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Chrysler, EPA join forces on hybrid minivan engine

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Chrysler and the Environmental Protection Agency are trying to adapt an engine technology invented by the EPA to improve gas mileage in minivans.

The company and the government agency said Wednesday they're working to fit the EPA's hydraulic hybrid system into Chrysler minivans. If it works, the system could boost minivan mileage 35 percent to around 27 miles per gallon. Currently the top Chrysler minivan gets 20 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

The system uses energy from the vehicles conventional engines and brakes to pump fluid into a tank under high pressure. The fluid is released and runs hydraulic motors that power the vehicle, and the conventional engine is turned on only when needed to pressurize the tank.

"The technology has been very successful for stop-and-go type driving in large trucks," said David Haugen, manager of technology development at the EPA lab.

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Action on noise rules halted

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is scrapping plans to change workplace noise standards after business groups and lawmakers complained about the costs.

The announcement Wednesday from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration comes a day after President Obama told agencies to go after rules that place an unreasonable burden on businesses.

Agency head David Michaels said excessive noise experienced by employees working around heavy machinery is a serious health concern. But he said the problem requires more public outreach than the agency expected, given the costs of better worker protection.

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Healthy quarter for eBay

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- EBay Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter revenue rose, as the healthy holiday shopping season bolstered growth in its PayPal online payments business and online marketplace.

The company's profit fell, since the year-ago quarter included a large gain from the sale of Internet communications business Skype. Excluding special items such as the Skype gain, eBay's fourth-quarter profit shot up 24 percent.

For the quarter that ended Dec. 31, the online marketplace operator's revenue rose 5 percent from the year-ago quarter to $2.50 billion.

The company earned $559.2 million, or 42 cents per share, compared with $1.35 billion, or $1.02 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

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Calumet Building sold

The Calumet Building on Chippewa Street in Buffalo was purchased for more than $700,000 by a group of businesses leading a $2 million revamp of the site.

Renovations could begin next month and be completed some time in the fall. The site will house a law firm, Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak, and possibly a store, office or restaurant. Current tenant Bacchus will remain.

The building was bought by 52 Chippewa, a group made up of the law firm's senior partners, Frank Parisi of Soho Bar, and homebuilder Natale Building Corp.

The law firm will relocate from its headquarters in the Rand Building.

Last year, developer and former Calumet owner Mark Goldman closed night spots La Luna and Third Room at the location. 52 Chippewa purchased the building near the beginning of January.

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DuPont plans to hire 27

NIAGARA FALLS -- DuPont will add 27 jobs at its Buffalo Avenue chemical plant, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Twenty-five of the hires will be hourly employees, and two will be exempt, spokesman Richard A. Straitman said.

"There had been a fair amount of attrition, because we have an aging work force," Straitman said. "We're refreshing our work force."

The hiring is expected to be completed in March.

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