AUTOS

GM to invest in U.S. plants

General Motors plans to spend $5.4 billion to improve its U.S. factories during the next three years, creating about 650 jobs.

The company gave details of $783.5 million of the investments Thursday and said the rest will be announced in coming months.

The investments come as Detroit automakers prepare for contract talks with the United Auto Workers union that will start this summer, and as many automakers including GM are announcing plans to build or expand factories in lower-cost Mexico. GM, like the others, is walking a line between moving more production south of the border and of keeping the union happy with additional investments in the U.S.

In March, the company said it would spend $350 million on its Ramos Arzipe, Mexico, assembly plant so it can build the compact Chevrolet Cruze, which also is made at GMís factory in Lordstown.

OIL?/?GAS

Anteroís production rises

Antero Resources Corp. reported increased production from Ohioís Utica Shale in the first quarter of this year despite low commodity prices that cut income.

Production grew by 17 percent from the previous quarter and by 89 percent from a year ago, the Denver-based company said Thursday in an earnings call with financial analysts and the media.

For details, see full story on Ohio.com.

Proposal targets old tank cars

U.S. senators from six states, including Sherrod Brown of Ohio, on Thursday proposed that the government charge companies a special fee to ship oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids in older railroad tank cars that have been involved in fiery explosions.

The proposal would be paired with tax breaks for new tank cars built to better withstand derailments.

The fee would start at $175 and increase to $1,400 per car by 2018. It would raise an estimated $600 million to train first responders, clean up spills and relocate rail tracks around populated areas.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Whisper hires president

The anonymous thought-sharing app Whisper has hired a president and signed its 10th advertiser as it tests how to turn the attention of its 10 million monthly users into revenue.

The Los Angeles startup had seemed on a torrid pace of growth, raising $36 million in venture capital a year ago on top of about $25 million in earlier fundraising.

People visit Whisper to post public messages that arenít attached to their name. Others can respond and search through messages by popularity, topic or location.

TECHNOLOGY

Apple, IBM partner in Japan

Apple, IBM and Japanese insurance and bank holding company Japan Post have formed a partnership to improve the lives of elderly people in Japan.

The companies say they hope other countries will follow suit as the worldís population ages. About a quarter of Japanís population, or more than 33 million people, is over 65, the companies said citing data from Japanís health ministry.

The three company CEOs announced the deal Thursday in New York, saying the program will provide iPads with apps designed to help seniors manage daily activities, such as tracking medications, and keep in touch with family members. IBM also will provide cloud services for handling information.

Compiled from staff and wire reports