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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


After 11 Hours, Texas State Senator's Filibuster Fails

Jun 26, 2013
Originally published on June 26, 2013 11:13 am



This was the scene last night in the Texas Capitol building.


MONTAGNE: Crowds who came out to support a nearly 11-hour filibuster by Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis erupted in screams in an attempt to stop a vote on a bill that would have forced all but a handful of abortion clinics in Texas to close. That's because, among other things, the bill would require clinics be upgraded to ambulatory surgical centers, something that the clinics say they can't afford.

For more on the midnight drama, we turn to Ben Philpott. He's a political reporter with member station KUT. And good morning, after what must have been a long night for you.

BEN PHILPOTT, BYLINE: A very long night, but very exciting, as well.

MONTAGNE: You were there at the capitol for part of this. Tell us the story of Wendy Davis' filibuster.

PHILPOTT: Well, you know, it all starts when she comes out that morning with her pink tennis shoes on. For a filibuster, you are not allowed to lean on anything. You cannot use anything to prop yourself up. You have to stand the entire time, obviously, and you cannot stop talking about the bill at hand, which is something that got her into trouble later in the evening. And so it was a grueling 11 hours.

MONTAGNE: And it didn't end until just before midnight, and I've seen pictures of people there at the capitol on that rotunda, sort of circling up three floors to see this filibuster. But also, nationwide, this became a social media sensation.

PHILPOTT: Yeah, it really steamrolled throughout the day. You got more and more people using the hashtag #StandwithWendy, including national political figures, different celebrities. So it just kept building on itself.

MONTAGNE: Ben, let's get back to the bill itself. What would this law have done?

PHILPOTT: Well, it would have made the clinics upgrade to ambulatory surgical centers, as you mentioned earlier. Also, it would have restricted abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and it would have also required any doctor at a clinic to get admitting rights at a local hospital, a hospital about 30 miles from the clinic, which, you know, in rural Texas, is a big deal. You don't have a hospital within 30 miles of some of these clinics, let alone one that would then be willing to give you admitting privileges.

MONTAGNE: So something like three dozen clinics in Texas say they will have to shut down, leaving, basically, clinics only in the big cities. But on the other hand, this is a very popular bill, as well, right? And the legislature there in Texas is dominated by Republicans, and they want this - something like this bill to become law there.

PHILPOTT: That's right. And the whole point of this bill, they argue, is about women's safety. They say, well, look, if an ambulatory surgical center is a safer place for any kind of surgery or procedure, then isn't that the kind of place that you would want a woman to have this procedure where things can go wrong from time to time? And this would be the best place to make sure that the abortion is performed safely.

MONTAGNE: The bill did not pass, so what is next?

PHILPOTT: At the moment, there is no next. Governor Rick Perry would have to call another special session for this bill to be brought up again, although early this morning, as the session was ending and the lieutenant governor was announcing that the bill did not pass, he did end the session by saying, thanks. It's been fun, and we'll see you again soon.

MONTAGNE: OK. Well, thank you very much for joining us.

PHILPOTT: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: Ben Philpott is the political reporter at member station KUT in Austin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.