Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Bela Fleck On Piano Jazz

May 31, 2013

On this installment of Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi, Béla Fleck brings his jazz sensibilities to a set of originals and standards, opening with a refreshing take on Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud."

Fleck plays his solo arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner," surely one of the most original takes on Sousa's piece since Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. His virtuoso banjo picking lends a rootsy, front-porch feel to the piece. This is one instance where the term "Americana" fits perfectly.

McPartland favors her guest with a solo in an original tune, "A Delicate Balance," while Fleck and Mazzaroppi join her for a trio workout of the jazz gold standard, "All the Things You Are." Next, Fleck and McPartland get together for some free improvisation in an atonal feel that sneaks in a few bars of a groove. The two exchange skittering bars in a serious yet playful, George Russell-meets-Earl Scruggs manner.

"There's no wrong notes — either that or they're all wrong notes," Fleck says.

"I prefer to think there are no wrong ones," McPartland replies.

The pair plays a lovely duet of the ballad "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," and bassist Mazzaroppi joins in to close the session in the spirit of the Jazz Age, in a tune that was surely heard on the banjo when it was first published: "Royal Garden Blues," from 1919.

More About Béla Fleck

Béla Anton Leos Fleck was born July 10, 1958, in New York City. He was prophetically named for three composers born in the 19th century, the time of the banjo's expansion into popular music: Béla Bartok, Anton Webern and Leos Janacek. Fleck says he was captivated by the banjo after hearing Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' theme to The Beverly Hillbillies. His grandfather gifted Fleck with his first banjo at age 15. He studied French horn at New York City's High School of Music and Art, and was a banjo student under Tony Trischka. Fleck was interested in the bluegrass sound and the still-echoing reverberations of the folk explosion, but he also dug deeper into the roots of the instrument in early small jazz combos, such as Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven groups of the 1920s.

After high school, Fleck moved to Boston, where he played in the band Tasty Licks and released his first album, Crossing the Tracks, a foray into progressive bluegrass. In 1981, Fleck joined mandolin player Sam Bush to form New Grass Revival, with which he toured and recorded for nine years, including festival performances with the legendary Doc Watson and his late son, Merle. Fleck also recorded another solo album, Drive, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 1988. That same year, Fleck and bassist Victor Wooten formed Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, along with keyboardist and harmonica player Howard Levy and Wooten's percussionist brother Roy "Future Man" Wooten, who played Drumitar, his synthesizer-based drum invention. Levy left the group in 1992, and saxophonist Jeff Coffin later joined the group.

Fleck has also worked with other artists, ranging from guitarist Tony Rice and fellow banjo picker Abigail Washburn to the Dave Matthews Band, Phish and Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith). He has worked in a jazz trio with pianist Jean-Luc Ponty and bassist Stanley Clarke and performed with Chick Corea and tabla player Zakir Hussain.

Originally recorded July 28, 1995. Originally broadcast March 23, 1996.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit