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Automakers unveil China-focused models in Beijing PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer   
Sunday, 20 April 2014 07:51

BEIJING (AP) — Ford Motor Co. on Sunday unveiled a new Escort sedan designed in China for global sale at a Beijing auto show that highlighted the growing influence of Chinese tastes on the industry.

Automakers are looking to China's biggest auto show this year to help boost sales in this huge but cooling market. Total sales last year reached 17.9 million vehicles, but growth is expected to slow from 15.7 percent to as low as 8 percent, even as newcomers including Lincoln and Tesla enter the market.

The new Escort, a compact sedan with a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, was designed at Ford's development center in China with features to appeal to local tastes. They include a bigger back seat for children and grandparents, lighter colors and cup holders made to fit iced tea bottles.

The Escort goes on sale in China this year, expanding later to other markets, said CEO Alan Mulally.

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Court case to test Minnesota's 'Buy the Farm' law PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by STEVE KARNOWSKI, Associated Press   
Saturday, 19 April 2014 06:49

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it.

The case pits the developers of the CapX2020 project against Cedar Summit Farm near New Prague, which fills its old-school glass bottles on site and keeps its cows on a 100 percent grass diet. Owners Dave and Florence Minar say they can't properly operate an organic dairy farm under a 345,000-volt power line, so they're trying to use the law to force CapX2020 to buy their farm and pay the costs of relocating their operation.

The case is one of dozens of land disputes arising from CapX2020, an initiative by 11 utilities including Xcel Energy and Great River Energy to expand and ensure the reliability of the region's electrical grid. The $2 billion project includes five new high-voltage lines covering nearly 800 miles. A planned line from Brookings, S.D., to Hampton, Minn., runs right over the Minars' farm.

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Gilbert, Penske on Detroit bankruptcy witness list PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 19 April 2014 06:52

DETROIT (AP) — The names of high-profile businessmen Dan Gilbert and Roger Penske are among those on a witness list for a court proceeding this summer on Detroit's plan to exit bankruptcy.

The city on Friday released the list.

It has grown to 30 and also includes emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Mayor Mike Duggan.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will preside this summer over a proceeding on Detroit's plan to shed debt and restructure city operations and finances.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Boeing to give California workers $47M in back pay PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 19 April 2014 06:48

PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) — Boeing Co. will pay $47 million to hundreds of current and former Southern California employees who are owed back pay and benefits, a union announced Friday.

An arbitrator ruled against the aerospace giant in January and laid down guidelines for the payments and interest, but it took months to cull through records and decide how much each worker was owed, said Bill Dugovich, a spokesman for the Seattle-based Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

A union grievance filed 13 years ago claimed Chicago-based Boeing violated contracts with engineers and technical workers in Palmdale and at Edwards Air Force Base northeast of Los Angeles.

The payments will be made in lump sums to 251 current and 233 former employees or their heirs.

The $47 million includes back pay, premium pay, interest, pension and 401(k) contributions along with interest.

The individual amounts range from a few dollars to around $400,000, with an average of nearly $100,000 per employee, Dugovich said.

"Boeing spent more than a decade and countless dollars trying to break its contracts with these employees," Rich Plunkett, SPEEA's director of strategic development, said in a statement. "It's disappointing it took so long, but the employees prevailed."

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