TODAY

– April 24, 2014

Boehner sees will to act on immigration in House 


House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans will take a step-by-step approach to immigration reform.House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans will take a step-by-step approach to immigration reform.(AP) — House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday the "vast majority" of House Republicans believe they need to deal with immigration, but that they'll take a methodical, step-by-step approach and won't be held to any deadlines.

Legislation to secure the border and enforce immigration laws will come first, Boehner said. As for whether the House could ever agree to provide legal status or a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally, "Well, we're going to find out," Boehner said.

"Through all the conversations that have occurred, with my own members, with Democrat members, it's clear that dealing with this in bite-sized chunks that members can digest and the American people can digest is the smartest way to go," said Boehner, R-Ohio. "And so I'm much more concerned about doing it right than I am in meeting some deadline."

The Ohio Republican spoke at a news conference Thursday, a day after House GOP members met to hash out their way forward on immigration.

They emerged with a consensus on dealing with border security first and moving legislation in pieces, in contrast to the sweeping bill passed last month by the Senate on a bipartisan 68 to 32 vote. What to do about the millions already here illegally remained unanswered.

With Democrats insisting on a path to citizenship, that left it unclear whether Congress will be able to get any kind of immigration bill to President Barack Obama's desk. The issue is one of the president's top second-term priorities.

At the White House Thursday Obama met with two of the lead authors of the Senate bill, Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican John McCain of Arizona.

Despite the uncertainty, Schumer and McCain both expressed optimism about where things stand in the House.

"The caucus sent out a message yesterday, which was the right message, which is, doing nothing is not an option," Schumer said.

Obama took a largely behind-the-scenes role as the bill moved through the Senate, and McCain suggested it could be a mistake for him to mount a more public campaign in support of immigration reform as the House takes it up.

"We want to be very careful that we have the president's participation but these members, these Republican House members — many of them are in districts that they will be representing for a long time — do not feel that they have been unduly pressured by the president of the United States," McCain said. "So I think the president is walking a careful line here, and I think it's the appropriate one."

It's not clear whether the House will take any action this month before Congress breaks in early August for its annual month-long summer recess. That would push the issue to the fall, when fiscal and other deadlines loom that could compete with immigration on the legislative calendar. If the issue is delayed until next year, the politics could become even trickier because it's a midterm election year when all House members will face voters.

Rep. Peter King of New York said that if any legislation came to the floor for a vote this month, it would deal only with border security.

Other lawmakers said even that approach raised concerns. Dealing with border security, they said, could lead to negotiations with the Senate that could morph into a compromise granting citizenship for some of the immigrants in the country illegally. They sought and received assurances from Boehner that he wouldn't let that happen, according to Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

Boehner also said he won't put any bill on the House floor that doesn't have the support of at least half of the GOP rank and file, a pledge that only increases the challenge for Democrats and others who want to give a chance at citizenship to millions now in the country illegally

In explaining their piecemeal approach, Boehner and fellow GOP leaders said the administration's recent decision to postpone a key element of the health care law shows it can't be trusted to carry through on commitments, such as the one in the Senate immigration bill requiring the borders to be secured before anyone here illegally can get permanent resident status.

Unlike the comprehensive, bipartisan bill that cleared the Senate last month, the House Judiciary Committee has cleared four smaller measures in recent weeks, none of which would include the possibility of citizenship.

One would toughen enforcement of immigration laws and includes a provision that would permit local police officers to enforce such laws as part of an attempt to raise the number of deportations.

Other measures would create a new mandatory system for employees to verify the legal status of their workers, create a new temporary program for farm workers and expand the number of visas for employees in technology industries.

By contrast, the Senate bill would increase border security, provide a pathway to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million immigrants illegally in the country, expand the highly skilled worker program and set up new guest worker arrangements for lower-skilled workers and farm laborers.

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Written on 04/24/2014, 10:00 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — A cooling-off period has been called in the fight between the makers of Sriracha hot sauce and the Southern California city that says its air is...
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:59 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky says all three of its business segments are doing well and made significant medical advances last year. Gorsky told shareholders at the annual meeting that J&J is poised to lead the health care industry, noting approvals and launches of several new prescription medicines and medical devices last year. Just Wednesday, the company got its latest prescription drug approved: Sylvant, for the rare blood disorder Castleman's disease. Meanwhile, most of its recalled consumer health products such as Tylenol now back in stores have regained top market positions. The meeting drew several patients protesting products they said had harmed them, particularly pelvic mesh implants. The sling-like mesh strips, used to lift sagging pelvic organs, have been linked to crippling pain, infections and other complications.
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:54 am by MARTHA MENDOZA, OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press
(AP) — A security video shows the California boy who survived stowing away on a jetliner dangling his feet from the aircraft's wheel well after arriving in Hawaii, before jumping 8 to 10 feet to the ground and collapsing, an airport official says. The 15 year old, who defied the odds by living through the freezing, low-pressure conditions in the jetliner's wheel well as it flew from California to Hawaii, was disoriented and thirsty after Sunday's ordeal, Maui District Airport Manager Marvin Moniz said. Staggering toward the nose of the plane, the soft-spoken boy in a San Francisco Giants hoodie asked a ramp agent for a drink of water, setting in motion federal and local law enforcement investigations, national calls for better airport security and a flurry of speculation about how anyone could survive such a perilous trip. Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, who said he is the boy's father, told Voice of America Wednesday that his son — who is still hospitalized in Honolulu — missed Africa, where they used to live, and had been struggling in school. Abdi said he learned of the perilous journey Sunday when he got a call from police in Hawaii. "When I watched the analysis about the extraordinary and dangerous trip of my son on local TVs and that Allah had saved him, I thanked God and I was very happy," Abdi said. The Associated Press was unable to reach Abdi, who airport officials say drives a taxi. After the boy was discovered in Maui, FBI and Transportation Security Administration investigators questioned him and fed him like a local with teriyaki meatballs and rice from an airport restaurant and a box of Maui macadamia nut cookies. The teen, whose name has not been released, said he had been in an argument at home, went to the airport, and got onto the first plane he came to. "He didn't realize he was in Maui — not at all," Moniz said. The boy told officials he evaded what was supposed to be a multi-layered airport security system in San Jose by climbing a fence. That hasn't surprised airport security experts, who say that for all the tens of billions of dollars the nation has spent screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable investment to secure the airplanes parked on the tarmac. "No system is foolproof," said San Jose International Airport aviation director Kim Aguirre. "Certainly as we learn more, if we see any gaping holes, we will work to fill them." Aguirre said a perimeter search found no holes or crawl spaces in the barbed-wire fence surrounding the 1,050-acre airport. Santa Clara High School Principal Gregory Shelby sent a note Tuesday to staff saying the teen has been in the U.S. for about four years, speaks English as his second language and had transferred into the district five weeks earlier, according to Jennifer Dericco, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Unified School District. Aviation security experts say San Jose is hardly alone when it comes to weaknesses in securing its airfield. "What happened in San Jose can happen as we speak at other airports, because nobody can watch all these monitors" that feed video from around the airport, said Rafi Ron, former head of security at Tel Aviv, Israel airport. He now runs a security consulting firm. That the teen survived is remarkable. At a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, temperatures would have been well below zero and the air so starved of oxygen that he likely passed out. In response, his body could have entered a hibernation-like state, experts say. The TSA said it has spent $80 billion on aviation security since its inception shortly after the 9/11 attacks. That does not include perimeter security. "We were investing all our resources in the front door, which were the passengers and their bags," Ron said. "And we left the back door open." ___Mendoza reported from San Jose, Calif. Associated Press writers Justin Prichard in Los Angeles and Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu contributed to this report.
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:49 am by DEE-ANN DURBIN, TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writers
(AP) — The cost of recalling nearly 7 million cars and trucks sank General Motors' first-quarter profit, but the company's CEO said the much-publicized recalls have yet to cut into sales. GM on Thursday reported its worst financial results in more than four years, with profit falling 86 percent to $125 million. The biggest contributor was a $1.3 billion charge to cover a series of recalls announced since early February, most notably 2.6 million small cars with defective ignition switches. The Detroit automaker is facing government investigations and civil lawsuits over the small-car recall. On a conference call, CEO Mary Barra called the company's handling of the recall unacceptable but said that, so far, bad publicity has not had a "meaningful impact" on sales. She also said GM is offering employee discounts to owners of cars with the faulty ignition switches. After opening with a 2 percent gain, GM shares were down 13 cents to $34.26 around midday. GM made 6 cents per share in the first quarter, down from 58 cents a year ago. The recall charge alone cut 48 cents off first-quarter earnings. But excluding one-time items, GM made 29 cents per share, far above Wall Street estimates of 3 cents per share. Revenue rose more than 1 percent. Still, it was a rough start to what many expected would be a strong year for the Detroit automaker. The U.S. government its remaining stake in GM at the end of last year, freeing the company of the "Government Motors" nickname. In January, GM announced its first quarterly dividend in six years. And it has rolled out multiple new models in recent months including high-profit pickup trucks and full-size SUVs. But the recalls have overshadowed Barra's first months as CEO. GM has linked the ignition switch problem to 13 deaths and has acknowledged knowing about it for at least a decade. Barra was grilled earlier this month by two congressional panels pushing for an explanation on why GM dragged its feet. She said the answers would come from an ongoing internal investigation. GM also announced other recalls that pushed the total to near 7 million cars and trucks. Barra said the company has formed a leadership team to focus on recall issues. But, as before, she made no excuses for GM's behavior in the ignition switch controversy. "It doesn't matter that the roots of the issue are more than a decade old," she said. She told analysts that dealers are taking advantage of increased showroom traffic due to the recalls. But spokesman Jim Cain said GM has asked dealers to use employee pricing not as a marketing tool, but to help the small-car owners trade for a new car. Employees generally pay about 4 percent below dealer invoice. Without the recalls, GM would have had a strong quarter. The company's revenue grew 1.3 percent from a year ago to $37.4 billion, in line with analysts' estimates. "Clearly the headline results are overshadowed by the recall charges," Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said. GM's global sales for the quarter rose 2.3 percent to 2.42 million cars and trucks. China sales grew 13 percent, and sales in Europe rose less than 1 percent. But sales fell 2 percent in North America, GM's most profitable region, and they dropped 10 percent in South America. The company's North America division earned $600 million. Without the recall charge, it would have earned $1.9 billion, up from $1.4 billion a year ago. Sales in the region fell to 745,000 cars and trucks. Stevens said GM is getting $2,000 more for its vehicles on average in the U.S. than it did a year ago, and $5,000 more for pickup trucks. Stevens said the $1.3 billion charge covers the entire cost of parts for the recalls, as well as installation by dealers and loaner vehicles for owners of cars with bad ignition switches. So far GM has paid for 36,000 loaners. He said it's too early to tell if GM will take more recall-related charges. GM faces multiple lawsuits from families of people killed in crashes, plus owners who claim the recall has lowered the value of their vehicles. GM has hired Kenneth Feinberg — who handled funds for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — to explore ways to compensate crash victims. Stevens said no decision has been made on establishing a fund. GM said ignition parts supplier Delphi is producing parts on one assembly line, running multiple shifts seven days per week. Second and third lines should be up later in the summer, giving GM the ability to finish the small-car repairs by October.
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:46 am by TOM MURPHY, AP Business Writer
(AP) — Caterpillar's first-quarter earnings rose 5 percent, and the construction equipment maker raised its 2014 forecast. But the company also said Thursday that a mining equipment sales slump is still hurting results. The Peoria, Ill., company now expects 2014 earnings of $6.10 per share excluding restructuring costs. That's up from its previous forecast for $5.85 per share and well above Wall Street expectations. Analysts expect earnings of $5.72 per share, on average, according to FactSet.Caterpillar Inc. shares jumped almost 3 percent by midday Thursday. Caterpillar said it earned $922 million, or $1.44 per share, in the quarter that ended March 31. That compares to $880 million, or $1.31 per share, last year. Earnings totaled $1.61 per share, excluding restructuring costs. Total revenue was nearly flat at $13.24 billion. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.21 per share on $13.09 billion in revenue.Caterpillar also makes power systems that include large electrical generators and locomotive engines. A downturn in heavy equipment used in mining hit the company hard last year, when its profit tumbled about 33 percent to $3.79 billion. Mining gear generates higher profit margins for Caterpillar than many other parts of its business. As sales of large tractors and mining loaders slumped last year, Caterpillar shut plants and cut jobs. But strong results in construction and power systems have helped make up for the shortfall in mining. Caterpillar said Thursday it continued to see low order rates for mining equipment, the main component of its "Resource Industries" business. "The company expects mining orders will begin to improve at some point, but not likely in time to increase Resource Industries' sales in 2014," Caterpillar said in a statement announcing its earnings. Caterpillar stock rose $2.27, or 2.2 percent, to $105.65 by midday Thursday. Shares of Caterpillar, a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, had already climbed 14 percent as of Wednesday after closing 2013 at $90.81.
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:40 am by 
JOSEPH PISANI, AP Business Writer
(AP) — Bad news for lazy dogs: A new device, called Whistle, lets pet owners track how much exercise — or sleep — their four-legged friends are getting. Whistle is similar to popular activity trackers designed for humans. It wraps around a dog's collar and syncs with a smartphone app, collecting data on how much activity and rest the pet had. I tried it out on my dog, who would much rather sleep under the couch than chase a ball. It's no surprise to find out that he wasn't getting at least 30 minutes of movement a day. But that was mainly my fault. Whistle pushed me to take him out on more walks for longer periods. At $129, it is as pricey as some of the latest human fitness trackers from the likes of FitBit and Jawbone. One major difference: Whistle syncs data to its app through Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth. That lets you check up on your dogs without being near them, so you can track how much exercise your dog is getting when left with dog walkers, a doggy day care or family and friends. The Whistle app, available for Apple and Android smartphones, is nicely designed. Multiple people can download the app and see the same data through the same account, which is a great if others help care for your dog. THE DEVICE: The Whistle looks slick. It is round and is made of stainless steel. It weighs 16 grams, or less than an ounce. It is about 1.5 inches wide and less than half-an-inch thick. My biggest worry was losing it. But the device locks on to a rubber strap that is then wrapped around the dog collar. It stayed in place and never fell off. Because it is waterproof, dogs can take the Whistle with them for a swim, the company says. I used it during rainy dog walks, and it always worked fine. DOGGY DATA: The app lists how much rest and activity the dog gets in a day. You can also add what the dog ate, what medication you gave it and any additional notes or photos you want. The app looks like a Facebook timeline for your dog. You can scroll down to see what the dog has done during the day. You can also quickly swipe the screen from left to right to see what the dog did on past days. MAY BE TOO HEAVY FOR TINY DOGS: The company recommends using it on dogs that weigh more than 10 pounds. It still works on smaller dogs, the company says, but the Whistle might be too big for them. It's up to you to decide. My dog is a little over 11 pounds and didn't notice the Whistle at all. BATTERY LIFE: The built-in battery lasts about a week before it has to be recharged. The app alerts you when it starts getting low. The Whistle is charged through a USB cord that plugs into a computer or laptop. It doesn't come with a wall charger outlet, which is a pain if you don't have a laptop or desktop computer. I used the wall charger for my iPhone, or you can buy one for less than $10. WHERE TO FETCH IT: The Whistle is sold in PetSmart stores and online at Whistle.com.
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:34 am by MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, AP Tobacco Writer
(AP) — Altria Group Inc.'s first-quarter profit dropped 15 percent as the Marlboro maker sold fewer cigarettes and its year-ago results benefited from lower expenses from a longstanding legal settlement. The owner of the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, said Thursday that its cigarette shipments fell 2.5 percent to 29 billion cigarettes during the quarter. Adjusting for trade inventory changes, cigarette volumes fell 3.5 percent, compared with the total industry decline of about 4 percent. Volumes of its premium Marlboro brand fell more than 2 percent but its share of the retail U.S. market rose 0.2 percentage points to 43.8 percent. The company's share of the U.S. retail market rose 0.2 percentage points to 50.7 percent. The Marlboro brand has been under pressure from competitors and lower-priced cigarette brands amid economic uncertainty and high unemployment. The brand sold for an average of $5.91 per pack during the first quarter, compared with an average of $4.43 per pack for the cheapest brand. The increased competition is on top of the tax hikes, smoking bans and a social stigma that have made the cigarette business tougher. Altria and others are focusing on cigarette alternatives — such as electronic cigarettes, cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco — for future sales growth because the decline in cigarette smoking is expected to continue. Adjusted volumes for its smokeless tobacco brands such as Copenhagen and Skoal grew about 6 percent. Volumes for its Black & Mild cigars rose less than a percent. Altria also owns a wine business, holds a voting stake in brewer SABMiller, and has a financial services The company posted earnings of $1.17 billion, or 59 cents per share for the period ended March 31. That's down from $1.38 billion, or 69 cents a share, in the year-ago period when it recorded more credits for disputed payments under the 1998 multistate tobacco settlement. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 57 cents per share, matching Wall Street expectations. Altria, based in Richmond, Va., said that revenue, excluding excise taxes, increased less than a percent to $4.01 billion as higher prices helped offset a decline in volumes. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $4.03 billion. Its shares edged up 12 cents to $38.43 in midday trading Thursday. Its shares are up just over 8 percent for the past year.
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:29 am by MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, AP Tobacco Writer
(AP) — The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels. While the proposal being issued Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration won't immediately mean changes for the popular devices, the move is aimed at eventually taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry. The agency said the proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules don't immediately ban the wide array of flavors of e-cigarettes, curb marketing on places like TV or set product standards. Any further rules "will have to be grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said. Members of Congress and public health groups have raised concerns over e-cigarettes and questioned their marketing tactics. "When finalized (the proposal) would result in significant public health benefits, including through reducing sales to youth, helping to correct consumer misperceptions, preventing misleading health claims and preventing new products from entering the market without scientific review by FDA," said Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. Also on Thursday, the FDA proposed extending its authority to regulate cigars, hookah, nicotine gels, pipe tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products. Public health advocates said the FDA proposal is a critical step in reining in marketing of the new products. But they also said it comes after an "inexcusably long delay," pointing out that the FDA first announced its plans to regulate e-cigarettes in April 2011. "It is inexcusable that it has taken the FDA and the Administration so long to act. This delay has had serious public health consequences as these unregulated tobacco products have been marketed using tactics and sweet flavors that appeal to kids," the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a statement. Once the new rules are finalized, the agency could propose more restrictions on e-cigarettes. Officials didn't provide a timetable for that action. "The devil will be in the details of future regulatory decisions," said Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank in Washington. "If the regulations are too heavy-handed, they'll have the deadly effect of preventing smokers from quitting by switching to these dramatically less harmful alternatives." The FDA said the public, members of the industry and others will have 75 days to comment on the proposal. The agency will evaluate those comments before issuing a final rule but there's no timetable for when that will happen. The regulations will be a step in a long process that many believe will ultimately end up being challenged in court. E-cigarettes are plastic or metal tubes, usually the size of a cigarette, that heat a liquid nicotine solution instead of burning tobacco. That creates vapor that users inhale. Smokers like e-cigarettes because the nicotine-infused vapor looks like smoke but doesn't contain the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. Some smokers use e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking tobacco, or to cut down. However, there's not much scientific evidence showing e-cigarettes help smokers quit or smoke less, and it's unclear how safe they are. The industry started on the Internet and at shopping-mall kiosks and has rocketed from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide who can choose from more than 200 brands. Sales are estimated to have reached nearly $2 billion in 2013. Tobacco company executives have noted that they are eating into traditional cigarette sales, and their companies have jumped into the business. Some believe lightly regulating electronic cigarettes might actually be better for public health overall, if smokers switch and e-cigarettes really are safer. Others are raising alarms about the hazards of the products and a litany of questions about whether e-cigarettes will keep smokers addicted or encourage others to start using e-cigarettes, and even eventually tobacco products. "Right now for something like e-cigarettes, there are far more questions than answers," Zeller said, adding that the agency is conducting research to better understand the safety of the devices and who is using them. At first glance, the FDA's proposal is "broadly as expected and not as restrictive as some had feared," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Bonnie Herzog wrote in a note to investors. "It seems to be a responsible approach ... and shows the FDA's commitment to look at particular e-cigarettes in a science-based way rather than just conjecture," said Jason Healy, president of Blu e-cigs, which is owned by Lorillard Inc. and holds more than 45 percent of the market. "Obviously we've got a long way to go. This may be just some calm before the storm." Healy noted that the e-cigarette landscape and the products themselves will continue to evolve and grow before the regulations take effect, and they will likely spur a consolidation of companies in the market. In addition to prohibiting sales to minors and requiring health labels that warn users that nicotine is an addictive chemical, e-cigarette makers also would be required to register their products with the agency and disclose ingredients. They also would not be allowed to claim their products are safer than other tobacco products. They also couldn't use words such as "light" or "mild" to describe their products, give out free samples or sell their products in vending machines unless they are in a place open only to adults, such as a bar. Companies also will be required to submit applications for premarket review within two years. As long as an e-cigarette maker has submitted the application, the FDA said it will allow the products to stay on the market while they are being reviewed. That would mean companies would have to submit an application for all e-cigarettes now being sold.
Written on 04/24/2014, 9:23 am by STEVEN DUBOIS, Associated Press
(AP) — An Oregon county commission has ordered an incinerator to stop accepting boxed medical waste to generate electricity after learning the waste it's been burning may include tissue from aborted fetuses from British Columbia. Sam Brentano, chairman of the Marion County board of commissioners, said late Wednesday the board is taking immediate action to prohibit human tissue from future deliveries at the plant that has been turning waste into energy since 1987. "We provide an important service to the people of this state and it would be a travesty if this program is jeopardized due to this finding," he said in a statement. "We thought our ordinance excluded this type of material at the waste-to-energy facility. We will take immediate action to ensure a process is developed to prohibit human tissue from future deliveries." Kristy Anderson, a British Columbia Health Ministry spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that regional health authorities there have a contract with a company that sends biomedical waste, such as fetal tissue, cancerous tissue and amputated limbs, to Oregon, where it's incinerated in the waste-energy plant. The B.C. Catholic, a Vancouver-based newspaper, identified the plant as Covanta Marion, based in Brooks, Ore. When contacted by The AP on Wednesday, a Covanta Marion representative said he did not know if fetal tissue was included in shipments from Canada or elsewhere. The facility is owned and operated by Covanta in a partnership with Marion County. According to its website, it processes 550 tons per day of municipal solid waste, generating up to 13 megawatts of energy sold to Portland General Electric. Marion County estimates that the facility processes about 700 tons of in-county medical waste each year and about 1,200 tons from elsewhere, making it a small percentage of the total waste burned. Out-of-town medical waste is charged a higher fee. County spokeswoman Jolene Kelley said medical waste has been included in the program for some time, but the commissioners never had any indication that fetal tissue might be included. "We learned that today," she said. Commissioners did not say why they believe medical waste shipped to the plant should be free of fetal tissue. Since they have no idea what's been arriving in the sealed shipments, the commissioners decided to temporarily suspend all medical waste, Kelley said. They've scheduled an emergency hearing for Thursday and might rewrite an ordinance to clarify what type of material can be accepted. Covanta Marion is believed to be the only plant generating energy from waste in Oregon.The Environmental Protection Agency says medical waste from hospitals is generally excluded from the municipal solid waste used to generate electricity.
Written on 04/23/2014, 1:26 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Just over a month after buying Beechcraft for $1.4 billion, Textron announced 750 job cuts at that company and at its Cessna division. The layoffs will occur over the next 60 days. Both aircraft makers are based in Wichita, Kan., and Textron says about 575 of the affected jobs are based in Kansas. Management and non-management jobs will be eliminated, the company said. Textron Inc., based in Providence, R.I., expects about $4.6 billion in annual revenue from the combination of Cessna and Beechcraft. Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 because of the sluggish business jet market during the economic downturn. It sold its Hawker business jet assets and emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2013. Cessna laid off workers in 2013, although it didn't say how many jobs were eliminated. It also offered voluntary retirement for hourly and salaried workers, and said it would cut production that year because of weak demand for light jet products. Wichita has also endured extensive job cuts after Boeing Co. said it would shut down facilities in the area in response to cuts in defense spending. The move affected more than 2,000 jobs. The company is now in the final stages of closing defense facilities in the area. In December Textron said it hadn't made a decision about layoffs following the acquisition, but it acknowledged restructuring and other moves were possible. The company said the combination of Beechcraft and Cessna would be good news for Wichita because Beechcraft would have a stronger parent company. Shares of Textron rose 17 cents to $40.23 in midday trading.

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Written on 04/24/2014, 9:40 am by 
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