24th July 2012

Police says union claim Maruti Suzuki hired bouncers is ‘nonsense’

The police commissioner overseeing the probe into last week’s violence at a Maruti Suzuki plant dismissed labor union claims that bouncers paid by the company attacked them and set fire to part of the factory.

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24th July 2012

Fort Worth and Dallas area dirt track and dragway schedule (July 27-29)

Fort Worth and Dallas area tracks and dragways. If the forecast calls for inclement weather, check the track Web sites or call the track to make sure the racing is still on schedule:

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24th July 2012

Sub-prime car loans returning in a big way



During the first quarter of this year, US car loans totaled $52.5bn. That’s 49% higher than the same period in 2009, the recession’s low point, according to Equifax’s National Consumer Credit Trends report.

The preceeding paragraph comes from a report in today’s Detroit News.

If you’re of a nervous disposition, look away now, but if you’re brave enough to want to know what’s going on in the sub-prime vehicle loan market, click here.

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23rd July 2012

Manufacturing Troubles Remain a Drag on Recovery, Trade & Jobs


via The Seattle Times

by Jon Talton

Top of the News: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index seems consistent with recovery, coming in at 53.6 for November; any number above 50 signifies expansion in the sector. Unfortunately, the reading sagged from 55.7 the month before, tripping up what economists had hoped would be a steady climb out of recession.

A deeper look shows that the index provides no relief for the biggest immediate problem facing Americans, unemployment. Only six of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in employment. Only 11.7 million Americans worked manufacturing as of October. That compares with 17.3 million in October 1999.

Not only do manufacturing jobs pay better than their counterparts in service industries, they tend to add real value to economic activity (as opposed to selling mortgage swindles). They are also twined with our trade issues. Even fewer manufacturing jobs are now in industries that export, a key part of our huge manufacturing trade deficit.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon was happening even before the Great Recession. A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that manufacturing employment between 1965 and 2000 never dipped below 16.5 million. This even as manufacturing shrank as a share of the economy (take out Boeing and it would be much smaller). This changed as imports surged after China joined the WTO and other Asian factory centers upped their game. By 2004, the number was lower than any time since 1950.

“It is often claimed that declines in manufacturing employment stem entirely from productivity growth,” according to EPI economist L. Josh Bivens. “However, rapid productivity growth is the norm, not the exception, in manufacturing. What is new about the manufacturing job crisis of the last four years is the sharp downturn in the ratio of domestic production to demand.”

Indeed, American steelmakers are shrinking yet again.

The Back Story: The official unemployment rate including discouraged workers and part-timers seeking full-time work is 17.5 percent. But Shadow Government Statistics, a provocative and reliable site, argues even this underestimates the problem. Try…22 percent.

Complete Article



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23rd July 2012

2009-’10 Dodge Ram Probed by Feds Because Rear Differential May Fail

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a probe into an estimated 230,000 2009-’10 Dodge Ram 1500 trucks because the rear differential may fail, resulting in rear wheel lock-up and loss of vehicle control.

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23rd July 2012

2013 Seat Leon Revealed

Here are the first official photos and video of the third generation of the Spanish Seat Leon. The VW division’s five-door hatch was officially unveiled today. The new 2013 Leon will also be available in a sportier looking three-door hatchback body style as well as an estate variant, with all three models to be launched into the market by next fall.

Inside, the new Leon features a design with an instrument panel that looks like a panel in the latest Audi A3. Seat officials say the materials, finish and attention to details are “at least as good as you can find in the segment above.”

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