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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Oil Rig Cutoff Valves Unreliable Under Weak Regulation

May 10, 2010 5:01 am | by Jeff Donn and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Writers

HOUSTON (AP) — Cutoff valves like the one that failed to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster have repeatedly broken down at other wells in the years since federal regulators weakened testing requirements, according to an Associated Press investigation. These steel monsters known as blowout preventers or BOPs — sometimes as big as a double-decker bus and weighing up to 640,000 pounds — guard the mouth of wells.

Wisconsin Tops Nationwide Cheese Production

May 10, 2010 4:52 am

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal statistics show that Wisconsin is still the nation's big cheese. Wisconsin produced 2.65 billion pounds of cheese last year. That accounted for a nation-best 26 percent of the U.S. cheese output in 2009. Wisconsin also produced 477 million pounds of specialty cheese last year.

Is Apple Smarter Than I Am?

May 10, 2010 4:48 am | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

It came to my attention last week that Apple had reached the distinguished honor of selling its one millionth iPad in just 28 days of the product’s market emergence. Not just an amazing figure for anyone, this feat is even outstanding for Apple—the teacher’s pet of technology.

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Iowa Meatpacker Paid Disabled Workers 41 Cents Per Hour

May 10, 2010 4:40 am

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A federal report castigated a Texas company for abusing and underpaying several mentally disabled men who were housed in a ramshackle building while working at an Iowa turkey processing plant. The report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Henry's Turkey Service underpaid the men at least $1 million over three years, verbally and physically abused them, and committed several major violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Des Moines Register reported Friday.

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Chinese Auto Sales Dip From March, Still Show Big Growth

May 10, 2010 4:34 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — The surge in China's auto sales has begun to falter with growth in passenger car sales for April easing to just over half the previous month's increase. There were 1.11 million passenger cars sold in April, up 34 percent from a year earlier, the state-affiliated China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Monday.

Automakers Unleash Electric Experiments On Oregon

May 10, 2010 4:26 am | by Richard Read

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Automakers are racing to unleash electric vehicles in Oregon, one of the nation's first significant test markets for plug-in cars. The Nissan Leaf, a four-door hatchback with 100-mile range, leads the pack of zero-emission sedans, with a suggested retail price of $23,780 after tax credits.

LaHood: More Fines Possible For Toyota

May 10, 2010 4:25 am | by Jay Alabaster, Associated Press Writer

TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday that Washington wants to see results from Toyota's efforts to improve safety, and more fines would be imposed if needed. "If a fine is required, I think everyone recognizes now that safety is our number one priority, and we will do all that we can to uphold the laws in our country," he said.

Toyota Expected To Find Profits Despite Recalls

May 7, 2010 5:22 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp., the world's top automaker, reports earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter on Tuesday. WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Toyota is fighting a serious quality crisis, having recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide since October for gas pedal defects, a faulty floor mat and a braking software glitch.

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Private Employers Add 231,000 Jobs In April

May 7, 2010 4:46 am | by Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — More confident employers stepped up job creation in April, expanding payrolls by 290,000, the most in four years. The jobless rate rose to 9.9 percent as people streamed back into the market looking for work. The hiring of 66,000 temporary government workers to conduct the census helped overall payroll growth last month.

Lettuce Recalled For E.coli, Three In Critical Condition

May 7, 2010 4:33 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — A food company is recalling lettuce sold in 23 states and the District of Columbia because of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 19 people, three of them with life-threatening symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that 12 people had been hospitalized and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was looking at 10 other cases probably linked to the outbreak.

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Consumer Reports Lifts 'Don't Buy' Lexus Rating

May 7, 2010 4:31 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Consumer Reports magazine is lifting a "Don't Buy" recommendation for a Lexus sport utility vehicle that failed an emergency handling test. The magazine said Friday that the 2010 Lexus GX 460 luxury SUV passed the test after a dealership updated software that runs its electronic stability control system.

S. Korean Electric Automaker Plans $50M Hawaii Plant

May 7, 2010 4:28 am | by Mark Niesse, Associated Press Writer

HONOLULU (AP) — South Korean electric car manufacturer CT&T announced plans Thursday to build an assembly plant in Hawaii that will eventually produce up to 10,000 vehicles a year and employ as many as 400 people. The plant would make small two-seaters that reach speeds up to 40 mph and be deployed onto Hawaii's city and neighborhood roads.

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Doctors Reattach Arm Lost In BMW Industrial Accident

May 7, 2010 4:27 am

GREER, S.C. (AP) — Doctors have reattached the arm of a worker at the BMW plant in South Carolina who had the limb severed in a workplace accident. Multiple media outlets reported the employee had his arm severed between the elbow and wrist Wednesday morning at the plant in Greer. BMW spokesman Bobby Hitt says the man was driving a device similar to a forklift when he went through a doorway and his arm struck a beam and was severed.

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BP Workers Ease Containment Dam Into Gulf

May 7, 2010 4:26 am | by Harry R. Weber and Tamara Lush, Associated Press Writers

The containment vessel is lowered into the Gulf of Mexico at the site of the Deepwater Horizon rig collapse, Thursday, May 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) — Workers eased a giant concrete-and-steel box into the Gulf of Mexico late Thursday, starting the long process of lowering the contraption over the blown-out oil well at the bottom of the sea in an untested bid to capture most of the gushing crude and avert a wider environmental disaster.

Beer Production, Consuption Goes Flat In 2010

May 5, 2010 5:02 am | by Greg Keller, AP Business Writer

PARIS (AP) — Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, the world's largest brewer and maker of Budweiser, said Wednesday its first quarter profit fell 34 percent to $475 million as global beer sales remained stagnant and were not forecast to rebound in 2010. AB InBev made a $716 million profit a year earlier.

Boeing To Pay $2 Million Settlement, Restore Fish Habitat

May 5, 2010 4:56 am

SEATTLE (AP) — The Boeing Co. has agreed to restore fish habitat in Seattle's Duwamish Waterway and pay $2 million to settle federal charges that it broke environmental laws by dumping oil and other toxic substances. The settlement was filed Tuesday in federal court in Seattle. Boeing agreed to undertake two habitat restoration projects to benefit migrating juvenile salmon and other fish and birds.

BMW Rakes In $424 Million In First-Quarter Profits

May 5, 2010 4:47 am

BERLIN (AP) — German luxury automaker BMW AG reported Wednesday a first-quarter profit on improved sales and said that rising demand for premium cars bodes well for its full-year earnings. The world's biggest luxury car maker, BMW earned euro324 million ($424.1 million) in net income in the first quarter compared with a loss of euro152 million a year ago.

GM Recalls Hummers For Detaching Hood Pieces

May 5, 2010 4:45 am | by Dan Ciardi, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors is recalling all Hummer H3s produced since the 2006 model year to fix a portion of the hood that can detach during driving. The voluntary recall affects 164,190 Hummer H3s and H3Ts in the U.S. and 198,404 worldwide. Hummer spokesman Nick Richards says a device on the hood called a hood louver (LOO-ver) can come loose and possibly detach while driving.

Underwater 'Dome' Best Solution For Containing Oil Spill

May 5, 2010 4:12 am | by Allen G. Breed and Vicki Smith, Associated Press Writers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The best short-term solution to bottling up a disastrous oil spill threatening sealife and livelihoods along the Gulf Coast should be arriving on Wednesday in the form of a specially built giant concrete-and-steel box designed to siphon the oil away. Crews for contractor Wild Well Control were putting the finishing touches Tuesday on the 100-ton containment dome.

FDA Recalls Moldy Tylenol, J & J Stops Production

May 5, 2010 4:11 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ingredients used by Johnson & Johnson in some of the 40 varieties of children's cold medicines recalled last week were contaminated with bacteria, according to a report by the Food and Drug Administration. Agency officials said Tuesday none of the company's finished products tested positive for the contaminants, though such testing is not definitive.

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