its Secrets

February 23, 2011 3:33 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei has won a preliminary injunction from a U.S. court barring Motorola Inc. from transferring business secrets in a planned deal with Nokia Siemens Networks. The order by a federal judge in Chicago on Tuesday prohibits Motorola, which is a vendor of Huawei equipment, from transferring any confidential information about the Chinese company pending resolution of the dispute.

Detroit Mayor Bing: Yes, We're Making A Comeback

February 23, 2011 3:25 am | by Corey Williams, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — For at least one night, Detroit's troubled economy, blighted neighborhoods and budget problems played second fiddle to Mayor Dave Bing's guarded optimism that the Motor City slowly is driving toward a better future. Bing's annual State of the City address Tuesday night even opened with a popular Chrysler 200 sedan television ad that makes no apology for Detroit's grittiness and features a voiceover that says the city has survived going through "hell and back.

Ford Cracks Under Pressure, Recalls 150,000 F-150s

February 23, 2011 3:23 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under government pressure, Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will recall nearly 150,000 F-150 pickup trucks to fix air bags that could deploy without warning. The recall covers trucks from the 2005-2006 model years in the United States and Canada for what the auto company calls a "relatively low risk" of the air bag deploying inadvertently.

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Alcoa's CEO Sees Compensation Rise To $12.3 Million

February 23, 2011 3:20 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer

The CEO of Alcoa Inc. saw his compensation rise about 10 percent last year, to $12.3 million, as the aluminum company posted its first full-year profit after two years of losses, according to an Associated Press calculation from the company's proxy statement. The salary for Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld was unchanged at $1.

This Week's Job Market: Some Good, Some Bad

February 22, 2011 3:55 am

230 to be laid off from NC Slim Jim plant  GARNER, N.C. (AP) — ConAgra Foods Inc. is laying off 230 workers from a Slim Jim production facility in North Carolina that was damaged during a deadly explosion in 2009. The Omaha, Neb.-based food manufacturer has notified state officials in a letter released Monday that the layoffs will take place in the middle of April.

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U.S., Europe Battle Over Massive Japanese Jet Contract

February 22, 2011 3:43 am | by Eric Talmadge, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — In a deal that could be worth billions of dollars and determine one of the primary fighter jets in Asia for decades to come, European aircraft makers are trying to convince Japan to do something it has never done before — snub America. U.S. planes have long been Tokyo's overwhelming favorite, but Japan appears to be wobbling under a strong sales pitch for the Eurofighter Typhoon, coupled with problems and restrictions that have made the American alternatives less attractive.

None Hurt After Lightning Ignites Explosion At Iowa Plant

February 22, 2011 3:37 am

OELWEIN, Iowa (AP) — An explosion Sunday morning at a feed plant north of Oelwein was likely sparked by a lightning strike, a fire official said. No injuries were reported in the blast at the International Ingredient Corp. facility. Oelwein Fire Chief Wallace Rundle said six people were inside the plant but got out safely before firefighters arrived.

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