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 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

Obama Meets With McCain, Graham About Syria Strikes

Sep 3, 2013
Originally published on September 3, 2013 10:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

This morning, we're looking at how Members of Congress are responding to President Obama's call for military action in Syria.

INSKEEP: In fact, we can expect to hear many voices in that debate in the coming days on MORNING EDITION.

Now, the president says Congress should approve strikes against the Syrian regime in response to its use of chemical weapons. Secretary of State Johnny Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will press for action when they appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later today.

MONTAGNE: And yesterday the president checked an important box in his bid for approval, meeting with two Republican senators whose support would be crucial.

NPR's national political correspondent, Mara Liasson, was at the White House and has this report.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The president received qualified support from Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who've been pushing for military intervention in Syria for more than a year.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: We need to do it. Frankly, it's shameful that we haven't.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Two years ago.

MCCAIN: We should have done it two years ago.

LIASSON: Previously both senators said they were inclined to vote against a limited strike because they thought that would not be enough. But McCain said after talking to Mr. Obama yesterday, he saw indications the president was willing to do more.

MCCAIN: We need to see that plan. We need to see that strategy articulated. We also have to make it clear that a vote against this would be catastrophic in its consequences, not only as far as this issue is concerned but in the future.

LIASSON: McCain said a no vote would undermine not just President Obama but future U.S. presidents as well. And it would send a message to Iran, Syria's patron, that the U.S. would turn a blind eye to Iran's push for nuclear weapons. McCain and Graham's support could help Mr. Obama win the votes of other Senate Republicans, so getting them on board was crucial.

MCCAIN: We still have significant concerns. But we believe that there is in formulation a strategy to upgrade the capabilities of the Free Syrian Army and to degrade the capabilities of Bashar Assad. Before this meeting we had not had that indication. Now it's a question whether that will be put into a concrete strategy that we can sell to our colleagues.

LIASSON: All the same, the president still faces an uphill struggle to convince lawmakers in both parties that he has a comprehensive strategy for Syria and that it's the right one. The libertarian wing of the GOP is against intervention; so are many anti-war Democrats.

Yesterday at the White House, Senator Graham said he'd try to convince fellow Republicans that there's a reason they and their war-weary constituents should care about what happens in Syria.

GRAHAM: If you can't see the connection between Syria and Iran, you're blind at a time when history needs for you to have good eyesight. The connection between Syria and Iran is clear as a bell. To disconnect these two would be a huge foreign policy, national security mistake. And I hope the president, above all else, will make that connection.

LIASSON: Graham was unsparing in his criticism of Mr. Obama, who he said had no one to blame but himself for the lack of public understanding about what's at stake.

GRAHAM: To the president: If you don't understand that the American people are not going to follow an uncertain trumpet, now's the time for you to reshape public opinion and world opinion. Take advantage of it. Tell us without any hesitation, Mr. President, what does it matter to us as a nation if this war goes on Assad wins?

I believe the president is capable of doing that, has not yet done it, but he is ready to do it. And if he's ready to do that part, I'm ready to go to my colleagues in the Congress and say now is the time for us to come together before it's too late.

LIASSON: Today, administration officials will answer questions about Syria for the first time in public when they testify in the Senate. At the White House, the president will meet with key congressional leaders.

While there is yet no consensus in support of the president's position, there is wide agreement on one thing: Mr. Obama needs to spend a lot more time and political capital selling his plan for Syria to the American public.

Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.