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January 28, 2016

Barbie's body proportions just got a little more realistic. On Thursday, toymaker Mattel introduced three new body shapes for its iconic doll after facing backlash and dropping sales for inaccurately reflecting women's bodies. Now, alongside the original Barbie, there's a curvy Barbie, a tall Barbie, and a petite Barbie. Time reports in its latest cover story:

...Kim Culmone, head of design, posed a challenge to her team: If you could design Barbie today, how would you make her a reflection of the times? Out of that came changing Barbie's face to have less makeup and look younger, giving her articulated ankles so she could wear flats as well as heels, giving her new skin tones to add diversity, and then of course changing the body. While curvy Barbie's hips, thighs and calves are visibly larger than before, from the waist up she is less Jessica Rabbit than she is pear-shaped. Mattel refuses to discuss the actual proportions of the new dolls or how it came to decide on them. [Time]

The dolls will initially sell exclusively online, Time reports, until Mattel negotiates the extra shelf space needed for the new variety of body shapes, skin tones, hair types. Mattel also plans on setting up a separate helpline to deal with complaints related to the new dolls — such as when kids try to put original Barbie's clothes on curvy Barbie and get frustrated when "not everything will Velcro shut," Time reports.

"Yes, some people will say we are late to the game,” Evelyn Mazzocco, head of the Barbie brand, told Time. "But changes at a huge corporation take time."

Read the full story over at Time. Becca Stanek

5:19 a.m. ET

Over the last two weeks, Donald Trump has made a rhetorical shift in his proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., a policy he unveiled in December after the San Bernardino shooting. After the Orlando nightclub shooting, Trump gave a scripted speech in which he said he "will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe, or our allies." In Scotland over the weekend, Trump said he "would limit specific terrorist countries, and we know who those terrorist countries are," then added later that when "you have a country that's loaded up with terrorism, we don't want the people coming in until they're very strongly vetted."

So is Trump's policy now that people of any religion from unspecified "terror states" will be banned, or only those who can't be "strongly vetted," or is it still all Muslims, with some exceptions? Trump is preparing a policy memo to clarify the state of his Muslim ban, but spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The Associated Press on Monday that Trump "has been very clear," and it's the media that has "tried to cause confusion."

Another spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, tried to clarify Trump's policy on Monday to CNN's Brianna Keilar. "There has been no change," she said. Trump "still does not want to allow individuals to come into this country who cannot be vetted." "Individuals or Muslims?" Keilar asked. "Well, it doesn't really matter where you're coming from," Pierson said, reiterating that Trump had added "terrorist nations" to his policy. Keilar pointed out that Paris and Belgium have suffered attacks by Belgian and French citizens. "That's the point," Pierson said.

You can also watch below to see Keilar explain the long vetting process for refugees being settled in the U.S., and Pierson having none of it. Peter Weber

4:06 a.m. ET

"Everyone here excited for the Republican Convention?" Stephen Colbert asked on Monday's Late Show, and the audience cheered. "Well then, you're not a Republican." He ran through some of the signs of growing Republican disenchantment with likely nominee Donald Trump, then looked at one particular "legendary conservative columnist and bowtie host organism" who just bolted the GOP: "George Will is now officially George Won't." Will announced his defection in his column, in a speech, and on Sunday talk shows, and he changed his Maryland voter registration to "unaffiliated." "Which means, other political parties, he's single!" Colbert said, grabbing a 1970s game show mic and selling Will's various attributes and turn-ons for other interested political factions — or maybe he was trying to get Will a date? It's odd, and a little uncomfortable at times, but Jon Batiste's George Will dating game song makes the whole bit something special. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:42 a.m. ET

On Monday's Full Frontal, Samantha Bee lit into Great Britain for voting to leave the European Union — or at least the parts of the U.K. that did vote to leave. "What were you thinking England and Wales?" she asked. "Screwing over the rest of the world by voting stupidly? That's our job." She sourly noted that anti-immigration fervor seemed to be the deciding factor for the Leave campaign, and saved some special scorn for leading Brexit advocate and "insufferable frog-faced wanker" Nigel Farage.

Then she noted that Donald Trump immediately waded into the Brexit melee, landing in Scotland — which voted heavily to Remain in the EU — and congratulating it on taking its country back. "Oh boy, you just confused England and Scotland — they love that," Bee said. "Trump immediately got dragged by British Twitter — it's like Black Twitter, except 87 percent not," she added. "Gee, I wish I had a real Scotsman to read their tweets to you." David Tennant, the previous regeneration of Doctor Who, stepped up, and his recitation of some choice 140-character invectives was like the Jimmy Kimmel "mean tweets" bits, but with a Scottish brogue, without the sad music, and much more NSFW. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:09 a.m. ET

"While the Brits were waking up in the ruins of their nation and saying, 'Oh god, what have we done?'" said Samantha Bee on Monday's Full Frontal, "a lot of Americans were looking over and saying 'Oh god, what are we about to do?'" The warning rant from Van Jones about how Brexit equals President Trump was a little over-the-top for Bee, but she saw where he was coming from: "The Brexit vote was driven by angry, less-educated white voters who feel screwed by globalization and the establishment, and have been fed a chip buddy of xenophobia slathered in slogan sauce."

Bee told America to calm down. "American shouldn't be complacent, but you also shouldn't panic and move to Canada — Canada asked me to say that," she said. "America is not Britain. Being not Britain is pretty much central to the whole America brand." First, America has been doing immigration for centuries, while Britain, until the late 20th century, hadn't really dealt with a big influx of foreigners since 1066. Second, Britain is much whiter and more homogenous than the U.S. "And you know the other thing America has that Britain lacks?" she asked. "A butt-ton of evangelical Christians. Thank God! Yeah, you heard that right."

"So take heart," Bee said. "I mean, we can still wreck everything if we forget to vote — it wouldn't be the first time — but Trump's brand of right-wing, racist, anti-immigrant demagoguery isn't American, it's a European import. And if we're smart, we'll stop it at the border and send it back where it came from." And it's important that America arrest this now, and definitively, she added, noting the uptick of racist bullying in Britain after the Brexit vote. "That really is the worst outcome of Brexit — not the breakup of the EU or the fact that you can now use the British pound as loo paper; it's that the vote made these hateful morons think that over half the country agreed with them," Bee said. "This is why it's not enough for Trump to lose. It has to be a f—ing landslide, 50-state repudiation." Watch Below. Peter Weber

2:00 a.m. ET
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

IKEA is recalling 27 million dressers and chests from its Malm series of products after three children were killed by pieces that tipped over onto them.

Because they "could be a danger," the products are no longer being sold at IKEA stores, IKEA USA President Lars Peterson told NBC News. He also urged people who already own pieces to "please take them out of the room." Last year, the company started a campaign to bring awareness to anchoring furniture, and says it sent out 300,000 anchor kits to customers. Anyone who has purchased a Malm piece is eligible for a free kit, and refunds will also be offered.

The statistics are scary: The Consumer Product Safety Commission says every 24 minutes, a child goes to the emergency room after being hit by a falling piece of furniture or TV, and every two weeks, a child dies. A Malm dresser killed 2-year-old Cullen Collas; his mother, Jackie Collas, found him in his room pinned between the dresser and his bed. The dresser was not anchored to the wall, and Collas told NBC News she "had never heard of that before." Her goal now is to "just spread the word about anchoring anything that could fall." Catherine Garcia

1:22 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Researchers at Stanford University uncovered some good news deep underneath California: groundwater in aquifers 1,000 to 3,000 feet underground.

With this discovery, the team found that the state has three times more groundwater than earlier estimated, the Los Angeles Times reports. "It's not often that you find a 'water windfall,' but we just did," study co-author Robert Jackson told Stanford News Service.

Because the water source is so much deeper than traditional aquifers, it would likely cost a lot of money to get to it and require special engineering. The researchers also said that the quality of the water is questionable, and desalination might be necessary. The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Catherine Garcia

1:01 a.m. ET
Ramil Sitdikov/Host Photo Agency via Getty

On Monday, Turkey restored full diplomatic relations with Israel, a former ally estranged for six years, and apologized to Russia for shooting down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November. There are financial reasons for both acts of rapprochement: Restoring ties with Israel cleared the way for natural gas deals that will move gas from Israel to Turkey, and from Turkey to Europe; and Russian President Vladimir Putin had demanded the apology before he would consider lifting sanctions on the import of Turkish goods and exports of Russian tourists to Turkey.

Last Nov. 24, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 in the mountainous Turkish-Syria border area. The pilot was killed, and a Russian marine was shot dead in a helicopter rescue attempt. On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent Putin a letter apologizing for the downing and informing "the family of the deceased Russian pilot that I share their pain and to offer my condolences to them," according to a statement from Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that "the letter states, in particular, that Russia is a friend to Turkey and a strategic partner, with which the Turkish authorities would not wish to spoil relations."

Turkish-Israeli ties were greatly strained after Israel launched a military raid in 2010 on Turkish aid ship the Mavi Marmara, en route to Gaza, killing 10 Turkish activists. Erdogan has since alienated Europe over his hardline on Syrian refugees and increasingly authoritarian policies, the U.S. over Turkey's attacks on Kurdish fighters aiding the U.S. to battle the Islamic State, and Iran by demanding the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Turkey had been going through a deep sense of isolation for the past few years, having switched from its famous 'zero problems with neighbors' policy to a place where they had no neighbors without problems,” Asli Aydintasbas at the European Council on Foreign Relations tells The New York Times. "This was the loneliest point in the history of the republic — Qatar and Saudi Arabia looking like the government's only real friends." Erdogan is also dealing with a domestic insurgency and economic downturn, she added. "At the core of the decision to mend ties with Israel and Russia is an existential need for survival." Peter Weber

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