What we know about police raid at FC Barcelona’s stadium in relation to ‘Barçagate’

US probing engine fires in nearly 1.9M Toyota RAV4 SUVs

DETROIT — The U.S. government is investigating complaints of engine compartment fires in nearly 1.9 million Toyota RAV4 small SUVs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating after getting 11 fire complaints involving the 2013 through 2018 model years.

The RAV4 is the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. that isn’t a pickup truck.

In documents posted Monday, the agency says fires start on the left side of the engine compartment. A terminal on the 12-volt battery may short to the frame, causing loss of electrical power, engine stalling or a fire.

Most of the fires happened while the vehicles are being driven, but four owners complained that fire broke out with the engine off.

A Toyota spokesman would not answer questions about whether the SUVs should be parked outdoors until the matter is resolved, but said the company is cooperating in the probe. A spokeswoman for NHTSA said she is checking into whether the RAV4s should stay outdoors due to the risk of catching fire with the engine off.

NHTSA says improper battery installation or front-end collision repair was a factor in the complaints. The agency says the RAV4 has a higher number of fire complaints in the battery area than comparable vehicles.

Investigators will try to understand better what is contributing to the fires. The vehicles aren’t being recalled but the investigation could lead to one.

Daily Money 03-01-21

Good Monday to you, Daily Money subscribers. It’s Nathan Bomey hoping desperately that this March is better than last March. On to our …

INSIGHT OF THE DAY: Fixed-income investments have been struggling, and now the bond market is getting torched. None other than the “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett himself, says retirees who are betting their livelihoods on fixed-income investments “face a bleak future.” The takeaway? You might not be able to avoid taking some risk by investing in stocks if you want to maintain a comfortable retirement.

On to the rest of the news …

1. Should local pharmacies get more vaccines? Independent pharmacies say that large chains like CVS and Walgreens are getting a disproportionate amount of COVID vaccines. Check out my in-depth story.

2. Remember when Volkswagen sold a microbus? It was decades ago, but it’s coming back. The long-awaited revival of the VW microbus will happen in 2022 as the Volkswagen ID. Buzz electric van.

3. Are you paying someone to manage your retirement fund?Check out this story for insight on whether that’s a good idea.

4. In the market for a new TV?Don’t get fooled by these five myths.

5. Want your Starbucks drink with oat milk?Now the non-dairy alternative is a permanent option.

More below!

–Nathan Bomey, Money reporter

Texas’ Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Files For Bankruptcy

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc., the largest power generation and transmission cooperative in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection citing a huge bill from the state’s grid operator following major outages recently amid the winter storm.

Brazos received a $1.8 billion bill from electricity grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT for the seven day winter storm event that caused power failure for millions of residents for days.

In the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, the company listed both estimated assets and liabilities of $1 billion to $10 billion.

Brazos Electric provides electricity to more than 660,000 customers across the state of Texas through its 16 utility company members.

In its filing, the company said that it filed for bankruptcy to protect itself, its member cooperatives, and consumers from a massive bill.

In mid-February, majority of the state’s power plants were shut down following unusually frigid temperatures that affected around 4.3 million people without heat or light for days, and caused severe damages to houses and businesses.

In the state, other utilities and power companies also face hefty charges in billions of dollars related to the recent blackouts.

Former French president Sarkozy convicted of corruption, handed jail sentence

  • Retired from politics but still influential among conservatives, Sarkozy has 10 days to appeal the ruling.
  • Sarkozy is the second former president in modern France, after the late Jacques Chirac, to be convicted of corruption.

Judges found former president Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of trying to bribe a judge and of influence-peddling on Monday and sentenced him to three years in jail, with two years suspended.

Sarkozy, who led France from 2007 to 2012, had denied any wrongdoing, saying he was the victim of a witch-hunt by financial prosecutors who used excessive means to snoop on his affairs.

Retired from politics but still influential among conservatives, Sarkozy has 10 days to appeal the ruling.

He is the second former president in modern France, after the late Jacques Chirac, to be convicted of corruption.

Prosecutors persuaded the judges that Sarkozy had offered to secure a plum job in Monaco for judge Gilbert Azibert in return for confidential information about an inquiry into allegations that he had accepted illegal payments from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.

This came to light, they said, while they were wiretapping conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog after Sarkozy left office, in relation to another investigation into alleged Libyan financing of the same campaign.

What we know about police raid at FC Barcelona’s stadium in relation to ‘Barçagate’

Spanish police raided Barcelona's stadium and detained several people in a search and seizure operation, according to the Associated Press. 

The operation was related to "Barçagate," the club controversy from last year in which officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against players current — including stars Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique — and past who had been critical of the team and ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu. 

Authorities said detentions were made but did not say who or how many. 

Barcelona said authorities were present at Camp Nou but did not provide details. 

The club's presidential elections, to select the board of directors, are set to be held Sunday. 

Bartomeu, adviser among those detained, per reports

A club spokesman for local police told ESPN "arrests are taking place but we cannot give names." But ESPN and Spanish media outlets reported Bartomeu, his adviser Jaume Masferrer, club Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau and head of legal services Roman Gomez Bonti were arrested following the raid.