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


London Puts Stop To Sidewalk Bins That Track Cellphones

Aug 12, 2013
Originally published on August 12, 2013 1:37 pm

The city of London has ordered a company to cease tracking the cellphones of pedestrians who pass its recycling bins, which also double as kiosks showing video advertisements. The bins logged data about any Wi-Fi-enabled device that passed within range.

The company, called Renew, recently added the tracking technology to about a dozen of the 100 bins it had installed before London hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics.

"The idea," as the website Quartz wrote last week, "is to bring internet tracking cookies to the real world." The title of the Quartz post that first reported the tracking program was, "This recycling bin is following you."

That story generated concern in Britain, with privacy advocates saying the program went too far in tracking people's movements without their consent. Such systems could report new or repeat visits to an area and, if combined with data from trackers in stores and elsewhere, could form a detailed picture of a consumer's habits.

The system reportedly used technology from Presence Orb, whose website features the tagline "a cookie for the real world."

As Quartz reports, the practice of monitoring smartphones and similar devices isn't as regulated as online tracking. And unlike a computer logging an Internet cookie, most mobile devices do not record contact with tracking systems that detect and record the devices' attempts to connect to a Wi-Fi network.

From the BBC:

"The bins, which are located in the Cheapside area of central London, log the media access control (MAC) address of individual smartphones — a unique identification code carried by all devices that can connect to a network."

That reportedly ended Monday, when a spokesman for the city of London's local authority says, "We have already asked the firm concerned to stop this data collection immediately and we have also taken the issue to the Information Commissioner's Office. Irrespective of what's technically possible, anything that happens like this on the streets needs to be done carefully, with the backing of an informed public."

In a statement issued Monday, Renew says the program was merely a trial of "a glorified counter on the street," which it is no longer conducting.

"I'm afraid that in the interest of a good headline and story there has been an emphasis on style over substance that makes our technology trial slightly more interesting than it is," company CEO Kaveh Memari said. He added that many of the capabilities reported in the media had not yet been developed, saying that the program had resulted in "extremely limited, encrypted, anonymous/aggregated data."

British privacy group Big Brother Watch welcomed London's move to end the program, but it added that such monitoring shouldn't have been done in the first place.

"Systems like this highlight how technology has made tracking us much easier," Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles tells the BBC, "and in the rush to generate data and revenue there is not enough of a deterrent for people to stop and ensure that people are asked to give their consent before any data is collected."

The broader vulnerability of cellphones was highlighted in an NPR report earlier this summer, when Laura Sydell explained "How hackers tapped into my cellphone for less than $300."

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