National

China becomes world's largest exporter

BEIJING — Already the biggest auto market and steel maker, China edged past Germany in 2009 to become the top exporter, yet another sign of its rapid rise and the spread of economic power from West to East.

Total 2009 exports were more than $1.2 trillion, China's customs agency said Sunday. That was ahead of the $1.17 trillion forecast for Germany.

Europe slaps rich with big traffic fines

GENEVA — European countries are pegging speeding fines to income as a way to punish wealthy scofflaws who would otherwise ignore tickets.

Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries issue punishments based on a person's wealth. In Germany the maximum fine can be as much as $16 million compared to only $1 million in Switzerland.

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