Air bag maker pleads guilty, to pay $1 billion

Japanese auto parts maker Takata pleaded guilty to fraud Monday and agreed to pay a $1 billion penalty for concealing a deadly defect in millions of its air bags.

Takata admitted hiding evidence that its air bag inflaters can explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. The inflaters are blamed for at least 16 deaths worldwide — 11 of them in the United States — and more than 180 injuries. The problem touched off the biggest recall in U.S. automotive history, involving 42 million vehicles and up to 69 million inflaters.

Takata Chief Financial Officer Yoichiro Nomura entered the guilty plea on Takata’s behalf in federal court in Detroit. He also agreed that Takata will be sold or merge with another company.

The penalties include $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25 million criminal fine.

Three former executives are charged separately with falsifying test reports. They remain in Japan.

Plaintiffs in dozens of lawsuits against Takata and five automakers allege the car companies knew the products were dangerous but continued to use them for years to save money.

— Associated Press

Dow closes with 12th straight record high

U.S. stocks ended slightly higher Monday and the Dow Jones industrial index closed at a record high for a 12th straight session as President Trump said he would make a “big” infrastructure statement Tuesday.

The Dow’s streak of record-high closes matches a 12-day run in 1987. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index also closed at a record. The energy sector gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500, with the energy index up 0.9 percent.

Trump also announced Monday that said he is seeking a “historic” increase in military spending of more than 9 percent in his first budget proposal. That would raise Pentagon spending by $54 billion.

Shares of U.S. defense companies, including Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin, rose after Trump’s announcement.

The Dow was up 15.68 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 20,837.44; the S&P 500 gained 2.39 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,369.73; and the Nasdaq composite index added 16.59 points, or 0.28 percent, to 5,861.90.

— Reuters

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