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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The Rise And Fall Of Slackers

Aug 31, 2013
Originally published on August 31, 2013 12:15 pm

As we pause this Labor Day weekend to celebrate the Great American Worker, we can't help but wonder: Whatever happened to the Great American Slacker?

It wasn't that long ago that slackers ruled the earth. OK, maybe ruled is a bit over the top because slackers, by definition, didn't really rule — or try very hard or take full responsibility. Whatever. But they sure were omnipresent there for a while.

"Slackers really didn't want to do anything much," says Elayne Rapping, professor emerita of American studies at the University at Buffalo. "They celebrated not having to work at much."

They slouched around on couches and quoted the tag line "Work sucks" from the 1999 film Office Space. They sang along with the Ben Folds Five slacker anthem Battle of Who Could Care Less: "I know it's cool to be so bored."

For more than a decade, the do-nothing attitude of slackers slaked a national thirst, an apathetic antidote to American drive and determination.

Type the word "slacker" into Google Trends and you will see that search engine interest in the term peaked in the United States in December 2008. Since then interest has steadily declined.

Maybe the demise began with the 2011 story in The New York Times titled "Burberry's Well-Heeled Slacker"— signaling that Madison Avenue had co-opted the posture. Or maybe it coincided with the corporate emergence of Slacker music — an Internet-based service that is anything but lazy.

Now — like pay phones and video parlors — slackers seem to be disappearing.

Rapping says the world has moved on. "I think slacker is pretty much out now," she says.

So to paraphrase Peter, Paul and Mary: "Where have all the slackers gone?"

Rapping's theory: The slacker has been "replaced by the hipster, which is very different."

Hipsters today, she says, "also live cheaply and on the fringes, but they are much more sophisticated and self-consciously ironic and, well, hip. They have attitude, and attitude is important these days as we search for identities in a changing world."

Whatever.

The Protojournalist: Experimental storytelling for the LURVers – Listeners, Users, Readers, Viewers – of NPR. @NPRtpj

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.