Nation & World Briefs 04-18-14 Texas judge won't order recalled GM cars to be parked

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DETROIT -- A Texas federal judge has denied an emergency motion that would have forced General Motors to tell owners of more than 2 million recalled cars to stop driving them until the ignition switches are replaced.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued her order Thursday in Corpus Christi. Attorney Robert Hilliard, who represents some owners, had argued that the GM cars could lose power at any moment and expose their occupants to serious injury or death.

The plaintiffs in the case, Charles and Grace Silvas, own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, which began experiencing sudden power loss beginning in 2010. They claimed that the problem occurred even after the ignition switch was replaced.

Ramos ruled that courts have deferred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's auto safety watchdog, in cases like this. The agency, she wrote, is proceeding with the GM recall. The Silvases have the right to petition NHTSA for a "park it now" alert, but have not done so.

She also wrote that the Silvases request should be granted only if necessary to preserve their rights before trial, and she was not convinced of that in this case.

So far GM has recalled 2.6 million older-model small cars worldwide because the ignition switches can unexpectedly slip out of the "run" position, shutting off the engine. If that happens, it knocks out power-assisted steering and brakes and disables the air bags. GM has said at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem. It also has admitted knowing about the danger for more than a decade, but only began recalling the cars this February.

Charged with attempted murder: Three New Jersey teens frantically used their cellphones to call for help from a sinking van after their troubled mother drove them into a river, their father said Thursday. Ultimately, a passer-by helped all four escape from the cold Delaware River in Florence Township, N.J., after one sibling kicked out a window. "They did all the right things," said the father, Jeffrey Smith. "I just thank God that they got out safely." Police said Joann Smith, of Florence, tried to drown the three children, ages 13 to 15. She was charged with attempted murder and child endangerment and was being held on $600,000 bail.

Utah police enlist FBI help: Utah authorities are enlisting the help of the FBI to analyze DNA from seven babies found dead in the garage of a woman who has been arrested on six counts of murder. None of the labs in Utah can analyze the type of DNA that has been taken from the tiny corpses, which were found in various stages of decomposition, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts said Thursday. Authorities are hoping DNA will reveal who the parents are and the sex of the babies. It's unknown when results will be back, but they aren't expected anytime soon, Roberts said.

Wallenda scouts Chicago sites: Daredevil Nik Wallenda is in Chicago scouting possible locations for a tightrope walk between two Windy City skyscrapers in the fall. The high-wire walker told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday (http://bit.ly/1ja4Z7J ) that he first would check out Willis Tower, which was formerly known as the Sears Tower and was the nation's tallest building. Wallenda said he hasn't ruled out Willis Tower, but that it would be problematic because there isn't a nearby building tall enough to connect his rig to. He says, though, that he shouldn't have trouble selecting a site.

Chelsea Clinton expecting first child: For the Clintons, 2014 is the year of the baby. Chelsea Clinton, the 34-year-old daughter of former President Bill Clinton and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, announced Thursday that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child this fall. There has been wide speculation about a future baby in the Clinton family. Chelsea Clinton said in an interview with Glamour magazine last year that she and her husband were hoping to start a family soon, calling 2014 "the year of the baby."

Deal reached to calm Ukraine: In a surprise accord, Ukraine and Russia agreed Thursday on tentative steps to halt violence and calm tensions along their shared border after more than a month of Cold War-style military posturing triggered by Moscow's annexation of Crimea. Russia's pledge to refrain from further provocative actions drew support but also a measure of skepticism from President Barack Obama, who said at a news conference at the White House that the United States and its allies were prepared to ratchet up sanctions if Moscow doesn't fulfill its commitments. "I don't think we can be sure of anything at this point," Obama said after Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and diplomats from Ukraine and Europe sealed their agreement after hours of talks in Geneva.

Colombian Nobel laureate dies: Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted intoxicating fiction from the fatalism, fantasy, cruelty and heroics of the world that set his mind churning as a child growing up on Colombia's Caribbean coast. One of the most revered and influential writers of his generation, he brought Latin America's charm and maddening contradictions to life in the minds of millions and became the best-known practitioner of "magical realism," a blending of fantastic elements into portrayals of daily life that made the extraordinary seem almost routine.In his works, clouds of yellow butterflies precede a forbidden lover's arrival. A heroic liberator of nations dies alone, destitute and far from home.

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