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: Outrage After Fox News Interview With 'Zealot' Author

Jul 29, 2013
Originally published on July 29, 2013 3:34 pm

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

  • Charges of anti-Muslim prejudice flew thick and fast following Fox News anchor Lauren Green's interview with Reza Aslan, a religious scholar and the author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Green repeatedly asked Aslan why, as a Muslim, he was interested in writing about Jesus' life. Aslan emphasized that he is a historian, answering, "Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim." Green, host of the online show Spirited Debate, went on to suggest Aslan hadn't disclosed his Muslim identity during previous media interviews. Aslan countered that he mentions his faith on the second page of the book. A post at Buzzfeed asks, "Is This The Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done?" and The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum called it "demented." The Twitter hashtag #foxnewslitcrit was spawned, full of mock interview questions such as, "Ms. Rowling, what gives you, a muggle, the right to write a book about wizards?" But as The Atlantic Wire's Connor Simpson notes, all of this could be good for Aslan: Zealot rose to the top spot on Amazon following the interview. (You can also hear Aslan speak to Fresh Air's Terry Gross and Weekend Edition's Rachel Martin about Zealot.)
  • Stephen King talked to The Atlantic about the subtle art of the opening sentence: "To get scientific about it is a little like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar."
  • American Dream Machine author Matthew Specktor spoke to The Rumpus about the life of a writer: "You can't really get anything out of it if you're not fully committed. But sacrificing one's life on the altar of literature is in some ways like sacrificing a goat to some malicious spirit. It's not always a humane or necessary decision. We go to literature because it shows us some set of humane values. It is showing us how to live. So there's a kind of perverseness or betrayal in that idea that art is somehow superior to life. Or that it's more important to write well than it is to take out the garbage."

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • Juan Gabriel Vásquez's The Sound of Things Falling is set during 1980s Colombia, at the height of the country's vicious drug wars and violent clashes between police and cartels. Critic Marcela Valdes told NPR's Lynn Neary that it is "a novel about fear and recovering from fear."
  • NPR's Linda Wertheimer called Michael Paterniti's The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese "a great piece of travel writing, storytelling, myth making and hero worship rolled into one book with a really long title." Paterniti read from his book on Weekend Edition: "That little handmade cheese in the tin and its brash lack of cynicism in a rotten year gave me a strange kind of hope. I sensed the presence of purity and transcendence. I felt I knew this cheese somehow — or would. It sat silently hoarding its secrets. How long would it wait to speak? A long time, as it turned out. But when it did, the cheese had a lot to say."
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.