- - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NHTSA

Probe opened into Toyota hybrid SUVs

The government has opened a preliminary investigation into reports of stalling engines in more than 43,000 Toyota Highlander hybrids.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website it had received 32 complaints alleging stalling engines in Highlander hybrids from the 2006 model year. The probe involves 43,491 hybrids and was opened last week.

There have been no crashes or injuries reported. Defect investigations can sometimes lead to vehicle recalls.

The investigation involves reports of Highlanders stalling at speeds of 40 miles per hour or more. Some drivers reported the vehicle could not be restarted or was towed to the dealership. Nearly all of the reports were received within the past year.

PRESIDENCY

Huntsman has campaign-in-waiting

U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman’s chances of running for the Republican presidential nomination appeared to increase Tuesday when his campaign-in-waiting launched a fundraising effort.

Mr. Huntsman, a former governor of Utah, is to leave Beijing at the end of April and decide whether he will seek the Republican presidential nomination for the right to battle President Obama in 2012.

A political action committee called Horizon PAC, which is officially unconnected to Mr. Huntsman but is essentially his campaign-in-waiting, launched a website seeking donations. The group has hired several veteran political operatives led by John Weaver, who was a key adviser to Republican John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign.

INDIANA

More Democrats flee to block labor bill

INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana House Democrats took a page from the playbook of their counterparts in Wisconsin on Tuesday, refusing to show up and stalling action on a Republican-backed labor bill.

Most stayed away from the Statehouse completely, and a couple skipped town to neighboring Illinois. Only three of 40 House Democrats were in the chamber when Republican Speaker Brian Bosma tried repeatedly to convene it, leaving the chamber short of the two-thirds needed for a quorum.

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