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

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


California's New Rules Could Change The Rideshare Game

Aug 8, 2013
Originally published on August 8, 2013 8:55 am

By now, you've probably heard of Internet-based ridesharing apps like Uber and Sidecar that let you hail a ride with the touch of a screen. They're often cheaper than taxis and because of that, they're in most major cities and their popularity is booming.

For years, cities and states — bodies that regulate transportation — have struggled to figure out what to do about them. Recently, California took the first steps towards legitimizing them.

In Los Angeles, Lyft is one of the biggest ride-sharing companies.

One of its most popular drivers is Jimmy Lucia, who goes by "Batman" and even dresses the part. In his day job, Lucia is actually an aspiring actor and movie director. Driving for Lyft is just a way to make a little extra income — even though, technically, the Dark Knight may be doing so illegally. There's a cease and desist order for Lyft and other ridesharing companies in L.A., inspired largely by taxi drivers, their business rivals. They complain companies like Lyft are just unregulated modes of public transportation. It's a battle that's playing out in other cities from Washington, D.C., to Washington state.

"It's eating into our business. They're providing essentially the same service that we are without complying with all of the regulations that we have to comply with," says William Rouse, general manager of Los Angeles Yellow Cab, an operation with more than 1,000 taxis in the greater L.A. basin. He says that by dodging those regulations — like emissions standards and fare limits — the app-based companies have an unfair advantage.

"All of our local governments mandate that we charge a set fare. We are not allowed to discount," Rouse says.

The rideshare companies are allowed to discount. Their fares are usually cheaper by about 20 percent. Rouse says that needs to be regulated for taxis to compete.

Enter the California Public Utilities Commission. The PUC recently proposed a set of rules for rideshare companies — insurance requirements, driver background checks, drug tests. It also puts all of the companies under a new legal label: Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs — not taxis.

Rouse thinks that's wrong. They collect fares, they meter rides — in his mind, they're taxis.

"You'd think if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's probably a duck," he says, "but the PUC thinks it's probably a giraffe. I don't know."

'Tides Are Turning'

The PUC still has to finalize those rules in September, but tech companies are taking the proposal as a win. John Zimmer is one of the co-founders of Lyft. He says that the PUC has set a precedent that others can follow nationally and he thinks that they will. He's been contacted by mayors, asking him to expand into their cities.

"I think the tides are turning. I think that people are realizing that we can improve safety for transportation, we can improve affordability for transportation, we can improve efficiency in transportation, and that's a good thing," Zimmer says.

Zimmer thinks that those things can happen alongside taxis. They can coexist. But driving with Lucia, you see that there's still a ways to go. He drives by a cab as he's headed to pick up a passenger, and the look he gets from its driver can best be described as steely. (You can tell a Lyft car by the pink mustache attached to the front.)

"I have had a couple of times where they pull up to me, and it looks like they want to say something, but I'm dressed as Batman and they just drive off," he says.

A strategy that's catching on. Nobody messes with the new Darth Vader driver, either.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit