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Business News: Motorcycle Helmets Recalled; French Court Overturns 'Excessive' Tax

By: AP
By: AP

Vega Helmet Corp. is recalling more than 30,000 XTS motorcycle helmets after testing found that a few did not meet crash protection safety standards.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said people using the helmets may not be adequately protected in a crash. The recall will start in late January and centers on large, extra-large and extra-extra-large (or XXL) helmets. The models in question were made between May 2011 and last October, according to a notice posted Saturday on the NHTSA's web site.
Vega, based in Tukwila, Wash., said it will replace the recalled helmets.
The NHTSA told Vega that four extra-large helmets didn't meet safety standards when tested earlier this year. The company investigated and found that the helmets fell out of compliance partially due to changes in the model's shell design. Vega told regulators that the helmet's design would be reconfigured immediately.
Vega doesn't know how many of the helmets in the recalled population failed to meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard so the company is recalling all of them, according to a letter from an attorney representing the company to an NHTSA official.

BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese state media say a Chinese company is finalizing the acquisition of an Australian mining firm that controls a major iron ore mine in west Africa, a move that would give China a stronger role in setting global iron ore prices.
The official Xinhua News Agency, citing officials from Hanlong Group, says Hanlong will complete the acquisition of Sundance Resources Ltd. for 45 Australian cents (50 cents) per share by March 1. Sundance controls the Mbalam iron ore mine, which straddles Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.
Xinhua said Saturday that Hanlong is investing $5 billion to develop the Mbalam project -- most likely in partnership with Chinese state-owned companies -- and build a 550-kilometer (340-mile) railway and a shipping port.
China is eager to acquire overseas resources to feed its growth.

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- President Evo Morales has nationalized electricity distribution subsidiaries of the Spanish energy company Iberdrola.
Morales issued a decree Saturday allowing the takeover of shares in Empresa de Electricidad de La Paz (Electropaz) and Empresa de Luz y Fuerza de Oruro (Elfeo), which supply energy in the Andean nation.
In a public act at the government palace, Morales also announced the expropriation of an investment management company and a service provider belonging to the Spanish energy giant.
Morales said he had "been forced to take this step" to ensure that electric service rates remained "equitable" in the regions of La Paz and Oruro. Soldiers guarded the installations of the electricity distribution companies, marked with signs reading: "Nationalized."
Telephone calls and emails seeking comment from Iberdrola in Spain were not immediately answered.

PARIS (AP) -- A French constitutional panel has thrown out a plan to tax the ultrawealthy at a 75 percent rate, saying it was excessive.
The constitutional council ruled Saturday that the highly contentious tax, which President Francois Hollande promised to impose while campaigning, was unfair. It was intended to hit those with incomes over (euro) 1 million ($1.32 million).
The French government approved the tax in its most recent budget, but even before many said it would do little to stem the country's mounting fiscal problems and would drive away the wealthiest citizens. Hollande's popularity, meanwhile, has been tanking as the country's unemployment continued its rise for the 19th straight month.
In recent weeks, Gerard Depardieu -- France's most famous actor -- moved to Belgium to avoid his home country's high taxes.


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