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CALIFORNIA: Toyota settles acceleration case

Toyota Motor Corp. has settled the first in a group of hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury lawsuits involving sudden, unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles, a company spokeswoman said Thursday in Los Angeles. Agreement was reached in a case brought by the family of Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd, spokeswoman Celeste Migliore said. They died when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall in Utah in 2010. Migliore would not disclose the financial terms. The remaining lawsuits are not affected by the settlement, she said. Last month, Toyota agreed to a settlement worth more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits claiming economic losses Toyota owners suffered when the Japanese automaker recalled millions of vehicles.


Judge: Disrobing not free speech

A federal judge considering San Francisco's public nudity ban rejected arguments Thursday that simply disrobing in public was protected political speech akin to flag burning. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen made his comments during a 90-minute hearing to consider the new law requiring the covering of "genitals, perineum, and anal region" that takes effect Feb. 1. A narrowly divided Board of Supervisors passed the law last month after residents and visitors to the Castro district complained about what they called unsightly and unsanitary nudity in a plaza in the gay neighborhood. Public nudity activists sued, seeking to invalidate the law, arguing the government-ordered cover-up violates their 1st Amendment rights to express their political views. Their supporters also complained the law contradicts the city's live-and-let-live reputation.


ILLINOIS: 14 years for Mumbai role

A Chicago businessman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber imposed the sentence on Tahawwur Rana, a Pakistan-born Canadian. Jurors in 2011 convicted Rana of providing support for the Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

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