AUTOMOTIVE
GM recalls more than 90,000 trucks, SUVs

General Motors is recalling 92,221 full-size trucks and SUVs for a defect in ignition lock systems that can cause safety problems in hot conditions.

Thursday’s recall covers certain 2011 to 2012 models and certain 2007 to 2014 models that were repaired with defective parts. The recall is for U.S., Canadian, Mexican and exported vehicles.

The affected models are Chevrolet Silverado light-duty and heavy-duty pickups; Avalanche, Tahoe and Suburban; GMC Sierra light-duty and heavy-duty pickups; Yukon and Yukon XL; and Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT.

GM said the ignition lock actuators may be too wide, making turning the key difficult when it’s hot inside the cab. No crashes or injuries have been reported.

Last year, GM recalled 2.6 million small cars for defective ignition switches, linked to at least 42 deaths and 58 injuries.

— Associated Press

PHARMACEUTICALS
Eli Lilly, Novartis complete acquisition

Just over a week after saying it would sell its heartworm treatment for dogs at the request of federal regulators, Eli Lilly announced that it has completed its $5.4 billion acquisition of the animal-health division belonging to Switzerland’s Novartis.

Before giving its nod to the deal, the Federal Trade Commission said last week that it would require Eli Lilly to rid itself of Sentinel heartworm products for competitive reasons. Eli Lilly, based in Indianapolis, agreed to sell the business to the French pharmaceutical company Virbac.

On Thursday, Senior Vice President Jeff Simmons said the deal would allow Lilly to “dedicate greater resources to new product discovery and development.”

Lilly’s Elanco Animal Health develops and markets products in more than 70 countries, with facilities in more than 40. Simmons is also president of Elanco.

The impact of the deal will be reflected in the first quarter of this year. Novartis will book a pre-tax gain of about $4.6 billion in its first quarter.

Eli Lilly first said it would buy Novartis Animal Health in April and fuse it with Elanco to create the second-largest animal-health company in the United States.

The European Union approved the acquisition in October.

— Associated Press

ENTERTAINMENT
Dish to offer
‘The Interview’

Dish Networks said Thursday it would make “The Interview,” the controversial Sony Pictures Entertainment film about the fictitious assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, available as a pay-per-view option starting Friday.

Dish said “The Interview” would be available to rent in both high definition and standard definition.

The film has been blamed for triggering a massive cyberattack on Sony’s movie studio. On Dec. 17, Sony canceled the Christmas Day release of the movie after hackers threatened violence against movie theaters and some theater chains refused to show it.

Sony is trying to recoup the $44 million production budget plus an estimated $30 million to $40 million in marketing costs for “The Interview.”

On Wednesday, Sony Pictures Entertainment made the film available through U.S. pay television operators and sold it through Wal-Mart’s digital on-demand service, Vudu, and on Sony’s PlayStation Network. The film also is available through Apple’s iTunes store, where it was the top-selling movie Wednesday.

— Reuters

India
New leader replaces Soviet-style panel

India has scrapped its 65-year-old Planning Commission, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused of stifling growth with Soviet-style bureaucracy, replacing it Thursday with a body he said would do more to involve the regions.

The new National Institution for Transforming India will act more like a think tank or forum, its supporters said, in contrast with the Planning Commission, which imposed five-year plans and allocated resources to hit economic targets.

Despite being widely blamed for the slow growth that long plagued India, the Planning Commission survived the market reforms of the early 1990s, riling Modi with its interventions when he was chief minister of the fast-growing state of Gujarat.

Modi, elected by a landslide last year on a promise to revive flagging growth and create jobs, had vowed to do away with the Planning Commission, which was set up in 1950 by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

But his plans were criticized by the opposition Congress Party, which wants to defend Nehru’s legacy and regards Modi’s vision of “cooperative federalism” as cover for a veiled power grab.

NITI will include leaders of India’s 29 federal states and seven union territories. But its full-time staff — its deputy chairman, chief executive and experts — will answer directly to the 64-year-old prime minister.

Congress leaders mocked the launch as a cosmetic relabeling exercise — the new body’s acronym-based name means ‘Policy Commission’ in Hindi, suggesting a less bold departure than the English version does.

— Reuters

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