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Toyota admits engine defect

Toyota Motor Corp said today about 270,000 cars sold worldwide -- including luxury Lexus saloons -- have faulty engines, the latest quality lapse to hit the automaker following massive global recalls.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News agency said Toyota, the world's No 1 automaker, was considering recalling the vehicles but didn't name sources.

Toyota spokesman Hideaki Homma said the company was considering measures to deal with the problem of defective engines that can stall while the vehicle is moving.

Toyota has been working to patch up its reputation after recalling more than eight million vehicles worldwide because of defects.

Court cancels death sentence

An appeals court threw out the first US federal death sentence given in New York in five decades, finding that prosecutors improperly advised a jury after it convicted a man of killing two undercover detectives.

The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan cancelled the death sentence given to Ronell Wilson in March 2007 after concluding that prosecutors made legal errors during the penalty phase of the trial that were not corrected by the judge in his instructions to jurors in Brooklyn.

Venezuela ties worry diplomat

The outgoing US ambassador to Venezuela said he is concerned that President Hugo Chavez's government defined its agenda by opposing Washington, and that commercial ties are fraying as a result.

Ambassador Patrick Duddy said in a speech that these are "difficult times" in the US-Venezuela relationship and that he is concerned the countries' "long-standing commercial ties are weakening".