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/.

Pages

Glacier Helps U.S. Ski Team Drift Ahead Of Competition

Aug 1, 2013
Originally published on August 1, 2013 6:09 pm

The U.S. women's cross-country ski team has never won an Olympic medal. But that could change in Sochi, Russia, in February. The team has a secret weapon: a pristine glacier high above the mountains of Anchorage.

On the ground, it's summer. But as soon as the helicopter crests the mountain: winter. The snowy white Eagle Glacier stretches out for miles, rimmed by rocky peaks.

Alaska Pacific University runs training camps on the glacier every summer for its Olympic development team and other elite cross-country skiers. The athletes spend a week at a time on the glacier, sleeping and eating in a dorm that sits on shale rock just beyond the snow. They put in long hours skiing each day.

Coach Erik Flora stands at the edge of the course, offering pointers to skiers during a practice speed relay. He yells "go, go, go, go!" as the skiers begin to practice.

The glacier course is carefully probed to make sure there are no crevasses underneath. Flora designed it to mimic the Olympic venue in Russia. The snow is soft, sugary and wet after baking in the summer sun. It's not exactly first-rate skiing. But when the team had a chance to test the Sochi course during the World Cup last winter, it felt very familiar, says Alaska Pacific University skier Kikkan Randall.

"We all kind of looked at each other and went, 'This looks just like Eagle Glacier snow,' " she says. "So I think even though it's maybe not the most glorious conditions to ski in, learning how to be technically efficient in this kind of softer snow is going to help us out tremendously. And then if you've done your good work, you just get out there and do what you always do, and hopefully it's a gold medal moment."

Randall is the best sprint cross-country skier in the world and the favorite for a gold medal in Sochi. A decade ago, a top 30 finish for the U.S. was a cause for celebration. Now, a handful of the U.S. women could medal at next year's Olympics. The team proved its depth last winter when it won bronze in a four-person relay at a World Cup event in Sweden. That was an incredible moment, says Anchorage skier Holly Brooks.

"It's funny because you go around town and people are like, 'Yeah, that race you guys won.' And it's like, 'Well, actually we didn't win, we got third,' " she says, "But in our minds we won because nothing like that had ever happened before."

If the U.S. team does bring home an Olympic medal, Eagle Glacier can take some credit. It's one of the few places in the world where cross-country skiers can train on snow in the summer. The weather can be awful. The glacier attracts fog and clouds, along with wind, sleet, rain and snow. But Coach Flora sees that as an asset, says Brooks, since so many of the most important ski races happen in horrible weather:

"Erik's favorite thing to say when it's crappy outside: 'Guys, it's championship day!' " she says.

At the practice championship relay on the glacier, the skiers cross the finish within seconds of each other. As they catch their breath, Flora scoops up an armload of snow and begins an impromptu awards ceremony. "And in first place, being awarded a massive piece of Eagle Glacier ice ..." he says.

The skiers don't get much time to enjoy their victory, though. Flora quickly has them back out on the course, putting in more training time on Eagle Glacier.

Copyright 2013 Alaska Public Radio Network. To see more, visit http://www.aprn.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This February, the U.S. women's cross country ski team will head to Sochi, Russia, hoping to win an Olympic medal. It would be their first. The team boasts the best sprint skier in the world and an expanding roster of world-class talent. Summer training usually involves giving up on snow. But as Alaska Public Radio Network's Annie Feidt reports, the U.S. women have a secret weapon, a pristine glacier high above the mountains of Anchorage.

ANNIE FEIDT, BYLINE: The helicopter flight to Eagle Glacier is the most dramatic elevator ride of your life, 6,000 feet nearly straight up. On the ground, it's summer. But as soon as the helicopter crests the mountain: winter. The snowy white glacier stretches out for miles, rimmed by rocky peaks. We land next to a neatly groomed cross-country ski course.

ERIK FLORA: All right, ladies.

FEIDT: Coach Erik Flora stands at the edge of the course, offering pointers to skiers during a practice speed relay.

FLORA: Go, go, go, go, go.

FEIDT: Alaska Pacific University runs training camps on the glacier every summer for its Olympic development team and other elite cross-country skiers. The athletes spend a week at a time on the glacier, sleeping and eating in a dorm that sits on shale rock just beyond the snow. They put in long hours skiing each day. On this morning, Flora is watching to see how poppy, as he puts it, the skiers look in the legs, among other things.

FLORA: In the downhills, we're looking for how they take the turns, like the lines they pick, body position, you know, just trying to find different ways to find that extra 2 or 3 percent and then just pure racing skills.

FEIDT: The glacier course is carefully probed to make sure there are no crevasses underneath. Flora designed it to mimic the Olympic venue in Russia. The snow is soft, sugary and wet after baking in the summer sun. It's not exactly first rate skiing. But Alaska Pacific University skier Kikkan Randall says when the team had a chance to test the Sochi course on the World Cup last winter, it felt very familiar.

KIKKAN RANDALL: We all kind of looked at each other and went this looks just like Eagle Glacier snow. So I think even though it's maybe not the most glorious conditions to ski in, learning how to be technically efficient in this kind of softer snow is going to help us out tremendously. And then if you've done your good work and you just get out there and do what you always do, and hopefully, it's a gold medal moment.

FEIDT: Randall is the best sprint cross-country skier in the world and the favorite for a gold medal in Sochi. A decade ago, a top 30 finish for the U.S. was a cause for celebration. Now, a handful of the U.S. women could medal at the Olympics. The team proved its depth last winter when it won bronze in a four-person relay at a World Cup event in Sweden. Anchorage skier Holly Brooks says it was an incredible moment.

HOLLY BROOKS: It's funny because you go around town and people are like, yeah, that race you guys won. It's like, well, actually, we didn't win. We got third, but in our minds, we won because nothing like that had ever happened before.

FEIDT: If the U.S. team does bring home an Olympic medal, Eagle Glacier can take some credit. It's one of the only places in the world where cross-country skiers can train on snow in the summer. The weather can be awful. The glacier attracts fog and clouds, along with wind, sleet, rain and snow. But Brooks says Coach Erik Flora sees that as an asset, since so many of the most important ski races happen in horrible weather.

BROOKS: Eric's favorite thing to say when it's crappy outside, guys, it's championship day.

FEIDT: At the practice championship relay on the glacier, the skiers cross the finish within seconds of each other. As they catch their breath, Flora scoops up an armload of snow and begins an impromptu awards ceremony.

FLORA: In first place being awarded a massive piece of Eagle Glacier ice. Now, you're going to have to hold this.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

FEIDT: The skiers don't get much time to enjoy their victory, though. Flora quickly has them back out on the course, putting in more training time on Eagle Glacier.

For NPR News, I'm Annie Feidt in Anchorage. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.