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17:34 ET FORD: FIRESTONE PLANT HAD QUALITY PROBLEMS


DETROIT, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Tires made at the Firestone plant in Decatur, Ill., during the mid-1990s had numerous quality control problems, according to data released by Ford Motor Co. Monday.

The central Illinois plant manufactured many of the 6.5 million light truck and sport utility vehicle tires recalled last Wednesday by Bridgestone/Firestone. A Ford spokesman said an analysis of Firestone documents shows the tire maker received a disproportionate number of complaints of injury and property damage involving ATX and Wilderness AT tires made at the Decatur plant but that the company did not notify Ford.

Bridgestone/Firestone recalled millions of P235/75R15 size ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration began investigating more than 300 tread separation failures in accidents linked to 46 deaths and 80 injuries.

Ford said tires made at the Decatur plant from 1994 through 1996 were "over-represented" in complaints and accident claims. For 10 months during that period, striking United Rubber Workers were replaced by managers and temporary employees who made ATX and Wilderness tires.

About two-thirds of the recalled tires were original equipment on Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs and small Ranger pickups. Ford bowed to pressure from consumers Friday and agreed to allow recalled tires to be with other brands.

The Washington Post Monday reported six former Firestone employees said quality control was virtually nonexistent during the labor strife in Decatur and that plant workers manually punctured bubbles in the rubber of flawed tires that should have been scrapped.

"If you get behind on the lines, some of the tires pass without being inspected," said Joe Roundtree, a retired employee who worked at the plant from 1965 to 1996.

Bridgestone/Firestone said the charges came from disgruntled former employees who left during the walkout and defended the quality of tires produced at its Illinois plant.

Attorneys for Public Citizen and Safetyforum.com, two safety groups, and plaintiffs suing Bridgestone/Firestone called for the Japanese-owned company to expand its recall to include 16-inch ATX, ATX II and Wilderness brand tires. Firestone voluntarily replaced 16-inch SUV tires in South America and Saudi Arabia.

The city of Chicago sent a letters to NHTSA, the Nashville-based tire maker and the National Transportation Safety Board questioning Firestone's decision to replace tires in hot-weather western, southwestern and southern states up to 18 months before the Midwest.

"A delay of more than one year in recalling potentially hazardous tires cannot be justified," wrote Caroline Shoenberger, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Services. "The Firestone Corporation should take whatever measurers necessary to immediately recall and replace these potentially dangerous and defective tires, not only in Illinois, but in all 50 states."









(c) 2000 UPI All rights reserved.


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Copyright 2000 by United Press International.





17:34 ET GO-KARTS, EYE AND EAR DROPS RECALLED
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission Monday announced the recall of 91,000 go-karts and the Food and Drug Administration warned Rich's MSM Eye & Ear Drops may be contaminated with yeast and a bacteria that can cause sight-threatening injuries. Full Story

17:34 ET AMD UNDERCUTS INTEL WITH LATEST CHIP PRICES
Aug 14, 2000 (Tech Web - CMP via COMTEX) -- Advanced Micro Devices Inc. finally agreed to reduce the price of its 1-GHz Athlon microprocessors, introducing its 1.1-GHz Athlon in the process. Full Story

17:34 ET NEWS CORP. TO ACQUIRE CHRIS-CRAFT
New York, Aug 14, 2000 (123Jump via COMTEX) -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NYSE:NWS), owner of the Fox Television Network, announced Monday that it will acquire Chris-Craft (NYSE:CCN) and subsidiaries for about $5.35 billion, about $2.13 billion in cash and approximately 73 million American depositary receipts Full Story

17:34 ET WRAP: BROADCOM TO BUY NEWPORT COMMUNICATIONS FOR $1.24 BILLION
By BridgeNews New York--Aug. 14--Broadcom Corporation, the provider of integrated circuits enabling high speed broadband communications, said Monday it has agreed to buy optical communications chip maker NewPort Communications Inc. in a stock deal worth $1.24 billion, extending Broadcom's reach in the Full Story

14:49 ET SITHE TO SELL 49.9% OF NORTH AMERICAN ASSETS TO PECO ENERGY
NEW YORK, Aug 14, 2000 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Sithe Energies, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with PECO Energy Company (NYSE: PE) under which PECO will acquire 49.9% of Sithe North America. Upon completion of the agreement, the remaining 50.1% of Sithe North America Full Story

14:49 ET EU APPROVES FRANCE TELECOM'S ACQUISITION OF BRITAIN'S ORANGE
BRUSSELS (Aug. 14) XINHUA - The European Union (EU) said Monday that it has granted regulatory clearance to France Telecom's acquisition of the sole control over the British mobile phone operator Orange. Full Story





 
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