Paying the price. Government officials announced this morning they have fined General Motors the maximum $35 million penalty for failing to report faulty ignition switches as soon as company officials knew about the problem. Investigators have linked the bad switches to at least 13 deaths. The company has recalled 2.5 million vehicles affected by the problem. In addition to the fine, GM has agreed to what the Department of Transportation called unprecedentedgovernment oversight. Regulators have ordered the company to make changes to its review of safety issues and to improve its response to potentially unsafe defects.
Terror in Kenya. An explosion targeting a minibus in a market in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 10 people today and is raising fears of more terrorist attacks in the popular tourist destination. The British government ordered hundreds of its citizens who are staying at resorts on the coast to return home immediately. No group has taken responsibility for today’s attack, but experts say al-Shabaab is ramping up its activities in the country. The Islamic militant group was responsible for last year’s attack on the Westgate Mall, which left 67 people dead. Today’s attack follows another bombing less than two weeks ago that targeted two buses on a main highway. The homemade bombs killed three and wounded 60. The U.S. State Department joined British officials in issuing travel advisories for Nairobi and coastal areas of Mombasa and Diani.
Fire starters? California officials have arrested two teens on suspicion of setting two brush fires in Southern California that turned into raging wildfires. Investigators cannot yet connect the boys, aged 19 and 17, to larger conflagrations racing through the area, consuming houses, and prompting thousands of residents to evacuate. The fires have burned more than 15 square miles near San Diego and have destroyed at least eight houses, an 18-unit apartment complex, and two businesses. Only one fatality has been reported so far: Firefighters discovered a badly burned body at a transient camp in Carlsbad.
Serial killer? Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is facing two more counts of murder. Prosecutors announced yesterday they are charging the one-time professional football star with murdering two men he allegedly met at a nightclub in 2012. Hernandez is already facing a murder charge in the 2013 shooting death of a friend.
Back to school? Officials in Texas are trying to figure out why a 34-year-old woman would pose as 15-year-old high school student. Charity Anne Johnson attended New Life Christian School in Longview, Texas, for almost a year before the leader of a group for needy children she was trying to join got suspicious after doing a background check. Before that, Johnson had managed to fool everyone, including the woman who took her in. School administrators said she got good grades and had lots of friends.