Report Hits AutoNation for Selling Vehicles Under Recall Without Making Repairs

Called out over recalls: AutoNation, which describes itself as the country’s largest auto retailer, is selling used cars to unsuspecting drivers without first making recall repairs according to a new report by consumer groups. AutoNation sells used cars at 360 franchises across 16 states. The survey of 2,400 AutoNation listings by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation and the Frontier Group found that one out of every nine vehicles for sale was under an open safety recall. An AutoNation spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times that “the suggestion … that AutoNation is knowingly or deliberately seeking to mislead consumers is entirely unfounded.” Consumer groups previously accused competitor CarMax of also selling cars with safety defects and failing to disclose them to buyers.

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“Broken” system led to Boeing disasters: A government task force found that the Federal Aviation Administration depended heavily on Boeing to vouch for the safety of its 737 Max jet planes, and lacked the ability to analyze much of the information Boeing provided, The New York Times reports. The damning multiagency report, by the task force that included representatives of the FAA, NASA and international regulators, is the first official account of what went wrong in certifying the new planes, which suffered two crashes in five months that killed 346 people. Previous media reports, including by The Seattle Times, found that the FAA in recent years had increasingly delegated regulatory tasks to Boeing.  The task force report “confirms our very worst fears about a broken system,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), told The New York Times.   Hours after the  release of the task force report on Friday, Boeing’s board voted to strip CEO Dennis A. Muilenburg of his chairman title, though he remains chief executive. The Boeing 747 Max jets have been grounded for nearly eight months.

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Another white officer in Texas shoots a black person in their home: Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean is facing murder charges in the death of Atatiana Jefferson, 28, who was playing video games with her nephew when she was shot through an open bedroom window, The Dallas Morning News reports. Police were dispatched to the home early Saturday after a neighbor called the non-emergency line of the local precinct to report that Jefferson’s door was open. Body camera footage showed Dean saying “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” — but not identifying himself as a police officer— before firing a single shot. Jefferson is the sixth person killed by Fort Worth police since June. Retired Fort Worth police officer Larhonda Young told CBS News that she was relieved to see an officer face criminal charges in the police shooting death of yet another black person.  “As a black female, former police officer, I’m afraid when I get stopped,” she said. The murder charge came less than two weeks after the conviction of former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger for shooting Dallas resident Botham Jean in his apartment last year. Guyger, who said she entered the apartment believing it was hers and that Jean was an intruder, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    • Also: In New York City, four men were killed and three were injured in a shooting at an unlicensed gambling den on Saturday. In Chicago, a disgruntled construction worker opened fire at a condominium and killed five people. In Philadelphia, a drive-by shooter wounded six. In Baltimore, a toddler was hit in the stomach in a drive-by shooting and is expected to survive. And a New Hampshire wedding ended with the bride and a bishop getting shot before guests tackled the gunman.

 

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Fading away: Just as some local governments are cracking down on single-use foam containers, a new study says that the polystyrene used in making the containers may not be as harmful to the ocean as previously thought. According to the study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, polystyrene can degrade in decades when exposed to sunlight, which counts as good news because experts previously thought that it remained in the ocean forever. The researchers told The New York Times  that efforts to eliminate polystyrene waste are still beneficial. San Francisco led the charge with the passage of the nation’s first polystyrene ban several years ago, and Maine in May 2019 became the first state to institute a ban. This past July, New York City began enforcing its own polystyrene ban, with the city’s acting sanitation commissioner explaining that foam is problematic because it “cannot be recycled, plain and simple.”

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Governments encourage overfishing: Scientists at the University of British Columbia surveyed 152 countries and found that they have spent billions on harmful subsidies that encourage fishing that is illegal or contributes to overfishing. They cite the example of China, which they said had increased fishing subsidies by 105 percent over the past decade. China pledged last year to limit government subsidies.  Ending fishing subsidies is politically fraught. As one fisheries expert explained to National Geographic, once you give people a subsidy, “it’s very difficult to take it away.”

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The vape lobby: While mysterious vaping-related lung injuries have stricken about 1,300 people, killing at least 26, researchers have also linked e-cigarettes and other vaping products to over 2,000 explosions and burn injuries. The New York Times has weighed in with a review of government stumbles and half-steps, going back to 2009, that led to the epidemic of e-cigarette use among teens that threatens to produce a new generation of nicotine addicts. 

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California utilities under fire:  Critics have lambasted giant Pacific Gas and Electric for shutting off electricity for more than 700,000 customers to avert wildfires, saying that deliberate outages are not  a good substitute for actual equipment and safety upgrades. On top of cutting power to a wide swath of Northern California, PG&E failed to effectively communicate which customers would lose power and which ones would be spared, leading to chaos as roads, businesses, nursing homes and others went dark without warning, The New York Times reports. Meanwhile, in Southern California, two deaths have been reported in the Saddleridge fire, which broke out Thursday and has  burned about 8,000 acres in the northernmost part of Los Angeles. Power equipment may have ignited the fire, which started under a high voltage tower of Southern California Edison Co, according to NBC News.

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