DETROIT -- Along rows of cubicles at the General Motors Technical Center in suburban Warren, engineers knew for years about faulty ignition switches in small cars. Safety officials in the same complex knew, too. So did the lawyers downtown.
That knowledge loitered inside GM for at least a decade until this February, when the company recalled 2.6 million cars to repair the switches. During that time, at least 13 people lost their lives in crashes tied to the problem. Why that delay happened -- and who is responsible -- should be revealed today, when a report by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas is made public.
The report, paid for by GM with the promise of an "unvarnished" inquiry, also will address just how high in the company knowledge of the problem reached. Valukas isn't expected to place blame with CEO Mary Barra. She has denied knowing the details until Jan. 31.
Although Valukas is expected to name names, it's likely that he'll find GM's bureaucratic structure at least partly responsible.
The switches can slip out of the run position, shut off the cars' engines and knock out power-assisted steering. This can make steering difficult and cause drivers to lose control. Congress and the Justice Department are investigating the delayed recall, too. Criminal charges are possible.
Last of original Code Talkers dies: The language he once was punished for speaking in school became Chester Nez's primary weapon in World War II. Before hundreds of men from the Navajo Nation became Code Talkers, Nez and 28 others were recruited to develop a code based on the then-unwritten Navajo language. Nez never tired of telling the story to highlight his pride in having served his country and stress the importance of preserving the Navajo language. The 93-year-old died Wednesday morning in Flagstaff, Ariz., of kidney failure. He was the last of the original group of 29 Navajo Code Talkers.
Creative attempts by smugglers: It looked like a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service truck. But the U.S. Border Patrol said it was actually the latest in a long line of creative attempts by smugglers to get illegal drugs from Mexico into the U.S. Agents spotted the white truck with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decals along a boundary fence in Douglas, Ariz., on Monday, while responding to reports of possible drug smuggling. When agents tried to contact those inside, the vehicle suddenly stopped and two people fled into Mexico. Agents said they found 3,200 pounds of marijuana stashed in the truck worth an estimated $1.6 million. Smugglers have used catapults, tunnels and panga boats to get drugs across the U.S. border.
NRA says criticism was mistake: The National Rifle Association has learned the hard way not to mess with Texas. After chastising some of its Texas supporters for bringing long guns to fast-food outlets to demonstrate their commitment to gun rights, the NRA has been forced to apologize and say its criticism was a mistake. "The truth is, an alert went out that referred to this type of behavior as 'weird' or somehow not normal, and that was a mistake," Chris Cox, the executive director of the group's lobbying arm, said. "It shouldn't have happened," he added, because the NRA "unequivocally" supports open carry laws.
Candidate charged in election case: South Dakota authorities on Wednesday arrested defeated U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth and charged her with multiple counts of perjury and filing false election documents, saying she fraudulently attested to gathering voter signatures when she was really on a Christian mission trip to the Philippines. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley charged Bosworth with six counts of perjury and six counts of filing false documents related to election campaign laws. The arrest warrant was served a day after Bosworth lost the Republican primary with just 6 percent of the vote.
Briefly trapped in courthouse: Janis Lane, the Central Mississippi Tea Party president became trapped in a county courthouse in Jackson in the middle of the night, hours after officials had stopped counting votes in a Republican Senate primary that's headed to a runoff. Lane has been campaigning for months for Chris McDaniel, a tea party-backed challenger who's trying to unseat six-term Sen. Thad Cochran. Hinds County Republican executive committee chairman Pete Perry, who's supporting Cochran, said Lane called him at 2 a.m. Wednesday, saying she and a friend were locked inside the Hinds County Courthouse, that nobody else was inside and they needed help getting out.