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Toyota settles death lawsuit

TOYOTA says it has settled what was to be the first of hundreds of wrongful death lawsuits involving sudden, unintended acceleration by its vehicles.

The company reached an agreement in the case brought by the family of Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd who were killed when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall in Utah in 2010.

Last month, Toyota agreed to a settlement worth more than $1bn to resolve hundreds of lawsuits.

US aids Mexico with drug war

THE Pentagon is stepping up aid for Mexico's bloody drug war with a new US-based headquarters.

Mexican security forces will be taught how to hunt drug cartels in the same way special operations teams hunt al-Qa'ida.

Such assistance could help newly elected Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto establish a military force to focus on drug criminal networks that have terrorised Mexico's northern states and threatened the US Southwest border.

FBI in spotlight at terrorist trial

Inadvertent recordings of undercover FBI agents celebrating during debriefings took centre stage in a terrorism suspect's trial.

A federal judge didn't allow the airing of the audio, some of which was made after the agents wondered aloud if they were being recorded.

An undercover agent identified as "Hussein" posed as a radical Islamic jihadi during the FBI investigation into Mohamed Mohamud of suburban Portland.

Mohamud has been charged with attempting to blow up Portland's 2010 Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

Art exhibit for ailing Chavez

A GROUP of Venezuelan artists has contributed paintings of President Hugo Chavez for a new government-organised exhibit dedicated to the ailing leader.

It includes portraits of Chavez with his daughters and his mother, as well as a painting of a saluting Chavez superimposed on a map of South America.

The exhibit is titled, Chavez Lives and Will Prevail.