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Briefs

Eased rules for altered seeds eyed

The federal government on Friday proposed eliminating restrictions on the use of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to resist a common weed killer, a move welcomed by many farmers but feared by scientists and environmentalists who worry it could invite growers to use more chemicals.

The herbicide known as 2,4-D has had limited use in corn and soybean farming because it becomes toxic to the plants early in their growth. The new seeds would allow farmers to use the weed killer throughout the plants’ lives.

Farmers have been eager for a new generation of herbicide-resistant seeds because of the prevalence of weeds that have become immune to Monsanto’s Roundup.

But skeptics are concerned that use of the new seeds and 2,4-D will only lead to similar problems as weeds acquire resistance to that chemical too.

Whitley manufacturer to add 20 positions

A modular building manufacturer hoping to fill 20 skilled labor positions has scheduled a job fair for Tuesday, officials announced Friday.

Whitley Manufacturing Co. of South Whitley is adding a production line, an official in human resources said. She declined to provide additional information.

The company is offering $12 to $15 an hour for electricians, plumbers, welders, carpenters and steel fabricators with two to five years’ experience.

Higher wages will be considered for those with more experience.

The job fair will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at WorkOne Northeast, 480 W. Plaza Drive, Columbia City. Applicants should bring a résumé and prepare to be interviewed by wearing appropriate clothing.

Whitley Manufacturing makes custom commercial modular buildings and temporary portable buildings for various nationwide markets including education, health care and commercial.

Bernanke predicts 2014 a stronger year

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday predicted a stronger year for the U.S. economy in 2014, saying several factors that have held back growth appear to be abating.

Americans’ finances have improved and the outlook for home sales is brighter, Bernanke said. He also expects less drag from federal spending cuts and tax increases.

The combination “bodes well for U.S. economic growth in coming quarters,” Bernanke said during a speech to the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia.

Bernanke made a similar assessment of the economy at a Dec. 18 news conference after the Fed’s last meeting. Friday’s appearance was expected to be one of Bernanke’s final speeches as Fed chairman.

Child car seat company issues recall for safety

Combi USA is recalling more than 33,000 child car seats made before January 2013 because the harnesses aren’t strong enough to meet federal safety standards.

If there’s a crash, children may not be properly secured.

The Charlotte, N.C., company is recalling the Coccoro, Zeus Turn and Zeus 360.

A company spokeswoman says the seats are still safe to use because the harness as a whole meets safety standards. Combi will notify registered owners and send out free harness replacement kits starting in February.

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