How GM’s ignition switch redesign went wrong
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors’ deadly ignition switch flaws emerged from an effort to improve its cars.
As the company began developing new small cars in the late 1990s, it listened to customers who complained about “cheap-feeling” switches that required too much effort to turn. GM set about making switches that would work more smoothly and give drivers the impression that they were better designed, a GM switch engineer testified in a lawsuit deposition in the spring of 2013.
The switches, though, were too loose, touching off events that led to at least 13 deaths, more than 50 crashes and a raft of legal trouble for the Detroit automaker.
$3B deal adds natural flavours to ADM portfolio
DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Archer Daniels Midland already makes sweeteners, fibers, emulsifiers and an array of other ingredients used in packaged foods and drinks. Now it’s getting in the business of natural flavours.
The agribusiness giant, based in Decatur, Illinois, said Monday it will acquire the privately held Swiss company Wild Flavours in an all-cash deal that will total $3.13 billion counting debt, or 2.3 billion euros. Founded in 1931, Wild Flavors makes natural flavours and “flavour systems” that help give products their distinct tastes.
Natural and artificial flavours are listed as ingredients in a wide variety of packaged foods and drinks around the world. Such flavours help make Coke taste like Coke and Cheetos taste like Cheetos. But companies typically don’t disclose what exactly goes into making those flavours, which are considered trade secrets.
Washington state issues 24 marijuana shop licenses
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state issued its first retail marijuana licenses Monday with a middle-of-the-night email alerting bleary-eyed pot-shop proprietors that they’ll finally be able to open for business.
Randy Simmons, the state Liquor Control Board’s project manager for legal marijuana, said Sunday night that the first two dozen stores were being notified so early to give them an extra few hours to get cannabis on their shelves before they are allowed to open their doors at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The store openings are expected to be accompanied by high prices, shortages and celebration.
The state licensed 14 stores in western Washington and 10 in eastern Washington.
Truckers strike at Los Angeles, Long Beach ports
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Drivers in a long-running labour dispute with three trucking companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began what they said would be an indefinite strike Monday.
The impact on the movement of cargo around the sprawling port complex, the main gateway for hundreds of billions of dollars of trade with Asia, was limited in the strike’s first hours. But the threat of a broader disruption loomed if striking truckers take their pickets from offices of their employers to the dockside terminals where ships are loaded and unloaded.
Some US-bound air travellers must turn on phones
WASHINGTON (AP) — Passengers at some overseas airports that offer U.S.-bound flights will soon be required to power on their electronic devices in order to board their flights — a measure intended to enhance aviation security at a time when intelligence officials are concerned about hidden explosives, a counterterrorism official said.
American intelligence officials have been concerned about new al-Qaida efforts to produce a bomb that would go undetected through airport security. There is no indication that such a bomb has been created or that there’s a specific threat to the U.S., but intelligence has suggested that al-Qaida and like-minded groups are focused on perfecting an explosive that could be hidden in shoes, electronics or cosmetics, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
Delta Air Lines cutting back flights to Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Delta Air Lines drastically reduced service to Venezuela on Monday in a dispute with the government over revenue trapped in the South American country. The move left disgruntled fliers scrambling to rebook seats on one of the dwindling number of carriers with full service to the socialist country.
Delta is slashing service by 85 per cent starting Aug. 1, replacing its daily roundtrip flight between Atlanta and Caracas with one roundtrip weekend flight, according to spokeswoman Sarah Lora.
Lora declined to say how much money Delta has stuck in Venezuela. Airlines have been unable to convert their Venezuelan earnings into dollars because of the government’s hold on repatriation of airline revenue.
Report: Homeowners paid $3.1B cash in settlement
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report says homeowners have received about $3.1 billion in cash under a federal settlement with 13 big banks over alleged misconduct in processing mortgages that may have resulted in wrongful foreclosures.
The report by the Federal Reserve released Monday says 83 per cent of the 4.2 million borrowers covered by the January 2013 settlement, or about 3.4 million, had cashed checks as of April 25. The amounts paid range from several hundred dollars to $125,000.
The 13 banks include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs.
China’s premier says country’s economy improving
BEIJING (AP) — China’s economy improved in the latest quarter but faces “downward pressure,” and Beijing will increase the strength of targeted policy measures to shore up growth, the country’s premier said Monday.
Speaking at a news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Premier Li Keqiang gave no indication how fast the economy might have grown in the three months ending in June after expanding by 7.4 per cent the previous quarter.
Manufacturing grew in June at its strongest pace this year, but the expansion was weaker than normal.
Chinese leaders are trying to guide the economy toward self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption, rather than exports and investment. Those plans have been complicated by weakness in exports, which support millions of jobs.
German industry production down 3rd straight month
BERLIN (AP) — German industrial output fell sharply in May, a third consecutive drop that suggests Europe’s biggest economy and engine of growth lost steam in the second quarter amid slowing business in China and tensions over Ukraine.
The 1.8 per cent drop compared with the previous month also reinforces concerns over the economy of the wider 18-country eurozone as other countries, such as France, are still too weak to pick up the slack.
Monday’s figure, published by the Federal Statistical Office, undercut economists’ expectations for no change. Production slipped 0.3 per cent in April, revised downward from the initial reading of 0.2 per cent growth.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 44.05 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 17,024.21 Monday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped 7.79 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,977.65. The Nasdaq fell 34.40 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,451.53.
Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery fell 53 cents to close at $103.53 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 40 cents to close at $110.24 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 3.1 cents to close at $2.989 a gallon. Natural gas fell 18.1 cents to close at $4.225 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil fell 1.4 cents to close at $2.915 a gallon.