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BOEING

CEO says poor riveting caused hole in Southwest jet

The CEO of Boeing Co. said a "workmanship issue" and not poor design led to a hole ripping open in a plane that the company built for Southwest Airlines Co.

Jim McNerney said Wednesday that signs do not point to a problem affecting large numbers of the Boeing 737.

A Boeing 737 operated by Southwest developed a 5-foot rip in the roof while cruising 34,000 feet above Arizona on an April 1 flight.

Federal investigators found problems with riveting work performed when the plane was built 15 years ago. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report this week that holes drilled in the plane's skin were too big for the rivets and were not properly lined up.

Independent analysts said such problems would increase stress on the plane's aluminum skin panels, leading to metal fatigue.

TECHNOLOGY

Wait is over for Apple's white iPhone 4

CUPERTINO, Calif. | Apple said the long-delayed white iPhone 4 will go on sale Thursday in the United States, the United Kingdom and 26 other countries for $199 or $299, depending on the model.

Apple Inc. said Wednesday that the prices are for phones purchased with a two-year contract from AT&T Inc. or Verizon Wireless in the U.S.

The black iPhone 4 went on sale in June. Apple had hoped to make the white phones available in July, then in late 2010. But it has said that the gadget was more challenging to produce than expected. In October, Apple said the white phones would be available in the spring.

Separately, Apple says the iPad 2 will go on sale in Japan on Thursday and in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and eight more countries Friday.

QUALITY STANDARDS

CEO says J&J learned lessons after recalls

TRENTON, N.J. | Johnson & Johnson's CEO said Wednesday that he hopes most of the company's product recalls are behind it, but he can't promise that.

William Weldon, who has run the health care giant since 2002, said J&J has learned some lessons, invested heavily in improving quality and will work to regain consumer confidence.

"We're going to make sure ... people have confidence in the quality of the products" as recalled nonprescription drugs come back on the market, Mr. Weldon told the Associated Press. "We have very high standards now."

Since September 2009, the company has had about two dozen recalls of prescription and nonprescription medicines, replacement hips, contact lenses, and diabetes test strips. Among the recalls were tens of millions of bottles of children's and adult Tylenol and Motrin, plus Benadryl and Zyrtec for allergies, Rolaids for heartburn and Simply Sleep pills.

One of the consumer health products factories involved is still being upgraded a year after it was closed, and two others are under close scrutiny by federal regulators. Even Congress has been investigating J&J's handling of recalls.

Mr. Weldon will face shareholders at J&J's annual meeting Thursday in New Brunswick, where the 125-year old company has headquarters.

AMAZON.COM

New Kindle shipped earlier than expected

SAN FRANCISCO | Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday that it began shipping its newest Kindle e-reader - a lower-priced, ad-supported version called Kindle with Special Offers - ahead of schedule.

Amazon began shipping the device Wednesday, almost a week ahead of the original shipping date of May 3 that the online retailer set when it announced the new Kindle earlier this month.

The Kindle with Special Offers appears identical to the current Kindle. But, at $114, it's $25 cheaper than the lowest-priced Kindle, and it includes advertisements at the bottom of its home page and on its screen savers.

Amazon has steadily lowered the Kindle's price since it released the first version in 2007. It sold for $399.

This is the first time the device includes ads, which helps reduce its retail price.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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