The new British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her cabinet today.

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 http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Book News: Battle Rages On In Amazon Vs. Overstock Price War

Aug 2, 2013
Originally published on August 2, 2013 8:51 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • A price war between Amazon.com and Overstock.com will stretch into a second week, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne told Publisher's Weekly. Overstock started it last week when it priced 360,000 books 10 percent lower than what Amazon was charging, and Amazon responded by dropping prices on many of its most popular books. As of Friday morning, for example, the hardcover edition of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl was $11.81 on Amazon and $10.63 on Overstock — a huge markdown from the list price of $25. The hardcover edition of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (list price $17.99) was only $7.43 on Overstock on Friday, and $9.24 on Amazon, though at one point last week it was even lower. Byrne told CNET that he's willing to race to the bottom: "If they go to 10 cents, I'll go to 9 cents." PW reports that Byrne "plans to keep up the pressure on Amazon by continuing the deep discounts through midnight August 7."
  • A school in Queens, N.Y., dropped Sherman Alexie's National Book Award-winning young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian from its required reading list after parents complained that the book mentions masturbation. One mother told The New York Daily News, "It was like Fifty Shades of Grey for kids." The book is a semi-autobiographical novel about a kid growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation who leaves the reservation to attend a white school nearby. After his book was banned by an Oregon school in 2008, Alexie told The Bulletin newspaper, "Everything in the book is what every kid in that school is dealing with on a daily basis, whether it's masturbation or racism or sexism or the complications of being human."
  • Alexander Maksik tells The Atlantic how the E.E. Cummings poem "i sing of Olaf glad and big" made him want to become a writer: "In that classroom, at twelve years old, I was so angry, so sad on Olaf's behalf, so hypnotized by my pacing teacher. I wanted to do something about it. And if a short poem could make me feel this way, could show me something I'd never seen, well then what I wanted to do was write."
  • Author Orhan Pamuk spoke to Pankaj Mishra at The New Republic about Turkey and the future of the novel: "[T]he art of the novel has immense continuity, because it has elasticity. It can use anthropology, it can use essays, New Journalism, blogs, the Internet. You can make novels out of everything. Journalists call and say, 'Mr. Pamuk, the art of the novel is dying.' No, it's not. It's strong, everyone is writing them, everyone wants to read them. ... I think the form has immense possibilities."
  • The American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson bought a ring owned by Jane Austen last year for about $228,000, but British authorities have barred her from taking it out of the U.K. until the end of September in the hopes that a British person will buy the gold and turquoise ring. The British culture minister Ed Vaizey told several newspapers, "Jane Austen's modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a UK buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation." One wonders whether Greece will cite this incident next time they ask that their national treasures be returned from the British Museum.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.