U.S. Steel plans to invest up to $325 million this year

U.S. Steel CEO David Burritt said the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker is in a good position after turning its first annual profit last year since 2014. "Our earnings have improved, our facilities are operating better and market conditions are supportive of continuing improvements," Burritt said in a conference call with investors last week. "We are focused on the fundamental drivers of our business — safety, quality, delivery and cost. This is how we’re establishing a foundation for future growth. There is nothing flashy or untested here, it's all about focus, discipline, and execution, and we’re on it." Burritt replaced Mario Longhi, who retired after a disastrous loss of $180 million in the first quarter. The steelmaker was expected to turn a profit because of rising prices, but Longhi's cost-cutting measures had included deferring maintenance so that U.S. Steel's mills were not productive enough to capitalize on the higher prices.  Under Burritt, the steelmaker has been investing $1.2 billion in upgrading its flat-rolled operations, including $50 million at Gary Works last year. "Our investments in our assets are delivering results," he said. "We established a scorecard for investors to track our progress on our asset revitalization program, setting out our goals for 2017. The results are now in, and we exceeded our targets for improving quality and reliability, and our more consistent results reflect this." U.S. Steel plans to invest $275 million to $325 million this year in capital projects. "The investments we're making in our assets and our employees are driven by our commitment to our customers," Burritt said in the conference call with investors. "Improving our quality and reliability makes us a stronger business partner and increases the value we can create. Providing stronger support for the current needs of our customers is only the first step. We're also focused on developing the next generation of steel products and Continue Reading

Dallas man who killed 2 daughters set to become 3rd execution this year

By Keri Blakinger Updated 12:06 pm, Thursday, February 1, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', target_type: 'mix' }); Continue Reading

The Latest: UK says Trump due to visit this year

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local): 6:10 p.m. The British government says U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to visit the U.K. this year. Prime Minister Theresa May met Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday. Her office says the two leaders asked their officials "to work together on finalizing the details of a visit by the President to the U.K. later this year." A year has passed since May invited Trump to pay a state visit to Britain as a guest of Queen Elizabeth II. Opponents have vowed to stage large protests if he comes, and no date has yet been announced. The president recently said he would not come on a more low-key working visit to open the new U.S. Embassy in London because he did not approve of the location or the cost of the building. ——— 5:15 p.m. The Palestinians say President Donald Trump's threat to hold back aid unless they resume negotiations with Israel is "unacceptable." Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said the Palestinians must return to peace talks to receive U.S. aid money. Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Wednesday that "this language of dictation is unacceptable." He said the Palestinians are "ready to engage in negotiations" and committed to a peace process "based on a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as capital." Trump's decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital angered the Palestinians and prompted them to reject the U.S. as an honest Mideast peace broker. Abu Rdeneh says Trump should "backtrack" on the Jerusalem declaration. ——— 4:50 p.m. South Korea says there's mounting evidence that sanctions against North Korea are having an effect, with trade across the Chinese border with the north now virtually "frozen up." The claim comes from South Korean Continue Reading

The Latest: UN secretary-general is skipping Davos this year

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos (all times local): 8:50 p.m. One global leader is skipping Davos this year. The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decided not to go to the World Economic Forum's annual global gabfest in the Swiss ski resort this year because "there was a scheduling issue." U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters on Wednesday that Guterres will be leaving Thursday for the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. He said "often we get criticized for going to Davos, and we get criticized for not going to Davos." Dujarric said sometimes doing business at the Swiss ski resort is "a little complicated." But he said it's an important place for the United Nations to be, especially to interact with the private sector, and that's why the U.N. will be represented by General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak and the heads of several U.N. agencies. ——— 7:35 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron has called for acting in "a multilateral way" to better fight against extremism around the world. In an implicit reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign policy toward North Korea and Iran, Macron said "the fight against criminal organizations shouldn't be a justification leading to the fragmentation of our responses." In a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he called for "acting in a multilateral way" to put pressure on countries such as North Korea and Iran "without leading to the fracturing of the region." He also said a multilateral political and diplomatic approach will help achieve peace, especially in the Middle East and in Africa's Sahel region. He said "we've got not only to win the war against terrorism but we've got to create conditions for durable peace." ——— 7:15 p.m. David Cameron, the former British prime minister who called and lost the referendum on the country's membership of the Continue Reading

IDEM to test residential soil near Hammond Group’s lead oxide plant this year

HAMMOND — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management plans to test this year for lead in soil in a residential area near a Hessville lead oxide plant, after recently approving the company's application to modify its air permit. Executives at Hammond Group Inc. said they weren't aware of IDEM's plan to test off-site soil. Hammond Group CEO and President Terrence Murphy said the company is environmentally conscious. It manufactures lead oxides and additives for lead acid batteries, which are recycled more than 99 percent of the time, he said. "We're extending the life, we're extending the capability of what lead acid batteries were thought to do," Murphy said. Hammond Group has been working to make lead acid batteries that can meet emerging demands, including use in hybrid cars and storage of wind and solar energy. Most hybrid cars currently use lithium ion batteries, which cannot be recycled, he said. Hammond Group, formerly known as Hammond Lead, historically has produced lead oxides and additives at the facility off 165th Street. Production at the 165th Street facility shifted solely to lead oxides after the company renovated another facility at 3100 Michigan St. several years ago by adding new laboratories and moving production of all additives there. The facility on 165th Street has had baghouses since operations began in the 1930s, executives said. The company began further filtering emissions from baghouses using HEPA filters in the 1980s. The facility is a closed environment, where trucks that exclusively haul lead oxide are loaded in a sealed environment. The facility's emissions in recent years have totaled less than 1 percent of allowable limits under its permit, executives said. IDEM cited the low levels of lead air emissions when it approved modifications to Hammond Group's air permit Dec. 8. All known lead sites re-evaluated Murphy said he thinks the chance IDEM will find soil contamination in the area attributable to Continue Reading

Why huge cranes working on new arena will be part of draw at this year’s Stock Show

Dirt will be flying both inside and outside at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo this year. While visitors are watching horses, bulls and calves kick up clumps of dirt as they run in the Will Rogers Coliseum, not far away about 800 construction workers will be riding in heavy machinery and creating clouds of dust of their own as construction on the $540 million, 14,000-seat Dickies Arena continues. On Tuesday, Dickies Arena officials also unveiled models of the new premium seating that they will be showing to patrons during the Stock Show. It also was revealed that the majority of the 2,200 parking spaces in the arena’s new garage will be available to visitors this year. While the new arena, which is 32 percent complete, won’t actually host its first Stock Show until 2020, the future is already taking shape. The Stock Show begins its 23-day run on Friday. “It is a great time for Fort Worth,” said Matt Homan, president and general manager of Dickies Arena. “With one of the largest events at the Will Rogers starting to take place with the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and the new arena starting to be erected, you’re going to see a lot of action.” The arena is being built by a public-private partnership with Event Facilities Fort Worth, a nonprofit headed by Fort Worth billionaire Ed Bass. The city’s contribution is capped at $225 million, with the rest of the funding coming through various foundations, individuals and organizations. While the Stock Show will become the arena’s only actual tenant — taking over the facility for about a month every year — the arena also will be used to host other events that previously weren’t available, Homan said. The arena is scheduled to host the first and second rounds of the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. “There are a lot of opportunities to do a lot of new events that haven’t been here for years,” Homan said. “The Continue Reading

First Look: Hyundai will bring all-new Kona crossover to the U.S. this year

Hyundai has confirmed that it will bring its all-new small SUV, the Kona, to the U.S. later this year. Earlier this month, Hyundai teased the subcompact crossover in Europe, billing it as a competitor the Nissan Juke, which has been particularly popular in that market because of its small size, unique look and peppy driving experience. Now it has announced that the vehicle will launch in the U.S. and Korea before the end of the year. Proportioned somewhat like an Infiniti QX30—albeit with a slightly taller body and considerably fewer accent marks—Hyundai’s latest offering does a nice job of standing out from the rest of its crossover lineup, which includes the Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport and Tucson. However, unlike other vehicles in this segment, such as the Juke and the Toyota C-HR, the Kona’s design rather tame. Razor thin LED headlights give it a mean appearance, while a cascading mesh grille ties it in with the rest of Hyundai’s lineup. Meanwhile, darker fenders and a matching roof add to its distinction. With at least two engines offerings, Hyundai has promised a fun and engaging driving experience for its intended audience, which is primarily young professional who live in big cities. It’s also giving the Kona an all-wheel drive system that’s prepared to handle off-road terrain. Neither of the announced powertrains is particularly powerful, although that shouldn’t be too much of a problem considering this vehicle’s small stature. The first option is a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that makes about 147 horsepower and takes 10 seconds to hit 60 mph and the second option is a turbocharged 1.6-liter Gamma engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that makes 174 horsepower and can get to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds. For the European market, where Hyundai is Continue Reading

Starbucks to open in India; Coffee chain to open cafes in Mumbai and New Dehli later this year

Starbucks will make its eagerly awaited foray into India later this year, opening outlets under a deal announced Monday with Tata Global Beverages to tap into the country's fast-growing taste for coffee. Tata, part of steel-to-software conglomerate Tata Group, and Seattle-based Starbucks said they had entered into a 50:50 joint venture that will operate Starbucks cafes starting in New Delhi and Mumbai in August or September. "India is a unique market which gives us huge opportunities," Starbucks' China and Asia Pacific president John Culver told reporters, saying they would not stop at India's two main cities. Starbucks, the world's largest coffee shop chain, has plans for at least 50 outlets by the end of 2012 as the group bets on lifestyle changes that are turning the tea-drinking country into a booming market for cafes. "We will move as fast as possible," Culver said. Outlets are planned for shopping malls, airports, railway stations and other locations. The joint venture will start up with an initial investment of four billion rupees ($78 million) and be branded "Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance", said R.K. Krishnakumar, vice-chairman of Tata Global Beverages. Starbucks has been eyeing the Indian market for years, but it will face strong competition from established coffee chains. The Indian-owned Cafe Coffee Day chain leads the pack with more than 1,000 outlets. The nation of 1.2 billion people has traditionally been a tea-drinking country, but Western-style coffee chains have grown in popularity in recent years among the wealthy and growing middle class. The change in tastes has less to do with a fondness for Italian espresso and more to do with the social cachet conferred by the beverage in class-conscious India, analysts say. Starbucks initially planned to open up its first coffee shop in India in 2007 but put the plans on the backburner amid uncertainty about the government's foreign investment policy. Starbucks has a Continue Reading

Reliving the brilliant sights and harmonious sounds of this year’s Trinidad Carnival

Want a recap of the brilliant sights and harmonious sounds of this year's Trinidad Carnival? Try The National Carnival Commission and the When Steel Talks websites. A digital clock on the National Carnival Commission website is already counting down the minutes and seconds to the 2012 edition of the festival. And leading up to the soiree, there will no doubt be continued debate about increased commercialization of mas bands and more critical analyses of the traditional Panorama steel pan competition format. But meanwhile, relish last week's Carnival climax by reviewing this year's winners and runners-up on the site, and go to the When Steel Talks site to view video and hear audio clips of the Panorama qualifiers and finals. Kudos go out to all the carnival winners and participants. And here's a special salute to CarnivalTV.net, which racked up more than 700,000 page views from users in 138 nations on its live stream. Set up in Queen's Park Savannah, the website aired last week's Panorama Finals, Dimanche Gras and the magnificent Parade of the Bands. Through a live stream, the project - a collaboration of T&T video production companies Advance Dynamics Limited and Beach House Entertainment - featured expert commentators presenting Trinidad carnival professionally and in high-definition. For carnival results, visit the National Carnival Commission site at www.ncctt.org/home and visit the When Steel Talks website at www.panonthenet.com/tnt/ 2011/index.htm for more in-depth coverage of Panorama. Soca superstar in town Soca music superstar Machel Montano and his fiery HD production are coming to New York on Friday for a show at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for the 8 p.m. event are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com. Testing tsunami preparedness Under the premise it could happen in the Caribbean, the region's 33 nations will test their readiness for the type of tsunami disaster that struck Japan. On Wednesday, Continue Reading

Outgoing Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele’s 10 best gaffes

Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele abandoned his re-election bid Friday after four rounds of balloting left him far short of a second term. Steele, who just finished his first two-year term in the job, dropped out as four other hopefuls competed to become his successor. Steele, 52, urged his backers to give their support to GOP operative Maria Cino, who worked in George W. Bush's administration, but Reince Priebus, the head of the Wisconsin Republican Party, ultimately was elected after seven rounds of voting. The GOP's first black chairman received a standing ovation from the party regulars after pulling out of the race. His spotty two-year reign included huge victories by the GOP in the November elections, but for many, Steele is known more for his verbal gaffes than his electoral accomplishments. Let's take a look at some of the best. Thanks for the memories, Michael! October 2010: Uhh, remind me again, what's the minimum wage? Steele came under fire after admitting that he doesn't know what the federal minimum wage is. In an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Steele refused to rule out repealing or lowering the minimum wage. When pressed, the chairman couldn't cite the pay rate for America's lowest earners. "What is the minimum wage, Michael?" the host asked. "You really like the minimum wage, don't you?" Steele said, laughing. When O'Donnell said it was okay to say he didn't know what it was, Steele snapped and accused him of "trap playing." February 2009: You know what the GOP really needs? A hip-hop makeover! The RNC chairman told the Washington Times that he'll "surprise everyone" with an "off the hook" public relations campaign to update his party's image. "We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles," he told the newspaper. "But we want to apply them to urban-suburban, hip-hop settings." When asked if the makeover Continue Reading