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BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
Federal safety experts are recommending that owners of Robinson Helicopter Co.'s four-seat R44 choppers replace the aircraft's fuel tanks after crash investigators found accidents resulted in deaths that could have been avoided. The National Transportation Safety Board said this month it made the recommendation after investigations found crashes of R44 helicopters that were “survivable for the occupants, but fatal or serious injuries occurred because of a post-crash fire that resulted from an impact-related breach in the fuel tanks.” The Torrance company has produced nearly 6,000 of its single-engine R44 helicopters since the first one was delivered in 1993.
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NATIONAL
January 17, 2014 | By David Zucchino
Bombarded by lawsuits and under federal investigation, the chemical company that spilled a dangerous solvent into a West Virginia river and fouled the drinking water of 300,000 people filed for federal bankruptcy protection Friday. Freedom Industries Inc., owner of a storage tank that ruptured Jan. 9 and spilled 7,500 gallons of a coal-treatment foaming agent called MCHM into the Elk River, sought protection from creditors under a Chapter 11 filing by its parent company, Chemstream Holdings Inc. of Pennsylvania.
BUSINESS
January 16, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Best Buy Co. watched its stock plunge more than 27% in morning trading Thursday after announcing poor holiday results that suffered from heavy competition and deep discounting. The consumer electronics retailer said revenue for the nine weeks ended Jan. 4 slumped 2.6% to $11.45 billion from the same period a year earlier. Same store sales slipped 0.9% in the U.S., though they managed at 0.1% boost internationally. In late morning trading in New York, Best Buy stock tanked nearly 28%, or $10.45, to $27.11 a share.
NATIONAL
January 16, 2014 | By David Zucchino
Few people in West Virginia had any idea that an obscure company was storing a mysterious coal-washing chemical in tanks overlooking the Elk River, just upstream from a major water treatment plant. Nor did many realize that no agency had conducted regular inspections of those tanks, even though they are perched on a steep bank that tumbles down to the river northeast of downtown Charleston. On the morning of Jan. 9, residents complained about a licorice-like odor wafting from the site, operated by a chemical company with the unlikely name of Freedom Industries.
IMAGE
December 22, 2013 | By Adam Tschorn, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Fashion model Behati Prinsloo has plopped down on this particular couch in this particular atelier in downtown Los Angeles on this particular mid-December evening to talk about her new creative collaboration with L.A.-based denim label THVM. Thanks to a rapidly rising professional profile - not to mention her engagement to Maroon 5 frontman and "The Voice" coach Adam Levine - she's doing more than introducing around a dozen pieces of apparel to the world. She's been introducing herself too. Not that Behati (pronounced Bee-OTT-ee)
NEWS
December 17, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
I'm a huge NASA fan. Huge. In the past, the space agency has never failed to bowl me over. Curiosity. Wow. Hubble. Incredible. Space station. 925,000 pounds of awesome. High-tech can-crushing tests? Meh.  My problem with this worthy endeavor -- which will help in the construction of lighter, more affordable rockets --  is in the "crush. " A massive empty rocket fuel tank was set up in a cavernous space at Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville, Ala., for the Shell Buckling Knockdown Factor Project.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 15, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun
Air quality regulators say that an urban oil field blamed for chronic respiratory illnesses and nosebleeds in a South Los Angeles neighborhood is modifying its operations to prevent leaks and upgrade air pollution controls. Allenco Energy Co., which voluntarily suspended operations Nov. 22 at the request of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), plans to inspect and repair tanks, remove an open-air drain and sump from service, and upgrade air pollution control systems, South Coast Air Quality Management District officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 26, 2013 | By Ralph Vartabedian
Phillips 66, which operates refineries across California, is moving forward with a plan to build a rail terminal in San Luis Obispo County that would send trains with up to 80 tank cars of crude oil through Southern California and the Bay Area. In a draft environmental impact statement filed this week, Phillips said it wants to build five sets of parallel tracks that would accommodate trains as often as 250 times per year at its Santa Maria Refinery. The project is the latest effort by the refinery industry to increase crude imports to California from oil fields in North Dakota, Colorado and Texas.
NATIONAL
November 14, 2013 | By Ralph Vartabedian
After a series of fiery crashes involving trains hauling crude oil, the railroad industry called on the federal government Thursday to significantly strengthen safety standards for new tank cars and require retrofitting of the nation's huge fleet of existing tankers. Tank car safety has taken on greater urgency as the oil industry turns to rail to ship the massive increases in oil production that are occurring in shale fields not served by major pipelines, including North Dakota, Colorado and south Texas.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 14, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
Firefighters on the 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights were pouring tens of thousands of gallons of water on big-rig tanks filled with compressed hydrogen. The cab of the rig burst into flames shortly before 3 p.m., leading officials to shut down all lanes in both directions of the busy freeway. The resulting traffic nightmare continued into the evening. Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Anthony Akins said that to keep the tanks cool, firefighters were blasting them with large hoses and nozzles that spray 2,000 gallons of water a minute.
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