- - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid remained elevated for a second straight week because Superstorm Sandy forced many people to seek temporary benefits.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that first-time applications for benefits fell by 41,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 410,000. That offset only part of the previous week’s surge.

AUTOS

Toyota recalls trucks over spare tires

DETROIT — Toyota is recalling about 150,000 Tacoma midsize pickups because the spare tires can fall from beneath the trucks.

The recalled trucks from the 2001 to 2004 model years were sold or registered in 20 cold-weather states and Washington, D.C.

HELICOPTERS

Danes to buy $686M worth of U.S. choppers

COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s Defense Ministry says it will purchase nine Sikorsky Sea Hawk naval combat helicopters for $686 million.

Defense Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement Wednesday that the MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin will be delivered from 2016 to 2018. The company is a division of Lockheed Martin, which is based in Bethesda, Md.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook moves to end voting on privacy issues

NEW YORK — Facebook is proposing to end its practice of letting users vote on changes to its privacy policies. The company says it will continue to let users comment on proposed updates.

The world’s biggest social media company plans to announce Wednesday that its voting mechanism, which is triggered only if enough people comment on proposed changes, has become a system that emphasizes the quantity of responses over the quality of discussion.

EUROPE

Greek prime minister urges bailout deal

ATHENS — Greece reacted with dismay Wednesday to a failure by European finance ministers to agree to release up to $56 billion of rescue loans it vitally needs, with the prime minister warning that the stakes are higher than his debt-ridden country’s future.

After 12 hours of debate into the early hours of Wednesday, finance ministers from the 17 European Union countries that use the euro, together with the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, again failed to reach a deal on Greece’s financing.

TECHNOLOGY

Robot for nuke disaster work unveiled in Japan

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Toshiba Corp. unveiled a robot Wednesday that the company says can withstand high radiation and help in nuclear disasters. But it remains unclear what exactly the new machine will be capable of doing if and when it gets the go-ahead to enter Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The four-legged robot can climb over debris and venture into radiated areas off-limits to human workers. One significant innovation, Toshiba said, is that its wireless network can be controlled in high radiation, automatically seeking better transmission when reception becomes weak.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.