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

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Chemical Weapons Claims Spur Calls For Force Against Syria

Aug 22, 2013
Originally published on August 22, 2013 3:11 pm

Claims by the opposition in Syria that President Bashar Assad's forces used chemical weapons during an attack Wednesday near Damascus — killing scores of people, they say — are being followed Thursday by word that:

-- "The French foreign minister has said that the international community would need to respond with force if allegations were proven that Syrian government forces carried out a mass chemical attack on civilians." (The Guardian)

-- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is also urging that action be taken "to prevent further chemical strikes." (The Wall Street Journal) "This event is one that cannot be ignored anymore," Mr. Davutoglu said.

Still, as the BBC's Nick Bryant reports, "meeting in emergency session, the United Nations Security Council failed to reach an agreement on a toughly worded statement condemning the alleged atrocity in Damascus. ... Once again we saw the usual divisions between the Russians and the Chinese on one hand and the Americans, the British, the French on the other."

The Assad regime rejects the allegations about use of chemical weapons. There have been countercharges that opposition forces might have deployed such weapons or staged the videos that popped up Wednesday on the Web — videos showing scores of people who were allegedly victims of a chemical attack. United Nations inspectors are now in Syria to investigate earlier reports about the use of chemical weapons, and the regime alleges that the opposition is trying to influence those inspectors.

On Morning Edition, Financial Times correspondent Abigail Fielding-Smith reported from Beirut that "my gut reaction and the reaction of most of the analysts I've spoken to is that ... these videos — there are simply too many of them, and too many of them involve children who ... I don't see how they could be coached to act [out] those kinds of things. ... It just seems highly implausible that the entire kind of range of symptoms that we've seen and people in distress are some kind of movie."

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that Assad's forces "pressed on with a military offensive in eastern Damascus on Thursday, bombing rebel-held suburbs where the opposition said a chemical weapons attack the day before killed over 100 people."

Update at 2 p.m. ET. U.S. Has Not "Conclusively" Determined That The Weapons Were Used:

"At this time we are unable to conclusively determine chemical weapon use," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday afternoon. "We are focused on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts."

Update at 3:05 p.m. ET. U.S. Calling On Syria To Allow U.N. Inspectors:

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that the U.S. is calling on Syria to allow United Nations inspectors to visit the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki says Secretary of State John Kerry has been working the phones and President Obama has asked the intelligence community to do what it can to determine the facts.

"At this time, right now, we are not able to conclusively determine chemical weapons use, but we are focused every minute of every day since these events happened yesterday on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts," Psaki says.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit