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In brief: Toyota testing SUVs on rollover

Los Angeles – Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday that it had begun testing its entire lineup of SUVs after Consumer Reports magazine warned Lexus GX 460 owners that the vehicle could be prone to rolling over.

Engineers in Japan, where Toyota is based, will study all of its sport utility vehicles on test tracks there, the company said. In addition to Lexus SUVs, Toyota will be checking the stability-control system for models such as the 4Runner and the Highlander.

The automaker stopped selling and began testing the Lexus model just hours after the influential buyer’s guide placed the vehicle on its do-not-buy list.

Los Angeles Times

Officials ban iPad importation

Jerusalem – Israel has banned imports of Apple Inc.’s hottest new product, the iPad, citing concerns the powerful gadget’s wireless signals could disrupt other devices.

Customs officials said Thursday they have already confiscated about 10 of the lightweight tablet computers since Israel announced the new regulations this week. The ban prevents anyone – even tourists – from bringing iPads into Israel until officials certify that they comply with local transmitter standards.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission allows devices with Wi-Fi capability to broadcast at higher power levels than are allowed in Europe and Israel – meaning that the iPad’s stronger signal could throw off others’ wireless connections, said Nati Schubert, a senior deputy director for the Communications Ministry.

Associated Press

Mortgage rates dip slightly

McLean, Va. – Rates for long-term mortgages dropped this week but still remained above 5 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 5.07 percent this week, down from 5.21 percent a week earlier, a survey by the mortgage financier Freddie Mac said.

This week, the average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.40 percent, down from 4.52 percent last week.

Associated Press

China’s economy growing rapidly

Beijing – China’s economy continued its torrid growth in the first three months of the year, with gross domestic product expanding 11.9 percent compared with the like period a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday.

Analysts say the robust growth could spur the Chinese government to boost efforts to control inflation and cool an overheated real estate market. Measures such as interest rate hikes and a small appreciation of the currency could be in store.

Los Angeles Times