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December 16, 2011

The U.S. Coast Guard has reduced the passenger capacity of U.S. commercial vessels to reflect the growing weight of the average American. A boat's capacity used to be based on an assumed average of 160 pounds per passenger, but that’s been raised to 185 pounds. Florida pleasure-boat passenger David Kushner said he approved of the change. "Oh, God, yeah," said Kushner. "I'm 251 with sandals." The Week Staff

3:02 p.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that there were "issues" with Donald Trump's microphone at Monday's debate. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," the commission wrote, without offering any additional details.

Following Monday's event, Trump had complained about his microphone, and wondered whether it had perhaps been intentionally compromised. Hillary Clinton, in turn, had knocked Trump for his comments, joking the next day that "anyone who complains about the microphone is not having a good night."

Trump and Clinton will meet again on Oct. 9, for the second presidential debate, which will be a town-hall style event. Kimberly Alters

2:46 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has maintained her lead over Donald Trump in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, released Friday. In the poll's first iteration since the two candidates debated for the first time Monday, Clinton leads Trump 43 percent to 38 percent in a head-to-head race. When third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are factored in, Clinton's lead shrinks by a point, 42 percent to 38 percent.

Clinton's lead in the Reuters poll has held fairly steady all month, though it is slightly higher than the RealClearPolitics average, which shows Clinton's lead at 2.9 percent in a two-way race. Both candidates did get a bump in approval ratings, however, as 48 percent of respondents said they held a favorable view of Clinton, up from 45 percent last week. For Trump, 46 percent saw him favorably, up from 44 percent.

The Reuters poll was conducted online from Sept. 23-29 in all 50 states; there were 2,501 respondents, all considered likely voters, and there is a margin of error of 2 points. Kimberly Alters

1:49 p.m. ET

Anyone who has ever waited hours for an appointment at the Apple store will probably get a cathartic pleasure out of watching this man attack iPhones with an iron ball at a mall in Dijon, France:

The anti-iPhone crusader shouts that Apple "violated my rights and refused to refund me in accordance to the European consumer protection law," BuzzFeed reports. "I warned them, I told them 'give me my money back,' but they said no. So what happens then? This is what happens." The man was promptly arrested by mall security.

The video of the Thursday incident has gotten a lot of traction in France, already prompting a parody by a French comedy troupe: "In their version, a man goes into an iron ball store and tries to smash them with his phone," BuzzFeed writes.

Well played. Jeva Lange

1:21 p.m. ET

Hillary Clinton wanted an answer, and she got it in Donald Trump's latest campaign ad. The Republican presidential candidate's new ad, titled "Why?", starts off with a clip of Clinton's video speech last week in which she asked: "Why aren't I 50 points ahead?"

While Clinton might be stumped as to why her lead isn't ballooning, Trump, it turns out, is not. Watch the Trump campaign's response, below. Becca Stanek

1:18 p.m. ET

A cluster of more than 200 small earthquakes beneath the Salton Sea in Southern California earlier this week has scientists waiting to see if the slumbering San Andreas fault nearby could be the next to move. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that following the quake swarm at the Salton Sea on Monday and Tuesday, the likelihood of a magnitude-7 or greater earthquake being triggered is as high as 1 in 100 over the next seven days, though the odds will lower as time goes on.

But for now, local seismologists might feel their hearts racing. "When there's significant seismicity in this area of the fault, we kind of wonder if [the San Andreas] is somehow going to go active," Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson told the Los Angeles Times. "So maybe one of those small earthquakes that's happening in the neighborhood of the fault is going to trigger it, and set off the big event."

And by big event, they mean big:

A San Andreas earthquake starting at the Salton Sea has long been a major concern for scientists. In 2008, USGS researchers simulated what would happen if a magnitude-7.8 earthquake started at the Salton Sea and then barreled up the San Andreas fault, sending shaking waves out in all directions.

By the time the San Andreas fault becomes unhinged in San Bernardino County's Cajon Pass, Interstate 15 and rail lines could be severed. Historic downtowns in the Inland Empire could be awash in fallen brick, crushing people under the weight of collapsed buildings that had never been retrofitted.

Los Angeles could feel shaking for a minute — a lifetime compared with the seven seconds felt during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Shaking waves reach as far as Bakersfield, Oxnard, and Santa Barbara. About 1,600 fires spread across Southern California. And powerful aftershocks larger than magnitude-7 pulverize the region, sending shaking into San Diego County and into the San Gabriel Valley. [Los Angeles Times]

Scientists say major earthquakes happen in Southern California about once every 150 or 200 years; the last big quake at the Salton Sea-tip of the San Andreas fault was 330 years ago. Read the full chilling report at the Los Angeles Times. Jeva Lange

1:15 p.m. ET

When Ivanka Trump was 17 years old, she reportedly set an age limit for the women that dad Donald Trump was allowed to date. "I have a deal with her," Trump said of his daughter during a taping of The Howard Stern Show in June 1999. "She's 17 and doing great — Ivanka. She made me promise, swear to her, that I would never date a girl younger than her." The New York Daily News pointed out that 17 is the age of consent in New York, "so Trump essentially told Ivanka that he wouldn't violate statutory rape law."

Trump then proceeded to joke with Stern that his deal with Ivanka meant "as she grows older, the field is getting very limited." "The nerve of her," Stern said in response. "Now you can't go out with 16-year-olds." At the time of the interview, Trump was already dating his current wife Melania, who is 24 years younger than him — but 12 years older than Ivanka.

Of course, Trump was no stranger to Stern's show, having called in repeatedly throughout the 1990s. In another interview no less cringe-inducing, Trump in 1995 discussed with Stern how annoying women's accents could be — or, as Stern phrased it, how "one day the accent is cute and the next you're married to Dracula's sister." "You know what I like most about Marla [Maples, Trump's second wife]? And this is not lewd," Stern said. "No accent. Because that can make you bonkers after a while. Isn't that true?"

Yes, Trump agreed: "Especially when they're asking for money." Becca Stanek

12:21 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Footage of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his comments concerning Mexicans and Latinos could be released to the public as early as Friday, potentially providing valuable fodder for Democratic ad-makers in the short weeks before election day. While Trump's lawyers had argued that the tapes of Trump's deposition, as well as those of his son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka, be kept sealed, D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman denied their request, Politico reports.

"This Court finds that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that any subject video deposition contains scandalous, libelous, or other unduly prejudicial material warranting denial of media access. The public shall not be held captive by the suggested eventuality of partisan editing in a manner unfavorable to Plaintiff or the deponents," Holeman wrote.

Trump's testimony comes from lawsuits he filed last year in relation to two chefs pulling out of restaurant deals for his D.C. hotel after Trump called Mexicans "rapists" and made other remarks about Latinos. In transcripts from the deposition, which have already been released, Trump claimed that his comments could have helped business: "If he had the restaurant, it would have helped," Trump said of one of the restaurateurs, Geoffrey Zakarian. "I've tapped into something. And I've tapped into illegal immigration."

In a separate case concerning a lawsuit over Trump University, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled against the media's request for video of Trump's depositions, saying there was not substantial public interest in their release. Jeva Lange

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