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/.

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President Unveils Plan To Boost College Affordability

Aug 22, 2013
Originally published on August 22, 2013 7:25 pm

Saying a college education is the "surest path to the middle class," President Obama announced a plan Thursday to allocate federal aid to colleges and universities based in part on their affordability.

Speaking at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, the president said that over the last 30 years, there's been a 250 percent increase in the cost of higher education, while at the same time incomes have risen just 16 percent. Meanwhile, he said, the states have cut back dramatically on their allocations for higher education.

"The average student who graduates from college owes $26,000, some more than that," he said.

Obama outlined three main goals of the new system, the linchpin of which is a rating system that would judge institutions of higher learning "not just by which is the most selective, not just by which is the most expensive, not just by the one with the best facilities," he said, "but by the one that is the biggest bang for the buck."

He said under his plan, colleges "are not going to be increasing tuition year after year and passing it along to students and parents."

The president said the goal was to direct federal dollars to colleges and universities that produce results and divert it from the ones that leave students with "crushing debt" and few job prospects.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports that the administration hopes to get the scores in place by fall of 2015 and for Congress to tie federal funding to the new rankings.

Under the plan, colleges would receive a bonus based on how many students they graduate who received federal Pell Grants, a proposal aimed at getting more low- and moderate-income students to attend college. The proposal would also require colleges with high dropout rates to disburse aid throughout the year instead of annually, a measure designed to make sure that students who drop out don't get any more aid.

The Washington Post writes:

"First, the ratings would reward colleges that offer 'value.' A school that holds down average tuition and student-loan debt could rise in the ratings, which means that the system would act as an incentive for colleges to keep those costs as low as possible.

"In addition, higher-rated schools would qualify for larger federal grants, making them more affordable for students."

"Higher education, he said, 'cannot be a luxury. It is an economic imperative.' "

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.