BOSTON

King sees no strong reason to oppose Hagel for defense

Maine Sen. Angus King said Thursday that he sees no strong reason to oppose President Obama’s pick for secretary of defense.

King said he won’t make a final decision on former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination until confirmation hearings are finished. King serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing on Jan. 31.

“I start with a presumption that the president should be able to appoint his own people to his Cabinet. So unless there’s some strong disqualifying element or quality to the nominee, I start with that positive presumption,” King said.

Asked whether he saw a strong disqualifying element or quality with Hagel, he said, “No.”

“But I want to see what the testimony is at the hearing and have a chance to talk to him directly,” he said.

King said he was scheduled to meet privately with Hagel on Friday, but a King spokesman said the meeting has been moved to next week.

LOS ANGELES

Toyota reaches settlement in wrongful death lawsuit

Toyota Motor Corp. says it has settled what was to be the first of hundreds of wrongful death lawsuits involving problems of sudden, unintended acceleration by its vehicles.

A Toyota spokeswoman said Thursday that the company reached an agreement in the case brought by the family of Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd.

They were killed when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall in Utah in 2010.

Last month, Toyota agreed to a settlement worth more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits claiming economic losses suffered by Toyota owners, but hundreds more lawsuits over wrongful death remained.

The Van Alfen case was to be the first of those tried, and to serve as a bellwether for the rest.

CHICAGO

Businessman gets 14 years for supporting terrorism

A Chicago businessman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.

Jurors in 2011 convicted Tahawwur Rana of providing support for the group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. The cartoons angered many Muslims because pictures of the prophet are prohibited in Islam. But jurors cleared Rana of involvement in the three-day rampage in Mumbai, India’s largest city, which has often been called India’s 9/11.

AURORA, Colo.

Families boycott reopening for cinema in Colorado

The Colorado cinema where 12 people were killed and dozens injured in a shooting rampage nearly six months ago reopened Thursday with a remembrance ceremony and a private screening of the fantasy film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” for survivors.

But several families boycotted what they called a callous public relations ploy by the theater’s owner, Cinemark. They said Cinemark emailed them an invitation to Thursday’s reopening just two days after they struggled through Christmas without their loved ones.

– From news service reports