The opposite of a safety feature: Recall of potentially deadly air bags goes national

Without actually acknowledging its products are defective, Japanese air bag maker Takata has agreed with the U.S. Department of Transportation to a nationwide recall of a whopping 33.8 million air bags. Defective Takata air bags have been blamed for five U.S. deaths. They can spew shrapnel when they deploy. Yikes. Reports of exploding air bags first surfaced in the mid-2000s. Honda announced the first U.S. recall for faulty Takata bags in 2008. Today’s recall is a big deal because it’s national, which is what the government had been seeking. (Previous recalls by Takata were regional.) It’s also among the largest consumer recalls in history. What you should know: Many major car brands are affected, particularly Honda, but also Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chrysler, BMW and others. If your car is affected, you should be alerted by the manufacturer, or you can search your VIN number on their recall pages. If your car is on the list, get it serviced immediately.


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Waco police to rival motorcycle gangs: Please call a truce

“We would encourage them to try and be a little peaceful and let the violence stop.” Those are the words of an appeal today from Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton to rival motorcycle gangs, asking them to declare a truce. A shootout at a local restaurant Sunday left nine dead and dozens injured; 170 were arrested. It’s a scary time in Waco, and although the threats have “toned down,” Swanton warned that more bikers could be headed to town to seek revenge — either against rival gangs, or against police. Investigators were still working through the crime scene today. Read more about the legal battles that lie ahead.

This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff’s office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang-related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on Sunday, May 17, 2015. (Photo: AP)

Patriots owner reluctantly accepts punishment doled out for Deflategate

Team owner Robert Kraft made the announcement today, at the NFL spring meetings, that the New England Patriots would not appeal, but not without saying again he thought the punishment (a $1 million fine and loss of two draft picks) was unfair. He said he made the decision out of respect for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. For the Win’s Chris Chase says bravo, Robert Kraft. “You were the bigger man in Deflategate and, in doing so, you likely ended the messy, multi-month affair that would have kept this silly controversy in the news.” But Deflategate’s not going away just yet: Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension is still pending, so stay tuned.

Robert Kraft announced Tuesday that he will not be appealing the penalties imposed by the NFL.

Grammy winner Sam Smith recovering from vocal cord surgery

Happy birthday to singing sensation Sam Smith, who turned 23 today and is recovering from successful vocal cord surgery in Boston. Smith underwent laser microsurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital to stop a recurrent problem of vocal cord bleeding. His doctor, Steven Zeitels, has performed the procedure for other vocalists, including Steven Tyler, Lionel Richie and Adele. Smith has been open on social media about his vocal-cord issues and his regret about canceling performances. The Grammy-honored, blue-eyed soul singer is expected to make a full recovery.

Sam Smith in London in February. (Photo: Joel Ryan, Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

You can now track bitcoin on the New York Stock Exchange … so what’s bitcoin, again?

The New York Stock Exchange said today that the NYSE Bitcoin Index (NYXBT) will track the U.S. dollar value of one bitcoin based on how the currency trades at select exchanges. The index gives the currency more credibility. If you’re no aficionado, here’s a quick bitcoin 101: First, it’s not an actual coin. It’s a digital currency. It launched in 2009 and allows for Internet-based, customer-to-customer transactions with more privacy features. (You don’t need a checking account, for instance, and no bank is needed to complete the transaction.) It is backed by nothing more than its own ability to hold value, in the same way gold has for most of its history. But unlike gold, you can actually get bitcoin at an ATM — at least you can in Austin.

A motion graphic explains what Bitcoin is and how Bitcoin works.
Keith Carter and Ashley M. Williams, USA TODAY Network

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This is just a drill. Swipe through more great shots from the Day in Pictures.

A South Korean navy vessel fires an anti-ship missile during an exercise off the east coast of South Korea. (Photo: South Korean Defense Ministry, AFP/Getty Images)

In notable city news, congrats to Washington, D.C., the fittest in the nation! And our condolences to Atlanta, the worst for mosquitoes. Pass the bug spray.

David Letterman says goodbye to Late Night tomorrow night. Here are some predictions for his final show.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates isn’t just a billionaire and investor. He’s a bookworm. Here are his summer reading recommendations. Grab your Surface and start reading!

Speaking of reading, here’s today’s reading list:

• “Okaaaay.” That’s how Hillary Clinton broke a long, much-scrutinized dry spell. She was quizzed by reporters Tuesday in Iowa. USA TODAY’s Martha T. Moore takes a look at her campaign thus far.

• That guy accused of going after George Zimmerman in a so-called road-rage incident? Apparently he was “fixated” on Zimmerman, police said today.

• Seven Minnesota men are accused of trying to join the Islamic State.


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This is a compilation of stories from across USA TODAY.

Contributing: Anne Godlasky, John Bacon, Rick Jervis, Maria Puente, Brett Molina, Donna Leinwand Leger, Mike Snider, Jon Swartz, Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY; Lindsay H. Jones, USA TODAY Sports; Kirk Spitzer, Special for USA TODAY

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