10 things you need to know today: May 20, 2015

Takata expands its airbag recall to 33.8 million vehicles, Los Angeles tentatively hikes minimum wage to $15 an hour, and more

Takata is recalling its airbags.
(Image credit: (AP Photo))

1. Takata makes recall largest in U.S. automotive history

Japanese airbag maker Takata announced Tuesday that it was doubling its recalls in the United States to cover 33.8 million vehicles, making it the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. Takata airbag inflaters can explode upon deployment, spraying shrapnel. The airbags have been linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries. The company made the announcement with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulators. Administrator Mark Rosekind said the safety agency's goal is "a safe airbag in every vehicle."

The New York Times

2. Los Angeles council tentatively approves $15 an hour minimum wage

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday preliminarily approved an ordinance raising the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020, up from the current $9 an hour. The vote was 14 to 1. Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle have adopted similar laws, but Los Angeles, if the proposal receives final approval, will be the largest city to mandate such a large wage hike. The L.A. ordinance would affect as many as 800,000 workers, marking a major victory for worker advocates.

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Los Angeles Times

3. Judge tells State Department to release Hillary Clinton's emails faster

Hillary Clinton

(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A federal judge on Tuesday told the State Department to speed up the schedule for releasing thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails from her time as secretary of state. The State Department had said a day earlier that its review would delay the public release of the 55,000 pages of emails, in bulk, until January 2016. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras gave the State Department a week to produce a plan for a rolling release of the emails. Clinton, now running for president, said she wants the emails released as soon as possible.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Politico

4. North Korea claims it can miniaturize nuclear warheads

North Korea said Wednesday that it had developed the technology to miniaturize nuclear warheads so that they would be small enough to be mounted on missiles. A top U.S. military officer had said a day earlier that the rogue communist nation was years away from developing such missiles. Just weeks ago, Pyongyang released photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un allegedly observing the testing of a submarine-launched missile that could carry such a warhead. Experts suggested the photos had been doctored.


5. Malaysia and Indonesia offer to take in migrants

Indonesia and Malaysia agreed Wednesday to temporarily shelter 7,000 migrants stranded at sea. The announcement signaled what could be a breakthrough in a humanitarian crisis that has plagued Southeast Asia for weeks as governments in the region declined to take responsibility for the migrants. Some of the migrants are Bangladeshis fleeing poverty, but most are members of Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. Under the agreement, the international community must resettle and repatriate the migrants within a year.

The Associated Press

6. House panel backs limit on ex-presidents' spending

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday backed a proposal to limit spending of taxpayer money on travel and other expenses run up by former presidents who make more than $400,000 a year. The bill for the four living ex-presidents' pensions and benefits came to $3.5 million last year. George W. Bush's tab came to $1.3 million last year. Clinton's was $950,000. Most of the money paid for their offices — Bush's in Dallas, and Clinton's in New York. Former presidents can earn millions a year in speaking fees alone; since leaving office, Clinton has reportedly collected $127 million.


7. Estimated 21,000 gallons of oil leak off the California coast

Oil spill off of Santa Barbara.

(Image credit: Twitter.com/ABC)

A ruptured pipeline is estimated to have leaked 21,000 gallons of oil into the ocean off California's Santa Barbara County coast on Tuesday. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson said that by 3:45 p.m., the leak had left a four-mile long sheen of oil along Refugio State Beach in Goleta. The leak was first spotted at noon, and it was stopped by coast guard crews by 3 p.m. The pipeline is operated by Plains All America Pipeline, L.P., and runs along the coast near Highway 101.

Los Angeles Times

8. Regulators accuse cancer charities of "sham"

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday accused four cancer philanthropies of bilking donors out of $187 million. The FTC called the activities of the charities — the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, the Children's Cancer Fund of America, and the Breast Cancer Society — a "sham." The accusations cover the period from 2008 to 2012. The charities are all run by James Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife, Rose Perkins, or his son, James Reynolds Jr.

The Washington Post

9. Israel launches, then suspends, plan to segregate West Bank buses

Israel suspended a trial of new rules separating Palestinian and Jewish passengers on buses traveling to the West Bank early Wednesday, hours after introducing them in what was to be a three-month trial. About 500,000 people live in Jewish settlements built since Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967. Jewish settler groups are calling for segregated travel on security grounds, but human rights groups said the plan was racist. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "unacceptable."

BBC News

10. Patriots decide not to challenge team's Deflategate punishment

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday said his team would not appeal its punishment for under-inflating balls in last season's AFC Championship game. The NFL imposed a $1 million fine and docked the team two draft picks. Kraft said sanctions were unfair, but that fighting the punishment them would only extend the Deflategate scandal and hurt the league. Quarterback Tom Brady, who was suspended four games for his involvement, is appealing his punishment with the support of the players' union.

Yahoo Sports

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.