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German Chemical Plant Fire Threatens Auto Backlog

A deadly fire and explosion at a German chemical plant has created big headaches for the global auto industry. The recent blast has resulted in a shortage of a chemical compound used in plastic fuel and brake lines. The chemical is hard to replace, and now automakers are scrambling to avoid major production disruptions.
NPR

Charity Status Of Conservative Group Challenged

The conservative group that has seen some corporate donors flee because of its involvement in pushing for voter ID and stand-your-ground gun laws, has new troubles. Common Cause has filed a complaint with the IRS that the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, violated the limits of its charity tax status.
NPR

As N.C. Textile Jobs Fade, Denim Brightens Raleigh

In its heyday, the textile industry employed 40 percent of North Carolina's work force. Now that employment number is less than 2 percent. But Raleigh Denim has found a way to thrive in North Carolina by making blue jeans the old-fashioned way.
NPR

Germany Debates Fate Of State-Owned Banks

Unlike the United States, Germany never had a housing bubble. Its mortgage market is too tightly regulated. But some German banks did lose a lot of money in the financial crisis. The network of institutions called landesbanks have became a cautionary tale about risky investing.
NPR

High-End Store Specializes in 1950s-Style Jeans

The denim store in Kobe, Japan, sells jeans for $350. The store is able to sell a pair of jeans for that price because it's tapped into a Japanese subculture that is obsessed by 1950s Americana.
NPR

Continued Job Growth Will Help Housing Industry

Homes sales are still weak and prices in many cities continue to fall. Overall, the housing market remains in the doldrums. But first-time buyers are returning, one signal that the worst may be over.
NPR

Nestle To Buy Pfizer's Infant-Nutrition Line

Swiss food and drink giant Nestle announced a deal Monday to acquire Pfizer Inc.'s infant-nutrition business for $11.85 billion in a bid to boost sales in emerging markets. Before the announcement, Nestle already had the largest share of the global baby-formula market at just under 20 percent.

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