×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
February 29, 2016
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

You can leave your measuring tape at home — Subway has agreed to take all of the steps necessary to make sure its footlong sandwiches aren't 11 inches, or even 11-and-a-half, but a full 12.

After a teenager shared a photo on Facebook in 2013 showing a footlong Subway sandwich measuring up to only 11 inches, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the chain. A judge granted the final approval to a settlement on Feb. 25, with Subway agreeing to spend the next four years taking measures to ensure that its bread is at least 12 inches long. Franchisees will also use tools to measure their bread, which arrives at individual Subway locations frozen.

After the dough sticks are thawed and stretched, they can change in size and shape. While the amount of meat and cheese placed on the bread is standard, the judge said that it's possible people are losing out on toppings when the bread is half-an-inch shorter, The Associated Press reports. But in practice, since people do watch as their sandwiches are assembled, they can ask for more items and "the bread does not affect the quantity of food the customer receives," the judge said. The 10 individuals in the suit will receive $500, but potential members of the class won't be receiving any money. "It was difficult to prove monetary damages, because everybody ate the evidence," said attorney Thomas Zimmerman. Catherine Garcia

5:14 a.m. ET

The proposed summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un "hit a major snag" last week, John Oliver said on Last Week Tonight. "Negotiating with North Korea is clearly the tightest of tightropes to walk, and unfortunately, instead of a professional tightrope walker, Trump has brought is a big ol' walrus," National Security Adviser John Bolton, who suggested the "Libya model" for North Korea. "That may not sound like much to you, but Bolton bringing up Libya is literally the worst thing he could have said in this situation," Oliver said, comparing it to a NSFW conversation between a husband and wife.

The "Libya model" starts with Moammar Gadhafi agreeing to give up his nuclear weapons program and ends with him being brutally murdered in the street after the U.S. facilitated his overthrow. "It's not just Kim Jong Un who is touchy about what happened in Libya," Oliver said. "Gadhafi's death is a common obsession among autocrats. In fact, even [Russia's Vladimir] Putin apparently thinks about it a lot. ... You know what, I'm not actually surprised by that, because if you told me that there is a video that Putin watches over and over again, I would guess it's of someone being murdered. You know, that's his Big Lewbowski."

"For a sense of just how badly Bolton screwed up here, Trump actually walked his comments back" on TV, at least briefly, Oliver said. "That is the president of the United States directly contradicting one of his top advisers — a man who, incidentally, was standing in the room the whole time. And look, John Bolton, how can I put this to you, what you did, in terms that you might understand? Your decision to say the words the 'Libya model' may have put your time in the White House on the path of the 'Scaramucci model,'" which he explains below, complete with some NSFW language. Peter Weber

4:32 a.m. ET

"Rehab is a place where people can address an addiction to drugs or alcohol, something that until relatively recently was seen as a moral failing that could be overcome with sheer willpower," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, using Belinda Carlisle and "an amazing PSA from the '80s" as a cautionary tale. "Thankfully there is now a broader understanding that addiction is complex and that nothing about getting off alcohol or drugs is easy." Experts commonly view it as a medical problem, and for many addicts, the solution is sought in America's $35 billion rehab industry. Oliver's big message: Buyers beware.

Insurance is increasingly covering rehab, thanks to a law signed by George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, Oliver said, but not all rehab is equal — there are no federal standards for what rehab or addiction counseling should entail, and the vast majority of people don't get evidence-based care. "So tonight let's look at what rehab is and why the industry's so troubled," he said.

Oliver pointed to Florida as "a window into how the flood of insurance money into treatment centers has caused massive problems," running through some of the ways "rehab" centers game the system, like excessive testing. "Urine is so valuable that in the recovery industry is is known as liquid gold," he said. "The final big problem" is that "everything about this industry is incredibly difficult to navigate, which is dangerous," literally a matter of life or death, Oliver said. The best starting place right now is probably trying to get advice from a doctor who is board-certified in addiction medicine, he said, but it shouldn't be this difficult. "So much about battling addiction is really hard. Getting clean is hard. Staying clean is hard. But getting good, evidence-based, trustworthy help should be the f---ing easy part." (There is NSFW language throughout.) Watch below. Peter Weber

3:14 a.m. ET

John Oliver is a noted skeptic of royal weddings and the British monarchy — he suggested in February that Meghan Markle might want to consider calling off her wedding to Prince Harry, for her own sanity. But of course the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex did indeed get married on Saturday — "as you probably knew if you were anywhere within earshot of CBS's Gayle King," Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. He had video in case you weren't within earshot.

"Perhaps the most notable part of the service was Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered an impassioned ode to love — which led to some pretty awkward reaction shots," Oliver said, focusing on the monarch herself. "Oh, that is the wrong room there, buddy. Because believe me, those are some of the most repressed people on earth. Talking to the queen about love is like talking to her about the transformative power of the Taco Bell $5 Chalupa Cravings Box." (And there goes his knighthood.)

Last Week Tonight also had some unexpressed thoughts on all the American news anchors affecting British accents for the wedding, and you can watch (and likely cringe) below. Peter Weber

2:44 a.m. ET
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani spoke to several news organizations to make the case that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had told him and other members of President Trump's legal team that he hopes to finish his report on whether Trump obstructed justice by Sept. 1. But that date is contingent upon a few things, most notably Trump agreeing to sit down for an interview with Mueller and his investigators. Mueller's office declined to comment.

"We said to them, 'If we're going to be interviewed in July, how much time until the report gets issued?'" Giuliani told The Associated Press on Sunday, "They said September, which is good for everyone, because no one wants this to drag into the midterms." He pointed to former FBI Director James Comey upending the 2016 election at Hillary Clinton's expense as a cautionary tale. Giuliani told AP the September report "would be the culmination of the investigation into the president." But he told The Wall Street Journal that the Sept. 1 end point had been conveyed "as a possibility" and said "we hope" the investigation ends at that point. In an interview with The Washington Post, Giuliani described Sept. 1 as "an incentive" to "do the interview."

In any case, The New York Times notes, "wrapping up the obstruction case would not signal the end of Mr. Mueller's work. That is one piece of his broader inquiry, a counterintelligence investigation into Russia's campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump associates coordinated with it. Counterintelligence investigations are used to gather information quietly about the activities of foreign powers and their agents — sometimes for years — and can result in criminal charges." Peter Weber

2:01 a.m. ET

On Sunday afternoon, President Trump signaled he will follow through with his threat to directly interfere in the Justice Department's investigations of his campaign and himself.

After Trump's tweet, which Jonathan Swan at Axios likened to "rolling a grenade into the Department of Justice," the Justice Department said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had asked Inspector General Michael Horowitz to expand an ongoing review to "include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election," and any "evidence of potential criminal conduct" would be referred to "the appropriate U.S. Attorney."

Trump spent much of the weekend tweeting angrily about the investigation, now headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, following reports Friday night that a covert FBI and CIA informant who served in the Reagan, Ford, and Nixon administrations had approached three Trump campaign aides in 2016 after the FBI became concerned they might be acting as Russian agents.

Analysts said Rosenstein is attempting to defuse a crisis some Trump allies say the president is creating to force Rosenstein to quit. Trump has the constitutional right to do this, but "I can't think of a prior example of a sitting president ordering the Justice Department to conduct an investigation like this one," University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck tells The New York Times. "That's little more than a transparent effort to undermine an ongoing investigation," and if Trump follow through on his threat, "it seems to me that the recipients of such an order should resign." Peter Weber

May 20, 2018
Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela's electoral council declared President Nicolas Maduro the winner Sunday night of a presidential election boycotted by many opponents and marred by claims of irregularities. With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Maduro had 68 percent of the vote versus 21 percent for the main opposition candidate allowed to run, Henri Falcon. Turnout was just over 46 percent, despite extended polling hours, electoral authorities said; The Associated Press estimated that about 40 percent of voters participated, while the opposition put the figure at closer to 30 percent. The U.S. said earlier Sunday that it won't accept the results of the election.

Falcon, a former governor who defected from Maduro's Socialist Party in 2010, blamed the opposition boycott for his low numbers but also rejected the results, saying Maduro's victory "without any doubt lacks legitimacy and we categorically refuse to recognize this process." He specifically pointed to the 13,000 pro-government "red spots" set up near voting stations where poor Venezuelans were encouraged to scan their "fatherland cards" — which entitle them to government benefits — for a chance to to win a "prize." A third candidate, evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci, also slammed voting irregularities and, like Falcon and the opposition coalition, urged a new election.

Maduro declared victory, embarking on a second six-year term. Oil-rich Venezuela is five years into a brutal recession with annual inflation of 19,000 percent and rampant shortages of food and medicine. Maduro has stacked the Supreme Court and replaced the opposition-controlled National Assembly with a second legislature made up of supporters. That National Constituent Assembly had pushed up the presidential election, originally scheduled for December. The two most popular opposition candidates were barred from running and other potential candidates fled Venezuela. Peter Weber

May 20, 2018
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The United States will not recognize the results of Venezuela's presidential election, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan announced Sunday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to secure another six-year term as his country goes to the polls despite the dire conditions Venezuelans face under his leadership. Venezuela has been in a state of crisis for several years, suffering grave shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities as well as hyperinflation.

Some of Maduro's critics are boycotting the election, which they say will be rigged regardless of participation, in an attempt to delegitimize Maduro's win. The two most popular opposition candidates have been banned from running by the Maduro government.

Sullivan indicated the U.S. is also considering oil sanctions on Venezuela and will broach the topic at Monday's G20 meeting in Buenos Aires. "We need to make sure we adhere to our goal which is to target corrupt regime officials and not the people of Venezuela," he said. "We don't want to damage the country in a way that makes it difficult to repair after democracy is restored." Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads