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


Energy Standards For Ceiling Fans Spin Up D.C. Debate

Jul 22, 2013
Originally published on July 29, 2013 11:48 am



In these dog days of summer, a ceiling fan still offers an inexpensive way to cool down - except maybe in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., where a partisan battle is heating up over efficiency standards proposed by the Obama administration. The Energy Department is in the early stages of crafting new rules to encourage the spread of ceiling fans that use less electricity, but House Republicans want to put that idea on ice. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Ceiling fans are among the many household appliances the Obama administration thinks could be more efficient, as the government tries to squeeze more performance out of every kilowatt of electricity. In a closely watched speech on climate change this summer, President Obama said making appliances more efficient saves money for consumers while cutting down on carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The good news is, simple upgrades don't just cut that pollution. They put people to work, manufacturing and installing smarter lights and windows and sensors and appliances. And the savings show up in our electricity bills every month, forever.

HORSLEY: Government regulations have already produced more efficient refrigerators and dishwashers. But when the Energy Department set its sights on ceiling fans, congresswoman Marsha Blackburn hit the ceiling. Earlier this month, the Tennessee Republican took to the floor of the House in protest.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN: We've already seen the federal government stretch their regulatory tentacles into our homes and determine what kind of light bulbs we have to use. Now, they're coming after our ceiling fans. It is a sad state of affairs when even our ceiling fans aren't safe from this administration. Enough is enough.

HORSLEY: At the congresswoman's urging, House Republicans voted to block the administration from moving forward with the ceiling fan standards. Never mind that like the light bulb rules, the process of regulating ceiling fans began during the Bush administration. That generates a certain irony, says Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy.

KATERI CALLAHAN: These are not Republican versus Democrat kinds of standards. These are standards that help everyone.

HORSLEY: Congresswoman Blackburn is from Memphis, a city that's home to the Hunter Fan Co., he nation's biggest ceiling fan supplier. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Blackburn is a native of Mississippi and lives in Williamson County, Tenn.] Hunter did not return calls for comment. But the American Lighting Association, a trade group that represents fan makers, says the industry, as a whole, has not taken a position on the proposed efficiency standards. Association Vice President Larry Lauck says there is always a concern that new rules could drive up prices.

LARRY LAUCK: You've got to weigh the cost benefit of each standard. And if it's going to drive up the cost of manufacturing a new fan, would the consumer buy that new fan versus just turning up their air-conditioner and not installing a new ceiling fan?

HORSLEY: Backers say the Energy Department already takes cost into account when drafting efficiency rules, including not only the upfront cost of the fan but also, the electricity needed to operate it.

CAREY SMITH: Most ceiling fans use an incredibly inefficient motor. That technology hasn't changed in a hundred years. And so we looked at that and we said, we can do better than that.

HORSLEY: That's Carey Smith, CEO of Big Ass Fans in Lexington, Ky. His company makes some of the most efficient ceiling fans on the market. They use about 70 percent less electricity than the average model.

SMITH: There are people that pay attention to this sort of thing, and there are people that don't. But I think it's important - as a country, as an economy - that you move in that direction. There is a big, big play in conservation. And if you simply don't use the power to do what you typically do around the house, that's what the country ought to be about.

HORSLEY: House Republicans want to slash funding for energy efficiency. The same bill that freezes ceiling fan standards would also cut efficiency funds to their lowest level since the Energy Department was founded in 1977. The Alliance to Save Energy's Kateri Callahan says that's shortsighted.

CALLAHAN: All government spending is not bad. The House of Representatives is trying to be penny-wise and - completely - they're being pound-foolish.

HORSLEY: The Obama administration has threatened a veto of the House bill, so the issue is not going away. With or without new ceiling fan standards, hot air in the nation's capital will continue to go round and round.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

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