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.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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5-Year High In Consumer Confidence Bodes Well For Economy

Jun 25, 2013
Originally published on June 25, 2013 1:30 pm

The economy "is unlikely to slow in the short-term, and may even moderately pick up," economist Lynn Franco predicted Tuesday as the Conference Board released its latest survey on consumer confidence.

The business research group, where Franco is director of economic indicators, said its index rose to a five-year high of 81.4 in June — up from May's 74.3. The index is based on surveys of Americans.

According to Franco, the index rose in large part because "consumers are considerably more positive about current business and labor market conditions than they were at the beginning of the year."

If consumers are feeling better about how things are going, that's good news for the economy because it suggests that in coming months Americans will be more willing to spend. That spending, in turn, could help spur job growth — and, potentially, create a "virtuous circle" in which stronger confidence boosts spending, which boosts hiring, which boosts confidence ... and so on.

There were other positive economic indicators released Tuesday, including:

-- Word from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development that sales of new homes rose 2.1 percent in May from April, and were up 29 percent from May 2012.

-- Another report from the Census Bureau said orders for so-called durable goods (appliances, equipment and other long-lasting products) rose 3.6 percent in May from April.

Stocks are trading higher in New York following this news. As of 11 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up about 112 points (0.75 percent) from Monday's close.

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