Toyota will pay up to $3.4 billion to settle a class action lawsuit brought by US pickup and sport utility vehicle owners whose vehicles lacked adequate rust protection. Court filings show that the settlement reached Oct. 31 covers 1.5 million vehicles, dealing a financial blow to the Japanese automaker whose trucks were subject to corrosion that could harm their structural integrity. The settlement applies to Tacoma trucks made from 2005 to 2010, Sequoias from 2005 to 2008, and Tundras from 2007 to 2008. The settlement estimates the value of replacing the frame at roughly $15,000 per vehicle. Under the settlement, Toyota will inspect vehicles for 12 years from their initial sales or lease date to decide if the owner is eligible for a replaced frame or reimbursement. — ASSOCIATED PRESS
Arthritis pain drug found
to be safe
for the heart
A new study may reassure millions of arthritis sufferers seeking pain relief without bad side effects. It finds that Celebrex, a drug similar to ones withdrawn 12 years ago for safety reasons, is no riskier for the heart than some other painkillers that are tough on the stomach. The government required Pfizer, Celebrex’s maker, to do the safety study after the popular arthritis drug Vioxx was withdrawn. The study tested Celebrex against prescription-strength ibuprofen or naproxen in 24,000 people with heart disease or a high risk for it. The drugs proved similar on heart risks and Celebrex caused fewer stomach problems. Results were discussed Sunday at an American Heart Association conference and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS
Chinese ship opens new route via Pakistani port
Pakistan’s top civil and military leaders opened a new international trade route Sunday by seeing off a Chinese ship that will export goods to the Middle East and Africa from the newly built Gwadar port in insurgency-wracked Baluchistan province. The first convoy of Chinese trucks carrying goods for sale abroad arrived in Pakistan a day earlier through newly constructed roads that link China’s northwestern Xinjiang region with southwest Pakistan. China is building a network of roads and power plants under a project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC, which is expected to absorb $46 billion in Chinese investment in the coming decades. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the country’s powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif traveled to Gwadar to see off the Chinese ship. The prime minister said the Chinese-funded multibillion-dollar project will play a significant role in improving Pakistan’s economy and raising the national standard of living. — ASSOCIATED PRESS