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 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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Everything Old Is New Again: The Toilet-Sink Edition

Jul 12, 2013
Originally published on July 12, 2013 1:52 pm

This week we featured Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons' solution to help conserve water: the seemingly ingenious "sink-urinal." It's exactly what it sounds like: a sink built on top of a urinal so that the water used to wash hands runs down to the urinal and is used for flushing. Lots of folks were taken by this design.

Our post excitedly anticipated the creation of something that might work for ladies, too. Well, if everything old is new again, then that particular new idea is in fact almost 60 years old. The combination sink-toilet has been around in Japan since 1956, according to Leonard Koren's book, 283 Useful Ideas From Japan. An excerpt of Koren's write-up:

"This system costs less than conventional toilets and comes in eight- and-16-liter sizes and a rainbow of colors. Also available for bathrooms are artificial flushing-sound generations that people can use to cover up the sound of what they're doing without wasting water."

When my husband and I moved to Japan in the late 1980s to live the impoverished graduate student life, our Yokohama apartment had a rather tiny water closet equipped with one of these efficient contraptions. The water you used in the sink to wash your hands collected in the tank (cistern) below, and that's what provided the water to flush.

In one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world, this was a rather miraculous design feature, not to mention that it preserved a precious resource — water (though it took a while for us to get used to it). And yes, for you skeptics out there, you are washing your hands with clean water.

So, if you are planning to install a powder room in a really small space, then this design has you set. In fact, one of my Washington, D.C., neighbors did just that, a perfect solution to the challenge of confined urban living.

Unfortunately for Mr. Jursons, the same people that brought us the Walkman and the bullet train and the karaoke machine have him beat on this particular design idea. And, while we are on the subject of bathroom design features, check out this all-in-one faucet and dryer from the British guy who revolutionized vacuum cleaners.

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