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In brief: Federal government pushes air bag maker, car companies

From wire reports

DETROIT – The U.S. government’s auto safety agency, responding to criticism of its slow response to safety issues, told the manufacturer of millions of potentially faulty air bags to make replacement parts faster and do more testing to find the cause of the problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent letters Wednesday to Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. and 10 automakers seeking information in a widening air bag recall that now covers almost 8 million U.S. vehicles.

The vehicles are equipped with Takata air bags that can potentially inflate with too much force, blowing apart metal canisters and sending shards flying at drivers and passengers.

The letters sent to automakers urge them to speed up owner notification and replacement part distribution.

Microsoft lays off 3,000 more workers

SEATTLE – Microsoft on Wednesday notified 3,000 more workers that they’re being laid off.

This means that virtually all of the planned 18,000 job eliminations the company announced in July are now completed.

Wednesday’s layoffs cut across different groups and geographic areas, but most of them were in finance, human resources, marketing and other support functions. Some of the cuts were in MSN.

A large number of the 18,000 cuts are related to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone business, which brought in some 25,000 Nokia workers to Microsoft.

UPS expects record holiday deliveries

ATLANTA – UPS expects to deliver more than 34 million packages on the busiest day of the holiday season, double the amount on a normal day.

The company expects the peak delivery day to be Monday, Dec. 22. Six days are expected to top last year’s single-day record of 31 million packages.

United Parcel Service Inc. said Wednesday that it will handle 585 million packages worldwide in December, which would equal the 11 percent increase that the company predicted last week.

Amazon covers Europe with hubs in Poland

WARSAW, Poland – Ahead of Christmas, popular U.S. online retailer Amazon has opened three logistics centers in western Poland, completing a network that covers the European market.

A center employing some 2,500 workers opened on Wednesday in Sady, near Poznan. Two others, jointly employing some 2,500 people, were opened Tuesday near Wroclaw. They are Amazon’s only centers in Central and Eastern Europe.

To ensure smooth operation through the Christmas shopping season, they will be temporarily reinforced with another 5,000 workers.

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