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Nation in brief

SUV earns highest rollover rating

Compiled from Times wires
Published September 16, 2003

WASHINGTON - The BMW Z4 convertible was the only one of 21 vehicles tested to win the government's highest rating for its ability to resist rollovers, according to test results released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac sport utility vehicle and a rear-wheel drive version of the Jeep Liberty performed worst, earning two-star rollover ratings on NHTSA's five-star scale.

A four-wheel drive version of the Jeep Liberty got three stars in NHTSA's ratings, the only vehicle tested in which different versions received different ratings.

The test measured the performance of 17 SUVs. Two of the four smaller vehicles tested - the Subaru Outback wagon and the compact Saturn Ion - got four stars, while the Subaru Forester earned three stars. The BMW Z4 convertible got a five-star rating.

The Honda Pilot and the Nissan Murano were the only SUVs earning four-star ratings.

SUVs earning three-star ratings were: the BMW X5; the Honda Element; the Kia Sorento; the Mercedes-Benz ML350; the Mitsubishi Outlander; and the Toyota 4Runner.

Texas Democrats show up for work

AUSTIN, Texas - The Senate Democrats who fled the state to block a vote on a GOP congressional redistricting plan capitulated Monday and showed up for a special session of the Legislature, their boycott broken by one of their own.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry ordered the special session as part of a bitter, monthslong battle.

Ten Democrats who spent six weeks at a hotel in Albuquerque, N.M., to thwart a vote on redrawing Texas' congressional map gave up their protest after an 11th member, Sen. John Whitmire, broke ranks and returned to the Senate floor.

His return gave Republicans the quorum needed to hold a vote.

Since there was no longer any question of blocking a quorum, the other Democrats also came back.

Currently, the Democrats have a 17-15 majority in the state's congressional delegation. Senate Republicans are pushing a plan they say would give them 19 or 20 seats.

The special session could last up to 30 days.

Cybersecurity chief appointed

WASHINGTON - The White House on Monday selected Amit Yoran, a software executive from Symantec Corp., as the nation's new cybersecurity chief for the Department of Homeland Security.

Yoran, well known within the cybersecurity community, will be the government's evangelist for persuading Americans to improve their computer defenses against hackers, disgruntled employees, commercial rivals and foreign governments. He expects to report for work within a few weeks.


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