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


Witness In Zimmerman Case Testifies By Skype

Jul 13, 2013
Originally published on July 13, 2013 1:22 pm



When George Zimmerman stood trial this week the prosecution called his former professor Scott Pleasants to the stand, not in person but over that social media technology called Skype. The state of Florida completed a round of questioning...


JOHN GUY: Thank you. No other questions, Your Honor.



SIMON: Before the defense could begin cross examination, the witness' Skype account was bombarded with calls from people who were outside the courtroom.


NELSON: Is that his phone that's getting those messages?

GUY: It's someone calling the destination. Yeah.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I'll get it. Just hit decline.

SCOTT PLEASANTS: I may can (unintelligible).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That's all right.

SIMON: The disgruntled judge asked the defense to switch to the plain old phone for cross examination.


NELSON: Is there another phone that you can - that we could call in to? That's not a cell phone?

SIMON: So we wondered about the implication of this kind of technology in the justice system and we spoke with social media and technology attorney John Hutchins at WABE in Atlanta, Georgia about what his concerns might be in a courtroom with witnesses dialing in over Skype.

JOHN HUTCHINS: Well, there are a couple of complications in taking any kind of video testimony, but especially like a live feed. And one in a criminal trial is the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution which simply says that criminal defendants have a right to confront their accuser or confront witnesses against them in the courtroom. The idea is that they ought to have the right to look them in the eye while they're testifying.

SIMON: There is precedent for electronic testimony, isn't there?

HUTCHINS: There is. There is a lot of precedent for videotape testimony in criminal trials where exceptions have been made in things like where you had very young victims testifying or something like that. It's not particularly novel that there was a video testimony in this trial. What is a little new is the fact that it was a live audio feed. Although I am aware of a couple other cases where judges have allowed testimony to take place over Skype.

SIMON: Sorry to play games with you, but when you say there were a couple of other trials that permitted testimony by Skype, is that just hearsay? And does that raise another point?


HUTCHINS: Well, it's not hearsay because I'm not offering my statement in court.

SIMON: Oh. You really are a lawyer.


SIMON: But does that raise concern about the hearsay clause?

HUTCHINS: Well, it raises - hearsay is just any statement that's offered out of the physical confines of the court proceedings. So an out-of-court statement is generally not admissible in court unless it falls within one of the very many exceptions to the hearsay rule.

SIMON: Yeah. So the phrase the court is not just some kind of generic term that could include voices from all over. It's an actual physical courtroom.

HUTCHINS: That's correct.

SIMON: Would attorneys have any concern that their clients, defendants, anybody they call to the stand, would be perceived in a certain way because they appear by Skype or some other electronic means?

HUTCHINS: Yeah. And one is just how it's going to appear to the jury, that the witness is not physically there because most of the other witnesses they're going to see in the trial will be physically there. And then just how is your witness going to appear on video? Some witnesses might appear better on video. Some witnesses may appear not as good on video.

And then the other issue, which was raised in the Zimmerman trial, is is the technology going to work?


SIMON: Is that going to make attorneys and judges and courts in the future reluctant just because of that to take Skype testimony?

HUTCHINS: Well, I think what's interesting about what happened in the Zimmerman trial is really that there were two technologies that were converging that made the prankster issue arise. And that was really the fact that they were using Skype on television and the user's name was broadcast for everybody to see. And so it was really more the social media aspect of Skype that caused the problem.

So people have to understand the technology they're using in the courtroom and I think that's what happened here.

SIMON: John Hutchins is a technology and social media attorney. He joins us from member station WABE in Atlanta. Thanks so much for being with us.

HUTCHINS: Thank you, Scott.

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