CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Endeavour and six astronauts rocketed into orbit Monday on what's likely the last nighttime launch for the shuttle program, hauling a new room and observation deck for the International Space Station. The space shuttle took flight before dawn, igniting the sky with a brilliant flash seen for miles around.
NEW YORK (AP) — Weakness in Western energy-producing states helped raise the average U.S. county's economic stress in December to its highest point since the recession began in December 2007, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis of conditions in more than 3,100 U.S. counties. States such as Alaska, Wyoming and Montana lost jobs related in part to a drop in energy and mining exploration.
BEIJING (AP) — China has found another 170 tons of tainted milk powder in an emergency crackdown that has made it increasingly clear many products discovered in the country's 2008 milk scandal were repackaged for sale instead of destroyed. The growing number of cases in recent weeks challenges the government's earlier promise to overhaul its approach to food safety after hundreds of thousands of children in that scandal were sickened by milk products tainted with an industrial chemical.
SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing Co.'s giant 747-8 freighter should make its first flight Monday after performing well on taxi tests and reaching a top speed of about 103.5 mph, the company said. At 250 feet long, the plane is the largest Boeing has ever built and about 18 feet longer than the existing 747-400 jumbo jet.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota has friends in high places in Washington, including some of the very people now investigating the Japanese automaker. The company has sought to sow good will and win allies with lobbying, charitable giving, racing in the American-as-apple pie NASCAR series and, perhaps most important, creating jobs.
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut fire official says at least 95 percent of the nearly 100 workers who were at a power plant that exploded are accounted for. Middletown Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano said Monday that most of the workers are accounted for, judging by conversations with contractors and labor union officials.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Chinese businessman who sold phony Cisco computer parts to U.S. buyers has been sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles announced the sentence Friday against Yongcai Li. He also was ordered to repay nearly $800,000 to Cisco Systems Inc.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Jim Doyle says a bill he signed into law will help the state increase access to federal bonds and create hundreds of jobs in Wisconsin. Doyle signed the bill Friday at Energy Composites, a wind blade manufacturing plant in Wisconsin Rapids. The bill allows cities and counties to tap into unused bonding authority given under the federal stimulus law.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Auto parts supplier SL America will add 300 jobs in a $35 million expansion at its SL Tennessee LLC plant in Clinton. A statement from Tennessee economic development director Matt Kisber's office said the new jobs in the planned $35 million expansion will be created by the end of 2010.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Defense contractor BAE Systems said it is permanently closing its manufacturingplant in East Tennessee in a move that will eliminate 173 jobs. The plant in Grainger County made body armor for the military. Joe Coltman, vice president of personnel protection systems, said in a statement provided to the Knoxville News Sentinel that the permanent closure would be effective Friday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. company has agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty to settle allegations it violated U.S. law when it imported Thomas and Friends, Curious George and Winnie the Pooh toys with high levels of lead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission alleged that Schylling Associates Inc.
NEW YORK (AP) — Your most expensive piece of electronics probably is not your flat panel TV or your computer. More likely, it's your car, which can pack 50 microprocessors to control everything from the fuel mix to the rearview mirrors. The recalls and other technical problems besetting Toyota in the last few weeks highlight the risks of relying on electronics instead of the mechanical rods and cables that controlled vehicles for most of the 20th century.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly in January to 9.7 percent, while employers shed 20,000 jobs, according to a report that offered hope the economy will add jobs soon. The unemployment rate dropped from 10 percent because a survey of households found the number of employed Americans rose by 541,000, the Labor Department said Friday.
LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. (AP) — Industrial gas supplier Air Products and Chemicals Inc. said Friday that it made an unsolicited cash bid of about $5.1 billion for smaller rival Airgas Inc. and is willing to make a hostile offer if necessary. Airgas said its board will review the offer with financial and legal advisors and recommended that its stockholders not take any action yet.
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a former chief executive had lavish spending habits — including $353,000 worth of pens, some made of gold or silver. The evidence was presented Thursday at the Central Islip (EYE'-slip), N.Y., trial of David H. Brooks. He founded DHB Industries, Inc.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal officials voted Thursday night to adopt urgent safety recommendations in response to last year's deadly explosion at a Slim Jim snack factory in North Carolina. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board approved the recommendations Thursday night by a 2-1 vote taken following a public hearing in Raleigh.
SEATTLE (AP) — The Joojoo, a Web-browsing tablet device that's the subject of a high-profile Silicon Valley legal dispute, appears on track to reach early buyers at the end of February. The flat touch-screen computer was known until December as the CrunchPad, after the technology blog TechCrunch.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fourteen rural northwest Missouri residents who received $100,000 apiece in a 1999 lawsuit against a major hog producer have asked a Jackson County jury to give them more money for what they say are intolerable smells coming from its 80,000-head hog confinement in Gentry County.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal officials are scheduled to vote Thursday evening on urgent safety recommendations in response to a deadly explosion at a Slim Jim snack factory in North Carolina last year. The proposal before the U.S. Chemical Safety Board recommends that national and international safety codes be changed to more strongly control gas-line purging.
CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati couple represented by a veteran civil action attorney has filed a lawsuitagainst Toyota charging fraud and negligence over a safety issue involving gas pedals that has caused a massive auto recall. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, seeks class-action status on behalf of all Ohio residents who have bought or leased vehicles Toyota-manufactured vehicles subject to the recall.