Business

787 lithium battery shows signs of ‘thermal runaway’

TOKYO – An investigation into a lithium ion battery that overheated on a Boeing 787 flight in Japan last month found evidence of the same type of “thermal runaway” seen in a similar incident in Boston, officials said Tuesday.

The Japan Transportation Safety Board said CAT scans and other analysis found damage to all eight cells in the battery that overheated on the All Nippon Airways 787 on Jan. 16, which prompted an emergency landing and probes by both U.S. and Japanese aviation safety regulators.

They also found signs of short-circuiting and “thermal runaway,” a chemical reaction in which rising temperature causes progressively hotter temperatures. U.S. investigators found similar evidence in the battery that caught fire last month on a Japan Airlines 787 parked in Boston.

Growth of service firms slows

WASHINGTON – Growth at U.S. service companies slowed slightly in January behind weaker new orders and business activity. But hiring improved, a bright sign for the economy.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity dipped to 55.2 in January. That’s down from 55.7 in December, which was the highest level in nearly a year. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The modest decline from December’s strong reading suggests the industry was not greatly hampered by an increase in Social Security taxes that reduced take-home pay for most Americans.

Credit card fraud alleged

NEWARK, N.J. – Eighteen people have been charged in what may be one of the nation’s largest credit card fraud rings, a sprawling international scam that duped credit-rating agencies and used thousands of fake identities to steal at least $200 million, federal authorities said Tuesday.

The elaborate scheme involved improving fake cardholders’ credit scores, allowing the scammers to borrow more money that they never repaid, investigators said.

Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney in Newark, described an intricate Jersey City-based con that began in 2007, operated in at least 28 states and wired money to various countries.

Kellogg’s beats expectations

NEW YORK – A boost from Pringles and strong international results helped Kellogg’s fourth-quarter earnings surpass expectations.

Kellogg’s, known for breakfast food such as Froot Loops, Eggo waffles and Pop Tarts, has been seeking to improve its results by investing in its supply chain after several product recalls and by expanding its salty snacks business.

It acquired Pringles from Procter & Gamble in February 2012. The brand provided a boost in the fourth quarter, with Pringles revenue up 5 percent in the U.S. and 1 percent in Europe.

Toyota on a comeback roll

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. raised its fiscal year profit forecast Tuesday to triple what it eked out for the disaster-struck previous year, as the world’s top automaker continued on a comeback roll as sales surged, especially in the U.S.

Toyota’s October-December profit jumped 23 percent to $1.09 billion, compared to the same period the previous year. Quarterly sales edged up 9 percent to $58 billion.

Underlining its solid recovery, Toyota is now expecting fiscal year profit of $9.3 billion. It had initially expected a $8.5 billion profit.



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