Government Says Toyota Electronic System Not Faulty, Chechen Leader Takes Credit for Airport Bombing
Updated 2 p.m. ET
The government’s report says there were no electronic problems that would have caused sudden acceleration in Toyotas, and that any mechanical defects were resolved by recalls. Toyota recalled more than 12 million vehicles after the problems were first reported and installed brake override systems.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said NASA engineers worked with the investigation to test whether or not the electronic system was faulty.
Originally posted 10 a.m. ET
The results of a government investigation into whether or not certain models of Toyotas accelerated on their own is expected Tuesday afternoon. The study stems from complaints in 2009 of accelerator pedals sticking and causing cars to speed out of control. Toyota recalled almost 8 million vehicles to address the problem, widely blamed on faulty pedals and the design of floor mats that trapped the accelerator. Computer systems in newer models were also considered in the study.
The 10-month investigation, ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, looked into whether electronic systems were responsible. In preliminary findings in August, investigators said they believed the problem had been fixed.
In its entirety, however, the report is not expected to produce a definitive or single reason for the complaints. Toyota still faces myriad lawsuits, and already paid $48.8 million in fines.
Chechen Leader Claims Responsibility for Moscow Bombing
Chechen warlord Doku Umarov claimed in a video that he ordered the attack on Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in January. Thirty-six people died in the attack, carried out by a suicide bomber believed to be a 20-year-old man from the North Caucasus.
Umarov, leader of the so-called “Caucasus Emirate,” also claimed responsibility for the Moscow subway bombing in March of last year that killed 39 people. He vowed further attacks if Russia does not “leave the Caucasus.”
North and South Korea Meet at DMZ for Talks
Military officials from North and South Korea met at the border area of Panmunjom for talks, the first direct meeting since the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November. The attack, following on the heels of the attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan, had escalated tensions on the Korean peninsula and raised fears of further military clashes.
North Korea has expressed an intention to return to the six-party denuclearization talks, but South Korea has said they must first take responsibility for the attacks. The request for talks came after weeks of threatening war.
The meetings took place between two colonels and without outside journalists allowed. Meetings are scheduled to resume on Wednesday.
Assange Continues Fight Against Extradition to Sweden
Attorneys for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continued their arguments to prevent him from being extradited from London to Sweden, where he is wanted in connection with charges of sexual assault, saying that could lead to him being sent to the United States. Tuesday was the second and final day of Assange’s hearing.
There is speculation that if sent to the United States, Assange could be detained in connection with the release of classified State Department cables.
The charges, brought after two women brought accusations against him, stem from an August visit to Stockholm. The verdict is not expected for several days, if not longer.