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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

5:33 a.m. ET

Previews of the J.K. Rowling play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begin June 7 at London's Palace Theatre, but on Tuesday, Rowling's Pottermore site released the first photos of the lead characters in costume. Jamie Parker is a grown-up Harry Potter, complete with the lightning scar on his forehead, and Poppy Miller is his wife, the former Ginny Weasley. Playing their youngest son, Albus Severus Potter — the titular cursed child — is Sam Clemmett, dressed in hand-me-down Hogwarts robes.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is being presented as the eighth installment of the Harry Potter saga, following the seven books. Rowling, who wrote the play with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, says she is thrilled with the casting. Parker "simply is Harry now," she said. "There's a kind of relief in watching him, he gets it so right." And Miller's Ginny is "kind and cool, exactly as I imagined her," Rowling added. The play will run in two parts, with the first performed as a matinee and the second at night. Peter Weber

5:00 a.m. ET

"While Donald Trump is widely disliked, he is especially disliked by women," Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show last week, "as Trump is well aware." He played a video of Trump speaking at a rally in New Mexico, telling the crowd, among other things, "I want to set records with women." Noah was slightly repulsed: "It sounds like Trump is getting speech ideas from a pervert's Tinder profile."

Trump does have some female admirers, but "there's a reason the large majority of women are not Trump fans," Noah said, playing another recent clip of Trump saying he can't stand Hillary Clinton's voice. But then he dug into the Trump archive, unearthing a 1994 interview on Prime Time Live with Nancy Collins in which Trump explained why he didn't want his wife at the time, Marla Maples, to work outside the home. "Now, these clips aren't online, so pretty much nobody has seen them since they aired in 1994," Noah promised. And sure, times have changed in 22 years, but even in year two of the Bill Clinton presidency, Trump knew what he was saying would be construed as "chauvinist." And to show that some things never change, he went ahead and said what was on his mind anyway. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:40 a.m. ET

At a Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Oakland late Monday, five animal-rights activists jumped over the barricade and ran toward the stage, prompting two agents to jump on the platform and push Sanders away from the mic. Security dragged the protesters into nearby Oakland City Hall, and Sanders, looking more annoyed than frightened, returned to the mic and said, "We are not easily intimidated." Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said later that the interruption "was handled professionally by the Secret Service." The group, Direct Action Everywhere, said one of its protesters at the event had been "assaulted."

Why are animal-rights activists targeting Sanders? "His campaign has promoted itself based on this idea of progressivism and rejecting discrimination and inequality," member Zach Groff tells ABC News, "but when it comes to the animals in the United States and around the world, discrimination and violence is the name of the game every single day." Sanders "claims to be a progressive, but you cannot be a progressive if you oppose animal rights," Groff added. Another Direct Action Everywhere organizer, Aidan Cook, explained that "Sanders claims to oppose 'factory farming,' but what he hides is that virtually all farms in the United States, including farms he supports, are essentially factory farms." You can watch the drama below. Peter Weber

3:11 a.m. ET
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Republican strategists and vanquished presidential wannabes take heart: Not even a genius like Stephen Hawking can explain how Donald Trump became the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Granted, Hawking's expertise is theoretical physics, not politics, but he's clearly following the U.S. presidential race. When ITV's Good Morning Britain asked Hawking if he could explain Trump's popular appeal, Hawking said: "I can't. He is a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator." Hawking has previously cast doubt on Trump's intelligence.

In the interview, airing on British TV Tuesday morning, Hawking also made his case for Britain staying the European Union, a question that will be put to British voters in June. "Gone are the days we could stand on our own, against the world," he said. "We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security, and our trade." Hawking, paralyzed due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, is bound to a wheelchair and has to speak through a voice synthesizer. Peter Weber

2:14 a.m. ET

If you want to read Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway or George Orwell's Animal Farm, you can head down to your local public library. If you want to read Woolf's original draft manuscript and notes, or a letter from T.S. Eliot explaining why he wouldn't publish Animal Farm, the British Library just made your day. The UK's national library just posted more than 300 treasures of 20th century English literature online for the world to peruse, plus articles exploring "the extraordinary innovation demonstrated by key writers of the 20th century," according to digital programs manager Anna Lobbenberg.

"Until now these treasures could only be viewed in the British Library Reading Rooms or on display in exhibitions," Lobbenberg said. Now, anyone with an internet connection can learn more about, and read source material from, writers like Woolf, Orwell, Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, James Joyce, Angela Carter, J G. Ballard, and other "rebels and risk-takers" who "were determined to find new forms to reflect the fast changing world around them." It's a rabbit hole that literature and culture lovers could easily get lost in for a weekend or longer, and then you can dive into the British Library's digital Discovering Literature collections on Shakespeare, the Victorian Era, and the Romantics. If that sounds too intimidating, here's a short master class on Orwell's 1949 dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four, from the British Library and John Bowen, a professor at the University of York. Peter Weber

2:10 a.m. ET
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

It was a violent Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, with four people killed and at least 53 wounded in shootings across the city.

The murder victims include a 25-year-old man who was shot while sitting in a parked car in front of his mother's house; a 27-year-old man shot while sitting in a car with his fiancée (she grabbed a gun and fired warning shots in the air, and was charged with a felony); a 25-year-old man shot by a man he was arguing with inside a gas station; and Veronica Lopez, a 15-year-old who was shot and killed while riding in a car with two older men police say are known gang members. Her mother, Diana Mercado, told the Chicago Tribune she planned to move with her daughter to Florida in a year because of the violence, but "now they took my baby."

At least 60 people have been shot and killed so far this month, and shootings are up more than 50 percent this year. Police say the violence can be attributed to gangs, too many guns, and weak gun law enforcement, the Tribune reports. Although eight fewer people were killed this year compared to last Memorial Day weekend, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department will "never say it's good until we can go an entire Memorial Day weekend without a single shot being fired." Catherine Garcia

1:12 a.m. ET

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday echoed previous comments he made about birth control, announcing during a televised speech that "no Muslim family" should use contraception or family planning.

"We will multiply our descendants," said Erdogan, a father of four, and later he called on "well-educated future mothers" to not use contraception. Many supporters of his AK Party are conservative Muslims, and during a wedding ceremony in 2014, Erdogan called birth control "treason." Previously, he said women should have at least three children and that women cannot be treated as equal to men, BBC News reports.

The Turkish Statistical Institute says in 2015, the country's fertility rate was 2.14 children per woman. While that's half the rate in 1980, it's still one of the highest in Europe. You can watch Erdogan's comments below. Catherine Garcia

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