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Toyota tells dealers to stop selling 6 models
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 13:45

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota has told North American dealers to stop selling six popular models with heated seats because the fabric doesn't meet flammability standards.

One soft material beneath the seat covers does not comply with U.S. safety standards, company spokesman John Hanson said.

No fires or injuries have been reported, but Toyota can't legally sell cars that don't comply with U.S. safety codes, Hanson said. The company is still totaling how many vehicles are affected, but it will be in the thousands, according to the spokesman.

The stop-sale order could mean trouble for Toyota and its dealers because it covers the company's top-selling vehicles. Dealers can no longer sell certain Camry, Avalon, Sienna and Tacoma models from the 2013 and 2014 model years, as well as Corollas and Tundras from 2014. The Camry, for instance, is the top-selling car in the U.S. with more than 408,000 sales last year.

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Where's my car? Storm clean up underway in Atlanta
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:39

ATLANTA (AP) — The snow and sleet had stopped falling and traffic was moving again around Atlanta following a crippling storm — but officials warned that ice-covered roads remained a threat for drivers Thursday morning.

State officials were concerned with sub-freezing overnight lows potentially leading to layers of black ice coating roads that might appear to be safe.

Temperatures dipped into the teens overnight in the Atlanta area.

Authorities were hoping above-freezing temperatures would melt some ice and snow from slick highways. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency's weather outlook for Thursday said temperatures were expected to rise above freezing between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. across the greater Atlanta area.

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In Senate, bipartisan support is key to farm bill
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 07:27

WASHINGTON (AP) — Support from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is expected to overcome liberal as well as conservative criticism of a massive five-year farm bill that spends nearly $100 billion a year on food stamps and crop subsidies.

"The Senate has twice passed the farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support," said Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. "I have no doubt we'll do it again."

After years of setbacks, the bill cleared its biggest hurdle Wednesday when the House approved the measure, 251-166. While 63 Republicans opposed the bill, 89 Democrats supported it, bolstered by cuts to the food stamp program that were lower than first sought.

Conservatives had sought to overhaul the food stamp program, which has ballooned to $80 billion a year. But they ultimately lost out as the Senate balked and the White House threatened to veto a House plan to cut 5 percent from the program.

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Feds grab $21.6M in counterfeits before Super Bowl
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:38

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities and the NFL say they have seized $21.6 million worth of fake Super Bowl jerseys, hats and other items in a counterfeit goods crackdown.

The seizure was announced Thursday at a Manhattan news conference.

Authorities say most of the knockoffs were manufactured overseas. They say once the makers learned the Broncos and Seahawks made the Super Bowl, they rushed to make the goods with the teams' logos. Then the goods were smuggled into the U.S. using overnight shipping.

Authorities say buyers only get about a 10 percent price break and wind up with poor quality fake goods. They also say the losses caused by the counterfeiting drive up the price of legitimate goods.


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W.Va. officials dispute formaldehyde claim
Written by JONATHAN MATTISE, Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 07:10

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — State officials and a water company strongly disputed a scientist's claim Wednesday that residents were likely breathing in traces of formaldehyde while showering after the chemical spill, saying the chemical that tainted the water supply only produces the carcinogen at extremely high temperatures.

The dispute between the scientist and the officials underscored the steady stream of sometimes conflicting information that weary West Virginians have had to digest over the past several weeks while seeking certainty that their water is safe.

The crude MCHM that spilled into the water supply on Jan. 9 ultimately can break down into formaldehyde, West Virginia Environmental Quality Board vice-chairman Scott Simonton told a state legislative panel Wednesday. Simonton, who is also an environmental scientist at Marshall University, said the formaldehyde showed up in three water samples at a downtown Charleston restaurant as part of testing funded by a law firm representing businesses that lost money during the spill.

State Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Tierney — the state's top health officer — called Simonton's presentation "totally unfounded."

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