New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

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: Seamus Heaney's Last Words Were 'Don't Be Afraid'

Sep 3, 2013

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

  • The last words of Seamus Heaney, the Nobel laureate and Irish poet who died last week, came in a text message to his wife: "Noli timere," Latin for "Don't be afraid," the poet's son Michael said at his father's funeral. Heaney was buried in Northern Ireland's County Derry, where he grew up and where many of his most famous poems are set. Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral, including Irish President Michael D. Higgins, taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, Sinn Fein members Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, and celebrities such as Bono. The Irish poet Paul Muldoon said in a eulogy delivered at the funeral and printed in The New Yorker, "It was Seamus Heaney's unparalleled capacity to sweep all of us up in his arms that we're honoring today. ... I'm thinking of his beauty. Today we mourn with Marie and the children, as well as the extended families, the nation, the wide world. We remember the beauty of Seamus Heaney — as a bard, and in his being."
  • Alabama state Sen. Bill Holtzclaw has asked schools to ban Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye from high school reading lists. He told the Alabama Media Group: "The book is just completely objectionable, from language to the content." The book, which tells the story of a black girl who wishes for blue eyes, includes descriptions of incest and rape. Holtzclaw's appeal comes after criticism from fellow Republicans that he failed to oppose the Department of Education's Common Core school standards.
  • The prestigious Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy were announced this weekend, honoring John Scalzi's Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas and Brandon Sanderson The Emperor's Soul, among other works.
  • Frederik Pohl, the author whom Kingsley Amis once called "the most consistently able writer science fiction, in its modern form, has yet produced," died Monday. He was 93. He won several Hugo awards and a National Book Award for science fiction. Best known for his novels, particularly 1977's The Gateway, he was also a blogger, with recent posts on subjects as various as fracking, pig farmers and H.G. Wells.

The Best Book Coming Out This Week:

  • In the new book from Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus, a man and a child arrive in a distant place, perhaps the afterlife, perhaps some socialist dystopia where blandly content people live without passion or lust ("a strange thing to be preoccupied with," one character tells the old man when he mentions sex). They remember only snatched of their previous lives, just "the shadows of memories." The man sets out to find the boy's mother, convinced he will know her when he sees her, and settles on a virgin named Ines. Coetzee's sentences are sparse, almost barren, though also characteristically lovely. This is a frustrating and captivating book, one that offers many questions and few answers.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.