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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

SD Lawmakers Seek Info On Labor Recruiting Plan

May 30, 2013 2:12 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Democratic state lawmakers have asked Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard for information on the state's $5 million contract with a national recruiting firm that was hired to find new workers for hard-to-fill jobs in the state. The Democrats want information about the program's expense, the contract with ManpowerGroup, the number and type of jobs filled, and the wages paid for those jobs.

Wal-Mart To Pay $81.6M For Illegal Waste Disposal

May 29, 2013 10:07 am | by Greg Risling, Paul Elias, Associated Press | News | Comments

Ending an environmental investigation that lasted nearly a decade, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has pleaded guilty to improperly disposing of pesticides, fertilizer and other hazardous products and will pay a fine of $81.6 million. The company entered the guilty plea in federal court in San Francisco Tuesday to misdemeanor counts of violating the Clean Water Act and a law regulating pesticides.

N. Korea Relaxes Controls On Salaries

May 28, 2013 1:25 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

North Korea relaxed state control of salaries last month, a government economist said, outlining a change in policy intended to boost production by giving companies latitude to provide workers with financial incentives. Ri Ki Song, a professor at the Institute of Economics at North Korea's Academy of Social Sciences in Pyongyang, said enterprises are now allowed to use some of their earnings to pay workers more.

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Germany: Merkel Vows To Avoid Trade War With China

May 28, 2013 1:22 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday she would use her country's economic clout to prevent the European Union from imposing punitive tariffs on some Chinese products to avoid a trade war. Germany will push for "very intense talks" between the EU and China to seek a negotiated solution as swiftly as possible, the leader of Europe's biggest economy told visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Automaker Tesla Takes Fight To North Carolina

May 28, 2013 10:14 am | by Chris Kardish, Associated Press | News | Comments

Tesla Motors is fighting a bill in North Carolina that would effectively ban the company from selling its electric cars in the state, pitting it against auto dealers who say the car maker has an unfair advantage selling directly to consumers online.

ND Body Gives Tax Break To Manufacturing Plant

May 24, 2013 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Burleigh County Commission has agreed to give Midwest Manufacturing a 50 percent property tax break for three years on a $7.5 million manufacturing plant it plans to build in McKenzie Township. Midwest Manufacturing is a subsidiary of Menards. The Bismarck Tribune reports that the company plans to build the wood products and distribution facility along state Highway 10.

Some Unions Now Angry About Health Care Overhaul

May 24, 2013 2:14 pm | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press | News | Comments

When President Barack Obama pushed his health care overhaul plan through Congress, he counted labor unions among his strongest supporters. But some union leaders have grown frustrated and angry about what they say are unexpected consequences of the new law — problems that they say could jeopardize the health benefits offered to millions of their members.

Fire Marshal's Office: Panel Had Blast Site Access

May 23, 2013 12:08 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The State Fire Marshal's Office says a federal safety panel's investigators had access to the site of a Texas fertilizer plant blast that killed 15 people and injured about 200 others. The chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board had asked for congressional help in obtaining evidence under the control of the state agency and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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Italy Seizes 1.2B Euros From Steel Family

May 22, 2013 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Milan prosecutors have ordered the seizure of 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in assets belonging to the family that runs a troubled steel plant in southern Italy. Prosecutors allege in the order Wednesday that the real estate, stocks and other financial assets belonging to the Riva family were obtained through the misuse of funds belonging to the Ilva steel plant.

Indian Guest Workers Sue Company In MS, TX

May 22, 2013 2:05 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Dozens of Indian guest workers are suing an Alabama-based marine and fabrication company, claiming it financially exploited them and forced them to live in squalid conditions after bringing them to work at Gulf Coast shipyards after Hurricane Katrina.

Fiat Industrial Considers Making Tax Home In U.K.

May 22, 2013 10:24 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Fiat Industrial is considering moving its tax home to Britain after it completes the merger with its U.S.-based subsidiary CNH. The possible move by the maker of heavy trucks, farm and construction vehicles would be a blow to the new Italian government of Enrico Letta, which is struggling to put public finances in order.

Ex-Ford Execs Charged In Argentine Torture Cases

May 22, 2013 10:21 am | by Michael Warren, Associated Press | News | Comments

Three former Ford Motor Co. executives were charged Tuesday with crimes against humanity for allegedly targeting Argentine union workers for kidnapping and torture after the country's 1976 military coup. All three were ordered to remain under house arrest on bail of about $142,000 each. Galarraga and Sibilla are Argentines and Muller is described in the indictment as a Czech national.

Kohler Ordered To Pay $9.6M In Patent Suit

May 21, 2013 2:20 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Kohler Co. has been ordered in federal court to pay $9.6 million to a Massachusetts manufacturer for infringing on two of its patents for components that reduce exhaust emissions in marine generators. Jurors in U.S. District Court in Boston last week found Kohler willfully infringed on the patents issued in 2008 and 2010.

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Apple's Cook To Face Senate Questions On Taxes

May 21, 2013 10:12 am | by Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

A Senate panel says Apple Inc. is avoiding paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes, but the world's most valuable company says it is complying with the laws and pays "an extraordinary amount" in taxes to the U.S. government. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill to explain the company's tax strategy.

MO Judge Orders Monitoring For Ex-Mamtek CEO

May 21, 2013 10:07 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Missouri judge on Monday ordered the former head of a failed artificial sweetener plant in Moberly to wear a GPS electronic monitoring device while he awaits trial on felony fraud and forgery charges. St. Charles County Circuit Judge Daniel Pelikan ordered ex-Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole to wear the device while he is at home, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

Ex-Saab Execs Arrested On Accounting Charges

May 20, 2013 2:36 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Swedish prosecutor says three former executives of automaker Saab Automobile AB have been arrested on accounting fraud charges. Prosecutor Olof Sahlgren says the three are "suspected of aggravated attempts to avoid tax controls" by allegedly falsifying parts of Saab's accounts between 2010 and 2011 — a crime that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.

Problems Surface Over AZ's 2007 Immigration Law

May 17, 2013 12:41 pm | by Jacques Billeaud, Associated Press | News | Comments

The immigration debate in Arizona reached a boiling point in 2007 when the state passed a groundbreaking law targeting those often blamed with fueling the nation's border woes: Employers who hire immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Small SUVs Struggle In Crash Test

May 17, 2013 12:30 pm | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

Five SUVs including the Hyundai Tuscon, Ford Escape, Kia Sportage, Buick Encore and Jeep Patriot earned poor ratings in a tough new crash test. Only two of 13 small SUVs performed well in front-end crash tests done by an insurance industry group, with several popular models faring poorly in the evaluations.

Prosecutors Want Closer Monitoring Of Ex-Mamtek CEO

May 17, 2013 11:19 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Missouri prosecutors want a judge to let them keep closer tabs on the former head of a failed artificial sweetener plant in Moberly. Attorney General Chris Koster's office said Thursday it has filed a motion in St. Charles County Circuit Court seeking to monitor ex-Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole with a wearable GPS device.

Labor Group: Apple Making Progress At Foxconn

May 17, 2013 11:18 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A labor group Apple Inc. joined to assess working conditions at three manufacturing plants in China, where its products are made, says conditions are improving. But employees are still working more hours than the country's legal limit. The Fair Labor Association said Thursday that Apple's largest supplier, Foxconn, has made all recommended improvements to working conditions that were due by the end of December.

Ford Owners Sue: EcoBoost Engine Defective

May 15, 2013 10:16 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Three Ohio drivers are suing Ford Motor Co., claiming the company's six-cylinder EcoBoost engine is defective. The lawsuit says the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine can shudder, shake and then rapidly lose power while drivers are accelerating.

Judge Slashes $240M EEOC Verdict To $1.6M

May 15, 2013 10:08 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A judge has slashed a landmark $240 million verdict to $1.6 million for 32 mentally disabled workers who suffered years of abuse by their caretakers. U.S. Senior Judge Charles Wolle entered judgment Tuesday against Henry's Turkey Service of Goldthwaite, Texas. Wolle says he must limit the judgment to $50,000 per employee, the cap included in the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses with fewer than 101 workers.

Bill Squeezing Out Tesla Passes NC Senate

May 14, 2013 2:24 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A bill backed by auto dealers that effectively blocks California's Tesla Motors Inc. from selling in North Carolina has passed the state Senate. The electric car manufacturer says the bill that passed the Senate unanimously Monday effectively bars it from selling to state residents through its Internet-based model.

Drug Manufacturer Agrees To $500M Penalty

May 13, 2013 2:23 pm | by Eric Tucker, Associated Press | News | Comments

A subsidiary of an Indian pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay $500 million in ines and civil penalties for selling adulterated drugs and lying about tests to federal regulators, the Justice Department said Monday. The guilty plea by Ranbaxy USA Inc. represents the largest financial penalty by a generic drug company for violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits the sale of impure drugs, prosecutors said.

Jury Finds 3 Guilty Of Weapons Plant Break-In

May 9, 2013 2:16 pm | by Erik Schelzig, Associated Press | News | Comments

An 83-year-old nun and two fellow protesters were convicted Wednesday of interfering with national security when they broke into a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee and defaced a uranium processing plant. It took a jury about 2 ½ hours to find the three protesters guilty of a charge of sabotaging the plant and second charge of damaging federal property in July the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July.

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