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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Toyota Turns Down Awards For Prius, Cites Recalls

February 10, 2010 3:47 am | by Mari Yamaguchi,Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota has declined to accept a Japanese government energy efficiency award given to its hybrid Prius, saying Wednesday the honor is not appropriate for a car hit by massive recalls. The Prius was one of the three products that won the annual trade minister's grand prize for energy efficiency and ecological quality, said Hiroshi Tsuchiya, an official with the government's energy agency.

Airgas Board Rejects 'Bargain Basement' Buyout

February 10, 2010 3:30 am

RADNOR, Pa. (AP) — Industrial gas supplier Airgas Inc. on Tuesday rejected the unsolicited $5 billion buyout bid from larger rival Air Products and Chemicals Inc., calling it a "bargain basement price." In a letter to Air Products CEO John McGlade, Airgas said the $60 per share offer, as well as an earlier bid of $62 per share, "grossly" undervalues the company.

Honda Expands 15-Month Air Bag Recall

February 10, 2010 3:30 am

by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press Writer TOKYO (AP) — Honda's expansion of its global recall for faulty air bags suggests automakers are turning cautious amid consumer scrutiny of Toyota's safety lapses, a trend that could see more recalls in the coming months. Honda Motor Co., Japan's No.


China Charges Rio Tinto Workers With Theft, Bribery

February 10, 2010 3:29 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China will put an Australian national and three other detained employees of mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd. on trial on charges of stealing commercial secrets and taking bribes, a state news agency said Wednesday. The four Rio employees were detained in July during contentious iron ore price talks with China's steel industry group.

Mill Workers Agree To Cuts With A 'Gun To Their Heads'

February 9, 2010 4:02 am

MADAWASKA, Maine (AP) — Unionized workers at a Madawaska paper mill will see their paychecks cut by eight and a half percent as part of a new contract mill management says is needed to keep the facility from closing. Officials with the United Steel workers say about 65 percent of the 460 members from the Fraser Papers Inc.

Recalls Compound Dangers Of Panicked Drivers

February 9, 2010 3:51 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — You're driving down the highway and suddenly your car starts accelerating on its own. Knuckles white, going from 60 to 90 miles an hour in a couple of seconds, you do what comes naturally — hit the brakes. But what if the car keeps going? There are options: Put the car in neutral, or in park, or switch off the ignition.

Residents Awarded $117,000 Against Messy Smelter

February 9, 2010 3:45 am

DETROIT (AP) — A jury has awarded $117,000 in damages and $220,000 for legal and other fees to neighbors of a lead smelting company that once operated in northeast Detroit. The Detroit Free Press reports the Wayne County jury reached its decision Monday in a lawsuit against NL Industries, which ran Master Metals until 1974.


WTO: U.S.-China Protectionism Damaging Global Trade

February 9, 2010 3:43 am | by Rod McGuirk, Associated Press Writer

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The global economic crisis has not led to a return to trade protectionism to the extent feared, but free trade remains under threat, the World Trade Organization's director general said Tuesday. "I still believe we're not out of the woods, but this notion that for the moment .


Criminal Probe Launched Into Deadly Power Plant Blast

February 9, 2010 3:30 am | by John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writers

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — Authorities launched a criminal investigation Monday into the cause of an explosion that killed five people at a power plant under construction, saying they could not rule out criminal negligence. "If everything went right, we wouldn't all be here right now," Middletown Mayor Sebastian Guiliano said.


Toyota Recalls 437,000 Priuses For Braking Software

February 9, 2010 3:29 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota says it is recalling about 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems — the latest in a string of embarrassing safety lapses at the world's largest automaker. "I don't see Toyota as an infallible company that never makes mistakes," President Akio Toyoda said at a press conference Tuesday in Tokyo.

Conn. Governor Calls For Review Of Safety Codes

February 8, 2010 10:20 am | by John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's governor is calling for a review of state safety codes following a deadly explosion at a power plant in Middletown. Rell announced Monday that she is creating two panels — one to identify the cause and origin of Sunday's explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant and any contributing factors, such as construction problems, worker safety issues and licensing or permitting matters.


Caterpillar Backs Experimental Clean-Coal Plant

February 8, 2010 10:14 am

MATTOON, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment, plans to join a coalition of companies planning to build an experimental clean-coal power plant known as FutureGen, key politicians announced Monday. Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin said the addition of Caterpillar comes on the heels of a decision by Chicago-based Exelon Corp.


GM Announces Heavy-Duty Biofuel Pickups

February 8, 2010 6:38 am

NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors said Monday its new lineup of heavy-duty diesel pickups will be capable of running on a biodiesel blend fuel. The pickups will run on B20 fuel, which is a mix of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent conventional diesel. The new Duramax engine, which can run on the biodiesel blend, will power the redesigned 2011 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, as well as the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.

Lockheed Tests Unmanned Helicopter

February 8, 2010 5:42 am

DUGWAY, Utah (AP) — Lockheed Martin Corp. said Monday it and Kaman Corp. successfully demonstrated an unmanned helicopter designed to resupply troops in Afghanistan. The defense contractor said it conducted a series of remote-control flight tests for the K-MAX aircraft last week in subfreezing temperatures at the U.

Endeavour Takes Last Nighttime Shuttle Launch

February 8, 2010 4:06 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

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.

Economy Reached Breaking-Point In December

February 8, 2010 3:55 am | by Mike Schneider, Associated Press Writer

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 Finds 170 Tons In Tainted Milk Crackdown

February 8, 2010 3:50 am | by Cara Anna, Associated Press Writer

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.

Boeing 747-8 Freighter Takes First Flight Today

February 8, 2010 3:41 am | by George Tibbits, Associated Press Writer

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.

Toyota Pulling Strings With Washington Pals

February 8, 2010 3:36 am | by Sharon Theimer, Associated Press Writer

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.


Power Plant Blast Kills 5, 95 Percent Workers Accounted For

February 8, 2010 3:27 am | by John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writer

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.



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