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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The Drums Of War, Poolside Edition

Aug 29, 2013
Originally published on August 29, 2013 2:11 pm

NPR's Larry Abramson is traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus, or ASEAN Plus. Larry sent us this dispatch:

You cannot hear the drums of war here in Brunei, but you can hear the surf from the Brunei coast, or the sounds of splashing from the humongous pools here at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Did you know it takes 12,285,000 liters of water to fill up the pools? It says so right here in my Passport to the Empire, a guidebook to this very showy marble palace that is hosting the man who will help direct an attack on Syria, if and when it happens. It is a strange setting, a marble-lined showcase for this very oil-rich sultanate and its ruler, the supremely untweetable Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien.

This meeting will not address Syria, which is thousands of miles away. But the Middle East crisis has hijacked the headlines, making it difficult for the Pentagon to get out its message: that the U.S. is committed to its "rebalance" toward the Asia-Pacific, despite budget difficulties and the fact that old conflicts keep demanding U.S. attention.

The Japanese defense minister tells Hagel he appreciates U.S. attendance here despite the news from Syria. This occurs during the many "bilats" the Pentagon holds. A "bilat" is a half-hour or so conclave in a gilded room. A "pull-aside" is shorter. (Two "pull-asides" equal one "bilat," in case you're converting.) But the slow process of diplomacy cannot compete with the anticipation of military conflict.

The military emphasizes that it spends more time avoiding war than preparing for it, and meetings such as this one are supposed to be a good example.

The U.S. is helping ASEAN develop a "code of conduct" to help avert even small misunderstandings — such as collisions of ships at sea — that could lead to larger conflagrations. But of course, the Pentagon is also here to announce military sales, such as a plan announced this week to deliver Apache helicopters to Indonesia, or to offer the training that local governments eagerly seek for their nascent military forces.

With great power comes great responsibility. Small countries with rising economies feel they need to back their wealth with the threat of force if they are to hold onto their gains. But once they acquire the toys of war, they may also feel the pressure to use them, something the U.S. military is feeling once again.

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