National briefs: Ford recalls Escape SUVs
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DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 10,000 redesigned 2013 Escape SUVs to fix carpet padding that could get in the way of braking.
Ford says that wrongly positioned carpet padding could reduce space around the pedals and cause drivers to hit the side of the brake pedal when switching from the accelerator.
The automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that dealers will remove the carpet padding and replace a console trim panel at no charge.
Ford said the recall covered 8,266 vehicles in the U.S. Ford spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said it also affected about 2,000 vehicles in Canada and a couple hundred in Mexico.
Ms. Zwiebel said Ford had not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem.
The recall is expected to begin next Monday. Owners may call the automaker at 866-436-7332.
NEW YORK -- Citigroup Inc. may seek permission to hike its dividend for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis in the next few months.
The bank's CEO, Vikram Pandit, said he expects to start discussing returning some cash to investors by the end of the year.
"I believe we will be in good shape and have the capital to be able to do that by the end of the year," Mr. Pandit told Britain's Sunday Telegraph in a rare interview. "That's a decision that will have to be taken with our regulators and we will have those conversations at the end of the year."
The bank did not ask the Federal Reserve for permission to raise the dividend last month, when it submitted its latest capital plan.
Citi currently pays a token amount of 1 cent per share every quarter. Mr. Pandit had previously promised shareholders a higher dividend earlier in the year.
WASHINGTON -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc faced criticism from environmental activists after a drilling ship the company plans to use for exploration in the U.S. Arctic drifted toward shore.
The Noble Discoverer drifted toward the coast near Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Shell said Sunday in an email. The vessel was repositioned away from shore, and there is no evidence of damage or grounding, Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis said by telephone from Kodiak, Alaska.
"Shell can't keep its drill rig under control in a protected harbor, so what will happen when it faces 20 foot swells and sea ice while drilling in the Arctic?" Jackie Dragon, Greenpeace lead Arctic campaigner, said in an email Sunday.
Shell is waiting for a final permit from the Interior Department to start exploration in the Arctic Beaufort and Chukchi seas after investing about $4.5 billion in the fields that may hold more than 20 billion barrels of oil.
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration has failed to meet a legal deadline for scanning all shipping containers for radioactive material before they reach the United States, a requirement aimed at strengthening maritime security and preventing terrorists from smuggling a nuclear device into any of the nation's 300 sea and river ports.
The Department of Homeland Security was given until July 1 to ensure that 100 percent of inbound shipping containers are screened at foreign ports.
But in a little-noticed action, the department's secretary, Janet Napolitano, informed Congress in May that she was invoking a two-year blanket exemption because the screening is proving too costly and cumbersome.
Instead, the DHS relies on intelligence-gathering and analysis to identify "high-risk" containers, which are checked before being loaded onto ships. Under this system, fewer than half a percent of the roughly 10 million containers arriving at U.S. ports last year were scanned before departure.
The DHS says monitors scan 99 percent of the containers for radiation after they arrive at U.S. ports. But experts say the monitors at U.S. ports are not sophisticated enough to detect nuclear devices or highly enriched uranium, which emit low levels of radiation.
CAMARILLO, Calif. -- The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped about 7 cents over the past three weeks.
The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices puts the average price for a gallon of regular at $3.41.
Analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the national average for a gallon of mid-grade is $3.57. For premium it's $3.69 a gallon.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published July 16, 2012 12:00 am