TIME Autos

General Motors Tells Dealers to Halt Sales of Chevy Cruzes

Due to an airbag issue, 2013 and 2014 models of the Chevy Cruze are being held at dealerships in North America


Chevrolet Cruze models from the last two years have been ordered off dealer lots by General Motors, due to a potential issue with the car’s airbags.

Company spokesmen Jim Cain said in a statement that some vehicles from 2013 and 2014 “may be equipped with a suspect driver’s airbag inflator module that may have been assembled with an incorrect part,” USA Today reports.

The Detroit-based motor company has recalled an unprecedented number of vehicles so far this year. This latest glitch is unrelated to another recall issued earlier this week for the embattled car maker’s Takata airbags, which expel debris when released.

USA Today reports it’s also the second order to stop selling Cruzes issued in 2014. In March, an issue with a front axle shaft led to a stop-sale order and later the recall of over 150,000 cars.

Automotive News broke the story after it obtained a copy of the stop-delivery notice for the Cruze model on Wednesday. The notice had been sent to dealers a day prior.

[USA Today]

TIME Veterans

2 Veterans Affairs Officials Resign in Scandal’s Wake

Following Eric Shinseki's resignation

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday that two senior officials are stepping down next week as the agency looks to rebound from a scandal over concealing long wait times for veterans to get care.

The VA said the resignation of Will A. Gunn, the current General Counsel, and the replacement of Dr. Robert Jesse, the acting Under Secretary for Health, are “aimed at accelerating Veterans’ access to quality health care and rebuilding the trust of America’s Veterans.”

Jesse served as principal deputy under secretary for health beginning in 2010. In May, he assumed the new position amid reports veterans weren’t receiving adequate care. On July 2, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, who has been at the VA since 2013, will replace him.

“Dr. Carolyn Clancy is a leader and a real innovator when it comes to Veterans’ health care quality and safety,” Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson in a statement. “As we conduct our search for an Under Secretary for Health, there’s no one better to take on the issues we face. Dr. Clancy will be charged with the Department’s top priority – getting Veterans off of wait lists and in to see their doctors.”

Gunn’s resignation goes into effect July 3 when he will be replaced by the current principal deputy general counsel Tammy Kennedy. Gibson also announced that Dr. Jonathan Perlin, who served as the undersecretary for health under President George W. Bush, would be returning as a senior advisor to the Acting Secretary.

“We’re pleased to welcome this exceptional leader back to VA,” Gibson added. “I look forward to the contributions of Dr. Perlin who is recognized for his national healthcare leadership roles, as part of the VA team as we continue our work towards accelerating access to care and rebuilding trust with Veterans.”

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki under fire in May.

“The only way today’s VA personnel actions can be viewed as positive developments is if the department fills the vacancies with leaders who put veterans first—not the VA bureaucracy—focus on solving problems instead of downplaying or hiding them, and understand that taxpayer funded organizations such as VA have a responsibility to provide information to Congress and the public rather than stonewalling them,” Florida Republican Rep. Jeff Miller, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said in a statement.

TIME 2016 Election

Dallas and Cleveland Are Finalists to Host 2016 GOP Convention

The RNC is one step closer to choosing which city will host its 2016 convention

The Republican National Committee narrowed the list of cities it’s eyeing to host its 2016 convention to two on Wednesday: Cleveland and Dallas.

“After visiting both cities, I can say to my fellow Republicans that we should be excited for the 2016 convention,” said Enid Mickelsen, who chair’s the RNC’s Site Selection Committee. “These world class cities know how to roll out the welcome mat, and more importantly they have the ability to provide our next presidential nominee a launching pad that will put a Republican in the White House in 2016.”

National political conventions bring attention and money to the host city—and the bidding process can get competitive. In January, city leaders wooed RNC officials with BBQ, music and booze in an effort to get selected.

TIME Congress

Democrats Prod GOP on Change to Voting Rights Law

A push to respond to a Supreme Court ruling

Congress finally debated an amendment to the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday, six months after it was introduced and exactly one year after the Supreme Court knocked down a key provision of the landmark civil rights law.

“I was hopeful that Senate Republicans would join me in supporting this important bill,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a committee hearing Wednesday. “Despite repeated efforts, I am troubled to report that as of this hearing, not a single Senate Republican has stepped up to the plate.”

The Voting Rights Act Amendment of 2014 was introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision striking down a section of the VRA that required certain states and localities to get permission from the Department of Justice before changing voting rules because of their history of voter discrimination. While the landmark law had been renewed with bipartisan support for years, Democrats are struggling to bring Republicans on board to give the law new strength after the Supreme Court ruling—something that became abundantly clear minutes into Wednesday’s hearing.

While Leahy recalled how he felt when the Supreme Court “gutted” the Voting Rights Act, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s ranking GOP member, said the court’s decision was justified.

“All it did,” Grassley said Wednesday, “was strike down a formula, some 50 years old.”

Grassley, and other Republicans on the committee noted that other sections of the Voting Rights Act still stand and are currently being enforced in several states—including in Texas, where the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state under Section 2, which bans voting practices that impact people based on their race, color, or language.

Senators from southern states mocked the idea of continuing to require some states to get permission from the Justice Department, known as “pre-clearance,” just because of voting discrimination that took place in the past.

“What justifies singling out a select number of states for some sort of special treatment?” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked, noting that in his home state, black voter turnout was higher than white turnout during the 2012 election. Cruz said the turnout was proof that Texas, along with many other southern states with a history of racial discrimination, has evolved.

But Democrats say discrimination still exists and that voters still need the protection provided by the pre-clearance provision, known as Section 5. Ten of the 15 states that were covered by the now-defunct section have introduced restrictive voting legislation since the ruling, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Some states moved to put previously rejected laws in place shortly after the Supreme Court decision.

Under the proposed Voting Rights Amendment Act, any state that has committed five or more voting violations in the past 15 years would be subject to pre-clearance. Texas and Louisiana are among the states that would be subjected to pre-clearance if the bill passed in its current form.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, sought to drive home the fact that under the bill any state—from Vermont to California—could be subject to pre-clearance. She said 2012 minority voter turnout should push Congress to act, not convince members that America has overcome its troubled racial history.

“It shows the determination of minority voters to turn out and participate despite the obstacles,” Ifill said. “It should inspire Congress to pass this bill.”

Despite Wednesday’s hearing, the fate of the legislation is bleak. No Republican Senators have signed on to sponsor the bill. But civil rights organizations have not lost hope. And Democrats in the House and Senate plan to continue pressuring their Republican colleagues on the issue.

“I don’t understand the difference today other than partisan politics rearing its head,” Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who attended the Senate hearing, told TIME. “I think we should follow in tradition of our predecessors, Republicans and Democrats, and pass this legislation that speaks to right of people to vote.”

TIME poverty

USAID Wants To Save 15 Million Kids by 2020

USAID’s mission has long been to help countries around the globe keep kids and families healthy. Now the agency’s plan is more targeted than ever before.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has a lofty goal for the next five years: save the lives of 15 million kids and 600,000 mothers, many of whom die shortly after birth, by 2020.

This year alone, more than 6 million children under age five will die shortly after birth from preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea. Over 70% of those deaths will occur in just 24 countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia and South Sudan, among others. Thus, USAID’s new plan, unveiled Wednesday, focuses its aid efforts in those 24 countries.

“We’ve made this whole effort an effort to focus the world’s attention and resources and capacity to save lives of the poorest kids in country after country,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah told TIME.

USAID’s new plan includes working in partnership with host countries, non-governmental and faith based organizations. Each of its proposed actions is grounded in data and tailored to the needs of individual countries.

Carolyn Miles, president of international charity organization Save the Children, says one way to help many communities is to increase the number of health care professionals available in remote areas. She says that in many countries and communities, residents’ nearest health clinics are miles away from their village, or the working doctor shows up once once a month.

“We work with governments, we work with local partners and look at why kids are dying—a lot of times they do not have access to basic health care,” Miles says.

Her organization, along with other USAID partners like UNICEF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and World Vision, are pledging to train 500,000 community health workers in the 24 target countries over the next several years.

“These are local women who live in the communities, generally with pretty low education, but those women can learn how to do the basics,” Miles says.

Community health workers can end up doing anything from counseling pregnant moms to treating pneumonia with basic antibiotics. In Ethiopia, for example, USAID says the child death rate has fallen 27% since 2012 thanks in part to 35,000 community health workers who provide basic health services and medication to rural Ethiopians. In Bangladesh, tools including NeoNatalie, a doll that teaches health workers how to resuscitate babies who can’t breathe at birth, have helped reduce the child mortality rate by 72% between 1990 and 2012.

For USAID’s Rajiv Shah, the work his agency does goes beyond simply delivering food or medical aid.

“Saving the world’s poor children from dying from simple diseases is genuinely the morally right thing to do, but it is also critical to our national security,” says Shah. “We know that countries are more stable and grow faster when rates of child death go down and countries invest more in educating children. That’s the driving motivation for our work.”




Survey Tackles Common Misconceptions About the LGBT Community

Gay millennials feel strongly about marriage

Correction appended June 26, 8:45 a.m.

Gay men and women have more of a can-do attitude when it comes to DIY projects, according to new data from global market research firm YouGov, while their straight counterparts are more “meh.”

Though lesbian and straight women are on the same page when it comes to changing a light bulb (easy!), when it comes to assembling IKEA furniture 77% of lesbian women are confident in their skills, while only 48% of straight women are.

Ladies, however, aren’t alone when it comes to building “flat pack furniture” — only 58% of straight men are sure they can put together a Hemnes 8-chest drawer without issue, compared to 72% of gay men.

Though the survey hardly speaks for the entire LGBT community — only 1024 American self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual men and women were surveyed along with 969 heterosexual men and women — it does shed some light on common misconceptions about the community, particularly millennials.

Turns out, both LGBT and heterosexual young adults want to get married and have kids some day. In fact, gay and lesbian millennials were slightly more likely to say they wanted to have children in the future than their hetero counterparts — 43% compared to 40%. When it comes to marriage, 68% of heterosexual and 60% of LGBT millennials dream of a walk down the aisle. For the older crowd, the numbers fall to fewer than half.

One aging stereotype may still hold some truth, the survey suggests. For example, the survey found, lesbians and gays are more likely to have played softball and consider themselves “gym rats” than their heterosexual counterparts. About 52% of the lesbian women surveyed said they had played softball as children, compared to 22% of straight women.

The survey also found that gay men are more likely to spend more time in the gym than their heterosexual counterparts, with 24% of gay men considering themselves “gym rats” compared to 18% of straight men.

And there is one sour note from the report: About 73% of the LGBT community say they feel underrepresented in the media, with the vast majority noting that rich and beautiful people are over-represented on television in general.
The original version of this article incorrectly characterized a survey finding regarding groups that are overrepresented on television.
TIME White House

Obama Wants Federal Workers to Have More Family Time

President Barack Obama speaks at the first White House Summit on Working Families
President Barack Obama joins several working parents, (l-r) Roger Trombley, Lisa Rumain, and Shelby Ramirez for lunch at a nearby Chipotle restaurant prior to speakinging at the first White House Summit on Working Families at the Omni Hotel in Washington, June 23, 2014. Martin H. Simon—Corbis

Executive actions to work around Congress in an election year

President Barack Obama announced executive actions Monday that would give federal employees more flexibility to take time off to care for their families.

During a White House Summit on Working Families, Obama said it was time for business leaders and lawmakers to create work environments that respect employees’ lives outside the office. “Twenty-first century families deserve 21st-century workplaces,” Obama said Monday afternoon. “Our economy demands them because its going to help us compete.”

Obama accused Congress on stalling on policies that would benefit working families, and the executive actions he took Monday, while not far reaching, were his latest attempt to work around Capitol Hill in a midterm election year. Obama instructed government agencies to provide workers with the flexibility to take time off to care for sick family members, to take breaks to nurse, and to telecommute when necessary without running the risk of punishment.

“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said . “That’s a pretty low bar.”

At the summit, business leaders and Democrats gathered to discuss policies that could benefit American workers, with CEOs from Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs scheduled to appear alongside the President, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. Democrats spent the day touting policies that have helped them maintain an advantage with women voters, but Obama said Monday that workplace issues—from workplace flexibility to raising the minimum wage—should not be thought of as issues that solely impact women.

“At a time when women are nearly half of our workforce,” Obama said. “Anything that makes life harder for women, makes life harder for families, and makes life harder for children. There’s no such thing as a women’s issue; this is a family issue. This is an American issue.”

More than 40% of mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners, and yet still make on average 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, according to a U.S. Council of Economic Advisors report released ahead of the summit (conservatives have called the 77-cents figure misleading). Men, however, are spending more time as caregivers than ever before.

Republicans dismissed the summit as a political ploy for women voters ahead of the midterm elections.

“It’s unfortunate that President Obama and the Democrats see women only as an electoral opportunity,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a statement. “How do we know this? President Obama could have held a bill signing ceremony instead of a politically-minded summit if he and Harry Reid would act on legislation to help working families that is being held up in the Senate.”

TIME Money

Americans Still Aren’t Saving for a Rainy Day

Lesson from the recession not learned


Families in the U.S. still don’t have a substantial amount of cash tucked away for a rainy day despite the beating the economy took in the Great Recession, according to a new survey.

The Financial Security Index from Bankrate.com shows half of American families have no savings or less than three month’s worth of expenses saved for emergencies. The survey’s findings, analysts note, haven’t changed since 2011, when the company first began inquiring about the saving habits of American families.

“Americans continue to show a stunning lack of progress in accumulating sufficient emergency savings,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.

Analysts say the recession—during which Americans lost about $16.4 trillion in household wealth by 2011—should have been a learning experience, but the struggle of juggling household expenses has left many without extra funds to put away.

Not all Americans are failing to save. About 23% of those surveyed have savings that will last them six months or more in case of a financial emergency—the recommended stash amount. What’s more, the majority of those saving big have larger incomes, though only about 46% of those making $75,000 or more have over six months worth of expenses stored away.

The website notes that while three to six months worth of savings may sound like a lot, starting small and increasing the amount being put away over time can pay off quickly.

TIME Theater

Newsies Is Leaving Broadway for a National Tour

The musical has fared better at the box office than the movie

The film flop turned Broadway hit Newsies will be ending its two-year run this summer, producers said Sunday, and will launch a national tour in the fall.

“Our last Broadway performance will be Aug 24,” said a post on the show’s Twitter feed. “Thank you for all the love & we hope to see you once more before we begin our tour this fall!”

Though the 1992 film flamed out at the box office, the musical has been a surprising success. It won Tony Awards for best choreography and best score in 2012, and has raked in a whopping $100 million so far. More than one million people have seen the show, the New York Times reports. The national tour that starts in October will take the show to 25 cities in 43 weeks, Entertainment Weekly reports.

“From our first performance, we have been humbled by the spontaneous and genuine outpouring of affection from fans and the theatre community alike,” Disney Theatrical Productions head Thomas Schumacher said in a statement. “When our tour launches in October, I’m thrilled that audiences across North America will be able to experience the adrenaline rush that is Newsies.”

TIME Baseball

A Major League Pitcher Wore a Protective Cap for the First Time

But his team lost

San Diego Padres relief pitcher Alex Torres became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to wear a protective cap over the weekend.

The league approved the bulky-looking headgear meant to protect against the impact of line drives to the head, and Torres ignored the jeers of his teammates as he made history during a Saturday evening game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It could save our lives, if someone hits a ball to your head,” Torres told MLB.com. “I get it for free so, I’m just gonna use it to see how it feels.”

Torres entered the game in the 8th inning, giving up one run, one hit and two walks while also striking out two before the Padres lost 4-2. He said he didn’t think the new cap impacted his pitching.

The hat, which looks a bit like a stylized T-ball helmet, was designed by IsloBox and approved by the league in January. The hat is designed with padded sides to absorb the impact of a ball to the head. Torres said he decided to wear the hat after seeing Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Alex Cobb get hit in head during a game last year. At the time, Torres played for the Rays. On Sunday, Cobb told Fox Sports he thought his former teammate’s decision to wear the hat was admirable.

”He’s wearing the MLB one? That’s cool. That’s cool,” Cobb said. “It was out there for somebody to be the first person to do it.”

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