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Briefs

Bad brakes spur recall for Cruze, its eighth

General Motors Co. is recalling nearly 293,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars in the U.S. because the power-assisted brakes can fail.

The recall affects Cruzes made in Lordstown, Ohio, from the 2011 and 2012 model years that are equipped with 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engines and 6T-40 six-speed automatic transmissions, the company said Friday.

It’s the eighth recall of the car since it was introduced in September of 2010, according to records compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Auto safety advocates say that’s an unusually high number of recalls.

GM, which has a truck assembly plant in Allen County, said that in the most recent recall, the power brake boosters can fail, and in rare cases, drivers may have to put extra pressure on the pedal to stop the cars.

The company said that Cruze brake problems have caused 27 low-speed crashes but no injuries.

Worker productivity up modestly in quarter

U.S. worker productivity accelerated to a still-modest 0.9 percent annual pace between April and June after dropping the previous quarter.

The second-quarter gain beat economists’ expectations and reversed a decline in the January-March quarter, when the Labor Department’s revised numbers show productivity shrank at a 1.7 percent annual pace.

Labor costs rose at a 1.4 percent annual pace from April through June, reversing a revised 4.2 percent drop the previous quarter.

Productivity measures output per hour of work. Weak productivity suggests that companies may have to hire because they can’t squeeze more work from their existing employees – that is, if demand for a company’s products is growing.

Judge wonít fast-track Icahnís Dell claim

A Delaware judge on Friday dealt a blow to activist investor Carl Icahn’s effort to stop CEO and founder Michael Dell’s $24.8 billion buyout offer for the struggling computer maker.

He refused to fast-track proceedings on Icahn’s claims that Dell Inc. directors have betrayed their duties to shareholders in trying to win support for Michael Dell’s bid.

After three delays, Dell’s board has scheduled a special shareholder vote on Sept. 12 for Michael Dell’s offer of $13.75 per share, plus a 13-cent dividend. That’s to be followed by an overdue annual meeting on Oct. 17.

Icahn is seeking to oust Michael Dell as CEO.

Merck suspends sales of cattle feed additive

Merck is suspending sales of its cattle feed additive Zilmax in the U.S. and Canada while it studies a possible link between Zilmax and lameness in cattle.

Merck and Co. said Friday that stopping sales will allow it to set up a study protocol and follow certain cattle to find out possible causes of lameness and other mobility problems. The company also plans to review other possible factors like nutrition and transportation of the cattle.

Zilmax is mixed into food and is used to bulk up cattle before they are slaughtered. It has been on the market in the U.S. since 2007 and is one of two supplements approved for that purpose.

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