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


'Closed Circuit' Targets Big Brother, But Swings Pretty Wide

Aug 28, 2013

A massive explosion rocks a covered market, but Central London still looks mighty handsome in the British thriller Closed Circuit. So does the actress Rebecca Hall. Decked out in blacks, creams and grays, she and her city both are sleek, elegant and more than a little forbidding, even if they're softened by pockets of olde worlde soul.

Hall plays Claudia, a lawyer assigned to monitor the government's closed-court use of classified evidence against the bombing's one surviving suspect, Faroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto). Erdogan is a Turk with an apparent drug habit, and when his lawyer dies without warning, Claudia finds herself partnered with his replacement, Martin, played by Eric Bana with consistently clenched jaw and inconsistent slippage into Aussie diction.

Needless to say, the two were lovers once, a fact they agree to gloss over in preliminary talks with the judge (Cameron Fischer) and the Attorney General, a fishy customer played with chilling bonhomie by Jim Broadbent. The lie will pop up later to change the game.

In a twist apparently based on real-life developments in criminal law, Claudia's exposure to classified evidence forbids any communication with her colleague. So much for that: When Claudia and Martin find out that Erdogan is not who he seems to be, the pair join forces to uncover what may be an unsavory alliance between Britain's secret service and its criminal justice system.

There's been a cover-up, you see, and as the two try to protect a compromised informant, dodge unidentified thugs and count the bodies of other potential whistle-blowers who know more than is good for them — The New York Times fares poorly — chemistry seeps back between Martin and Claudia.

Seeps is the word: Like almost everything in this emotionally attenuated movie, their attraction is honored more in the breach than in the observance. Expect no nookie; this is — earnestly, strenuously and very slowly — a movie about Right and Wrong.

Though clearly influenced by American paranoid thrillers of the 1970s, Closed Circuit, which is directed by John Crowley (Boy A, Intermission), is a clunky creature. And no amount of split-screen devilry, meaningful cutaways to the Houses of Parliament or taut string scoring can paper over the cumulative improbabilities of the storyline. In Steve Knight's heavy-breathing script, no one gets to open his or her mouth unless it's to push the plot along or underline big themes of government malfeasance and injustice.

In fact, Closed Circuit is less about terrorism and blowing stuff up than it is a disquisition about our ever-deepening mistrust of government. More topical than true, the film plays our current fears of urban terrorism against escalating public anxiety about the abuse of institutional power in the name of national security.

Right now few of us would have trouble believing that government surveillance has gotten out of control, or that authorities in Western democracies are stepping all over their citizens' privacy and civil rights. But it is quite another thing to push on, as Closed Circuit does, into government-sponsored murder.

Willy-nilly, this film takes us into territory that levels all differences between democratic and totalitarian states, at least as regards their power to trample on ordinary people. Even as a fantasy about where a lack of transparency might go, left unchecked, it's storytelling informed by sloppy, absolutist thinking, and it lends one more uncritical voice to the many who seem unable to distinguish between kinds and degrees of evil — a failing that now immobilizes Western political rhetoric on both left and the right. Heaven knows, we have enough to feel paranoid about these days without Hollywood's help.

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