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


Hole Or Whole, Why Can Our Brains Hear The Difference?

Aug 27, 2013
Originally published on August 27, 2013 6:31 pm



And finally this hour, a hole. This summer, NPR's science correspondent Joe Palca has been helping us out. Occasionally, our mix of news and features doesn't completely fill our two-hour program and we end up with a few small holes to fill, so Joe has been filling them with short science-y pieces about holes. He's talked about black holes, theoretical holes, even donut holes. Here's his latest.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: After doing several stories about holes, I began to wonder whether this whole idea was such a good one. And then I thought, well, how come people don't get confused when I use the word hole in two different ways, like I did just now.

JENNIFER RODD: So what's going on with a word like hole is just an example of something that your brain is having to deal with pretty much all the time.

PALCA: Jennifer Rodd(ph) is at University College, London. She studies how our brain makes sense of these ambiguous sentences. She says usually we can sort out meaning by context.

RODD: The politicians running for election or the films running at the cinema or the rivers running through the valley.

PALCA: If context isn't available, we tend to fall back on the way the word is most commonly used.

RODD: If I say something like, can you see that pen, I haven't given you much context, but you're more like to assume I'm talking about something to write with than about an enclosure for animals.

PALCA: Another way to resolve ambiguities is recent experience. So if Robert Siegel and I just finished playing tennis and I said to him, I can't stand that racket, he'd probably think I was talking about the thing I just hit the tennis ball with and not heavy metal music or the dishonest business practices of the tennis club.

There is one occasion when people seek out ambiguity on purpose, puns, as in if gophers went extinct, it would upset the whole ecology. The hole ecology?

RODD: And for some reason that we completely don't understand, people find that funny.

PALCA: Well, if you ask me, this failure to understand the humor in puns is simply a case of scientists trying to by holier than thou. Joe Palca, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.