9.17.14:  GM to add 750 workers to build small pickup trucks


DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is adding 750 workers to a Missouri factory in anticipation of high demand for two new small pickup trucks.


GM wants to add a third shift to its plant in Wentzville near St. Louis by the end of March. The factory now employs 2,600 people who make the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups as well as full-sized vans.


Alan Batey, GM’s North America president, says dealers already have ordered 30,000 pickups and 97,000 people have configured and built them on a GM website. Both are signs of strong demand.


GM is building the trucks and plans to start shipping them to dealers soon. Small pickups have declined in popularity, but Batey is confident people will buy the GM models for their hauling ability, gas mileage and price.

9.17.14:  Arizonans brace for soaking


PHOENIX (AP) — Tucson and Phoenix are getting ready for a major soaking as the remnants of Tropical Storm Odile  barrel toward Arizona. The forecast calls for Tucson to get slammed with up to 5 inches, while Phoenix is expecting lesser amounts. Residents around the state have been busy sandbagging their property.

9.17.14:  U.S. gets video warning


BEIRUT (AP) — The militant Islamic State group has released a video warning the United States that fighters await it in Iraq if President Barack Obama sends troops there, as he and his top general said may happen.


The 52-second video entitled “Flames of War” shows militants blowing up tanks, wounded U.S. soldiers and others about to killed. It then shows a clip of Obama saying that combat troops will not return to Iraq, ending with a text overlay that reads “fighting has just begun.”


The video’s timing, released Tuesday, suggests it was a response to Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that if the current Iraq strategy doesn’t prevail, he may recommend the use of ground troops.


9.16.14:  Lava enters vacant lots in Big Island subdivision


PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Lava is moving closer to homes in a rural subdivision on Hawaii’s Big Island. Officials say right now the lava is moving over a vacant lot in the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and that no homes are in imminent danger.


They say the lava from the Kilauea volcano is slowing and no evacuations have been ordered.


Meanwhile, workers are paving defunct roads that would be used as alternate routes if the lava reaches a major highway.


Officials say that could happen within weeks.

9.15.14:  Hundreds evacuate from 3 California wildfires


SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Two out-of-control wildfires in California are forcing hundreds of residents to flee from their homes.


One blaze near Bass Lake in Central California, prompted authorities to evacuate about 1,000 residents from 400 homes. Farther north, a wildfire about 60 miles east of Sacramento has forced the evacuation of 133 homes.


Meanwhile, a three-day-old wildfire in Southern California is 20 percent contained, but more than 200 homes remain evacuated near the Cleveland National Forest.


9.12.14:  Ford recalls hybrid SUVs to fix stalling problem


DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling about 74,000 older-model gas-electric hybrid SUVs in the U.S. and Canada to fix a stalling problem.


The recall covers Ford Escapes from the 2005 through 2008 model years and Mercury Mariners from 2006 through 2008.


The company says the coolant pump for the hybrid system could fail, causing electronics to overheat. That can shut down the engine, increasing the risk of a crash.


Ford says in documents filed with government safety regulators that it has no reports of crashes or injuries from the problem.


Ford is expected to start the recall on Oct. 27. Dealers will replace the coolant pump for free.

9.11.14:  Obama presents plan to destroy Islamic State militants


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says, “We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.”


Obama has outlined his plan to destroy the militant group Islamic State, with authorization for airstrikes over both Iraq and now Syria.


Obama is also sending nearly 500 more troops to Iraq to help Iraqi security forces.


Two Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee — John McCain and Lindsey Graham — are questioning Obama’s promise of no combat troops in Iraq and Syria when fighting the Islamic State group.

9.10.14:  Obama’s counterterror plans


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama addresses the nation tonight, outlining how he wants to combat militants in Syria and Iraq.


Obama will ask Congress to give him authority to arm moderate Syrian opposition forces fighting President Bashar Assad.


And administration officials say Obama could also plan for wide-ranging airstrikes in Iraq and possibly Syria.


The President will speak tonight at 9 p.m.

9.9.14:  Panel resuming hearings on nuclear waste disposal


KINCARDINE, Ontario (AP) — A Canadian panel is resuming public hearings on burying radioactive waste in the province of Ontario, less than a mile from Lake Huron.


The panel is considering an Ontario Power Generation plan to store low- and intermediate-level waste from nuclear power plants in rock chambers more than 2,000 feet below the earth’s surface. It conducted four weeks of hearings last year and will be back in action Tuesday.


The publicly owned power company insists it would be virtually impossible for the radiation to reach the lake, even after thousands of years. But critics in the U.S. and Canada disagree and are urging the Canadian government to reject the idea.


Some of the loudest opposition comes from Michigan. Democratic state Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor is among critics scheduled to testify.

9.9.14:  Complaint sparks probe of minivan stalling issue


DETROIT (AP) — A man’s complaint that his Chrysler minivan stalled unexpectedly after refueling has brought an inquiry from U.S. safety regulators.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will look into the problem that could affect 160,000 Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from 2007 and other model years.


The agency says it will study how often the problem happens and whether it occurs in other similarly equipped minivans. The inquiry will determine if a formal investigation should be started.


In his complaint, the man told the agency the van stalled on his wife while she was driving with children on a freeway. The man cited eight complaints of similar problems from other drivers. The agency doesn’t identify people who file complaints.