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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Administration Touts Competition In Insurance Exchanges

May 30, 2013

The Obama administration is countering criticism that the new health insurance exchanges will be lacking in competition, though it's doing so a bit quietly.

At a White House briefing Thursday for health reporters, in which senior administration health officials spoke on the condition that they not be named, and in a memo, the administration insisted that in most states at least, competition will be far greater than it is today — with 120 companies having applied to offer insurance.

For example, in three-quarters of the states where the federal government is running the marketplaces, at least one new insurer has applied to enter the individual market. And nearly two-thirds of the new insurance entrants to the individual market in federally run exchanges are in states where one insurance company now dominates the market.

The officials stressed how much better competition will be than it is in the current market for individual coverage. In 2012, one insurer covered more than half of all people in the individual market in 29 states. In 11 more states, two insurers covered 85 percent or more of the individual market enrollees.

The federal government will be fully in charge of the exchanges in 19 states. It will partner with states in 15 states. The remaining 17 states will run their own marketplaces.

"We're very encouraged," one senior official said, that there will be "products on the shelves" when the marketplaces open for enrollment on October 1.

The officials also provided the first preview of something that has gotten relatively little notice so far: Multistate plans that are overseen by the Office of Personnel Management. That task was given to OPM because it oversees the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, which covers more than 8 million federal workers, including many plans that offer coverage nationwide.

Under the health law, at least two multistate plans are supposed to be offered nationwide in order to boost competition by 2017. OPM officials said they are reviewing more than 200 proposals so far and they expect multistate plans to be offered in at least 31 states in 2014. Multistate plans will be available to both individuals and small businesses, officials said.

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