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General Motors CEO Mary Barra said she has put two GM engineers on leave in connection with faulty ignition switches that have forced the recall of 2.6 million vehicles worldwide and are linked to 31 crashes and 12 deaths in the U.S., plus one fatal crash in Canada.

The two, not identified by name or by their connection to the switch snafu within GM, are being paid while on leave. GM did not say if they eventually would be fired or provide other specifics.

"This is an interim step as we seek the truth about what happened," Barra said. "It was a difficult decision, but I believe it is best for GM."

The move follows a briefing from Anton Valukas, the former U.S. attorney overseeing an independent investigation into circumstances leading to the recall.

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