Honda recalls new Civics over defect in fuel pump

Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it is recalling new models of the Honda Civic to prevent fuel from leaking out of the car’s fuel tank.

The recall covers about 18,000 Civics from the 2011 model year.

Honda says a plastic case that covers a valve in the fuel pump module could break or crack. That, in turn, could lead to a fuel leak in a roll-over crash, and the leaking fuel could lead to a fire.

Honda spokesman Chris Martin said no fires have been reported as a result of the defect. He said very few of the 18,000 cars are thought to be affected.

Honda dealers will inspect the fuel pump module and replace it if necessary at no cost to the owner. The recall is expected to begin by April 11. For more information, owners can contact Honda at (800) 999-1009.

New York Times to charge fees for Web, phone access

The New York Times says it will start charging for access to its website and for the use of smart phone and tablet applications later this month in the U.S.

Beginning March 28, prices start at $15 for four weeks of full access to the website and the smart phone app. Subscribers to the printed edition will keep free access to the website and apps. Others will be able to view 20 articles a month for free on the website and see the “Top News” section in the apps.

Newspapers are trying to increase digital revenue because online ad revenue, while growing, hasn’t fully offset the declines in print advertising income.

A similar system will go into effect on Thursday in Canada, which will serve as a testing ground.

Mortgage rates decline to lowest level in two months

Mortgage rates fell in the week ending Thursday to the lowest in almost two months, tracking a drop in Treasury yields as Japan’s deepening nuclear crisis spurred demand for relatively safe investments.

The average rate for 30-year fixed loans declined to 4.76 percent from 4.88 percent a week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average 15-year rate was 3.97 percent, down from 4.15 percent in each of the past two weeks, the McLean, Va.-based mortgage-finance company said in a statement.

Banks that pass ‘stress test’ can boost stock dividends

The Federal Reserve plans to tell some major banks today whether they are healthy enough to increase stock dividends.

Banks can increase dividends if they pass “stress tests” showing they can weather another recession.

All of the 19 largest banks overseen by the Fed were subject to the examinations, even if they didn’t intend to increase their dividend payments. Those banks include Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo.

The Fed’s first stress tests were conducted in 2009 when the country was reeling from a severe recession and financial crisis. Those results were made public in a move to boost confidence in the fragile U.S. banking system.

Disaster forces airlines to cut back Japan expansion

Even as airlines added extra flights to get people out of Tokyo, their long-term plans for expansion there have been thrown into doubt.

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Thursday that it will suspend new flights to Tokyo’s Haneda airport beginning next week. Singapore Airlines had planned to put the massive Airbus A380 on a flight from Singapore to Tokyo to Los Angeles later this month. But that flight will continue to be served by a Boeing 747 until further notice.

United Continental Holdings Inc., the biggest U.S. carrier to Asia, isn’t cutting flights but is monitoring the situation. Both United and Delta use Tokyo’s Narita airport as a hub for flights further into Asia.