National news briefs: 5/16/14

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New GM recalls push record total

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- General Motors Co., recalling an additional 2.7 million vehicles for potentially faulty brake lights and other issues, pushed its total number of cars and trucks called back for repairs in the U.S. this year to 11.2 million, the most ever for the automaker.

The bulk of Thursday's five recalls cover 2.44 million Chevy, Pontiac and Saturn cars dating back to the 2004 model year. Corrosion can affect wiring and cause brake lights to fail to illuminate, Detroit-based GM said today in a statement.

Wage protests spread

LOS ANGELES -- Fast-food workers around the world rallied for a higher minimum wage Thursday in what organizers called the largest such protest of its kind.

The movement, which began as a single walkout in New York in 2012 before spreading across the U.S. last year, sparked gatherings Thursday in 150 U.S. cities as well as 33 countries on six continents, according to planners.

Protesters are calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and the right to form unions without retaliation from bosses.

Kerry subpoenaed again

WASHINGTON -- A Republican House chairman Thursday issued a new subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, in an escalating fight with the Obama administration over its cooperation with Congress.

Rep. Darrell Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he had no choice as the State Department had failed to negotiate in good faith on an appropriate date for Mr. Kerry to testify. The new subpoena calls for him to testify May 29.

The subpoena, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, "was accompanied by a headline-grabbing, highly political tweet attacking the integrity of the State Department itself. This is not the way legitimate and responsible oversight is conducted."

Oil spilled in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- A geyser of oil sprayed onto buildings and puddled in knee-high pools of crude in Los Angeles streets after a valve on a high-pressure pipeline failed early Thursday.

About 10,000 gallons of oil spewed 20 feet high over approximately half a mile of the industrial area of Atwater Village at about 12:15 a.m., said Fire Capt. Jaime Moore.

Four people at a medical business a half-block away were evaluated with respiratory complaints, and two people were transferred to a hospital in stable condition.

California fires continue

SAN MARCOS, Calif. -- As calmer winds allowed firefighters to make progress on nine fires in San Diego County, one of the most serious blazes suddenly roared Thursday afternoon, burning close to homes, triggering thousands of new evacuation orders and keeping the situation tenuous.

Growing flames raced along scrubby hillsides near the city of San Marcos. Sheriff Bill Gore said the flare-up prompted more than 13,000 new evacuation notices in the San Marcos area.

FDA lowers Lunesta dosage

WASHINGTON -- In its latest effort to make sure that the millions of Americans who take sleep medications do not drowsily endanger themselves or others, the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it will require the manufacturer of the popular drug Lunesta to lower the recommended starting dose, after data showed that people might not be alert enough to drive the morning after taking the drug, even if they feel totally awake.

The current recommended starting dose of eszopiclone, the drug marketed as Lunesta, is 2 milligrams at bedtime for men and women.


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