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 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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True, Blue Planet Found Orbiting Nearby Star

Jul 11, 2013
Originally published on July 11, 2013 2:37 pm

Move over, Earth. There's another blue planet in town — or at least in our corner of the Milky Way.

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope deduced for the first time the atmospheric hue of a planet outside our own solar system — and it turns out to be a "deep cobalt blue."

But the similarities between HD 189733b, as the alien world is unpoetically known, and Earth, pretty much end there: While oceans of liquid water give our world its azure tint, that's unlikely the case with HD 189733b, which orbits a star just 63 light years away from us.

The planet in question is what's known as a "hot Jupiter" — a term that describes both its large mass and nearness to its parent star. Nature elaborates, describing the weather on HD 189733b as extremely hot and windy, with occasional glass rain:

"Although the planet seems to be the shade of a deep ocean, it is unlikely to host liquid water. The exoplanet is a giant ball of gas, similar to Jupiter, and was previously often painted brown and red in artists' impressions.

"The blue color may come from clouds laden with reflective particles that contain silicon — essentially raindrops of molten glass. Evidence for this idea dates to 2007, when Hubble observed the planet passing in front of its star. Light from the star seemed to be passing through a haze of particles."

But Hubble's optical resolution isn't good enough to actually "see" the planet. Instead, astronomers analyzed spectroscopically the light from the parent star and the planet together (during an eclipse from our vantage point), then measured it again when the planet was behind the star. The observation from the star minus the planet was less blue, indicating that is the color of the planet itself. According to Nature:

"During the eclipse, the amount of observed blue light decreased, whereas other colours remained unaffected. This indicated that the light reflected by the planet's atmosphere, blocked by the star in the eclipse, is blue. ...

" 'This is the first time this has been done for optical wavelengths,' said Alan Boss, an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC. 'It's a technical tour de force.' The amount of visible light bouncing off a planet is typically small compared to light fluctuations in a star, making planets difficult to distinguish. Fortunately, HD 189733 b is large relative to other exoplanets — and well illuminated."

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