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


U.S. Men's Soccer Is On A Roll — All The Way To Rio?

Aug 4, 2013
Originally published on August 4, 2013 2:55 pm

At the beginning of 2013 — with only a year before soccer's crown jewel event, the World Cup in Brazil — all was not rosy with the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team. There was that 0-0 tie with Canada, and then a 2-1 loss to Honduras in a World Cup qualifier.

But now, the cry is, "Break up the Americans!"

OK, that's a bit of an overreaction to Sunday's CONCACAF Gold Cup victory. The United States' 1-0 win over Panama in the championship game isn't exactly sending a chill through the rest of the world soccer community. The Gold Cup is something the U.S. should win, having done so four times now since 2002.

Still, there's plenty to feel good about after the team's undefeated run through the North and Central American regional tournament.

The U.S. outscored opponents 20 goals to 4, led by Chris Wondolowski and veteran Landon Donovan, who had five goals each. The six victories stretched the American winning streak to a record 11 games. And the Gold Cup revealed how deep the team is: The U.S. essentially fielded a B team, prompting fans to dream about what the men could do at full strength.

Return Of An Icon

Perhaps the most exciting part of the Gold Cup was the return, in bold, of Donovan. His inspired play after a self-imposed sabbatical from the game motivated his younger teammates and appeared to smooth over a fraying relationship with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The coach wasn't exactly overjoyed when Donovan — who executive editor Mike Woitalla calls the greatest player ever for the U.S. — took a months-long break on the eve of World Cup qualifying games.

Klinsmann made it clear that the all-time leader among U.S. men in scoring and assists would have to earn his way back onto the national team.

"Because of what he has achieved in the past, his benchmark is higher than all of the others," Klinsmann said. "We had honest conversations about it, and I said, 'I want the best Landon ever.'"

Donovan met expectations and then some. Now it seems he'll once again be an integral part of the U.S. men's effort to take on the world next year in Brazil.

Beyond The Plateau?

World Cup success has been an elusive goal for the U.S. men, aside from that semifinal finish in 1930 — the Americans' best-ever showing. Since then, there's been the occasional shock of upsets — a 1-0 win over England in 1950 and a 2-1 win over world No. 4 Colombia in 1994. But mostly, it's been first- and second-round exits.

Woitalla says the men have been on a plateau for almost two decades, never reaching the level of consistent, successful World Cup performers such as Brazil, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. He thinks it's because of the kinds of players suiting up for team USA.

"We have more good players than we've ever had," Woitalla says, "but the number of truly exceptional players — the ones who can do the unpredictable things on the field, the wonderful, creative moves and playmaking — the number of those [players] really hasn't increased."

The 2014 World Cup, for which Woitalla says the U.S. is certain to qualify, will feature two Americans with those exceptional qualities: Donovan and Clint Dempsey. But he believes the U.S. should have had 10 Donovans and Dempseys by now.

One big problem is the way this country's youth soccer is structured — it's not necessarily conducive to producing and nurturing intuitive, creative players, he says. And there are two main issues he says soccer officials and coaches are trying to address:

  • Youth soccer is expensive and thus out of reach for kids who may have the talent but not the resources.
  • Over-coaching: Kids aren't being allowed to experiment and take risks and make mistakes. You have to make mistakes, Woitalla says, while you're becoming a player who can improvise and do brilliant things with the feet.

Woitalla thinks there's been progress. He says a growing Hispanic community, passionate about soccer, is getting more opportunities to enter the mainstream of the sport.

And at the elite level, he thinks coach Klinsmann is the kind of charismatic leader who can take the current crop of top players and mold them into something special.

The Gold Cup victory is an early indicator. A significant run in Brazil next June would be the proof.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit