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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Booze Restores Vigor, Nine Of 10 Charlatans Agree

Aug 10, 2013
Originally published on August 10, 2013 8:05 pm

Feeling bilious? Have a swig of tonic. Got a kid with a toothache? A dab of cocaine tooth powder could do the trick.

Much to the shock of our 21st-century sensibilities, popular remedies of the late 19th century often contained strong mind-altering substances like cocaine and opium. And while patients may not have understood what the ingredients were or what they did, these heavy-hitting patent drugs could deliver a feeling of well-being, which may, in some cases, have led to actual well-being.

Medical historian Fred Gibbs explains this counterintuitive take on an age that is more widely thought of in terms of quackery. First of all, he tells Shots, "the placebo effect is very powerful, and we underestimate that. Making a patient feel like they're getting better actually makes them better." A fact which has been well-studied in modern medicine.

We called him up after hearing about an exhibition, called "Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions," at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md., where Gibbs gave a talk a few months back.

"There wasn't as much of a distinction between good medicine and bad medicine at the time," says Gibbs. "Patients have always known that drugs taken in the wrong amount can be dangerous, so there has always been a gray area between medicine and poison. That gray area was far larger than it is now," he says.

Over time, what was acceptable and verboten changed. Side effects and problems with addiction became clearer.

But not always. Society has always had a particularly complicated relationship with alcohol. "In 16th century Germany, brandy was like moonshine, made in basements. It was seen as this bad thing, but then physicians starting using it and it became a miracle drug, then the government started taxing it and it became this high-class product," Gibbs says.

Drugs, especially those with mind-altering effects, seem to flow perpetually back and forth across this Rubicon between good and bad, medicine and poison.

Historically, the ebb and flow of our acceptance of strong drugs seems to be about more than just the drug itself. "Perceptions of medicines, drugs, and poisons are intimately tied up with who is using it and who we think should be using it," Gibbs says.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.