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

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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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Anarchists Tempt A 1 Percenter In 'The East'

May 30, 2013

In The East, a slightly batty, weirdly involving new thriller about corporate espionage and eco-terrorism, rising star Brit Marling (last seen as Richard Gere's daughter in the drama Arbitrage) plays Sarah, an ambitious young private intelligence operative and former FBI agent. You'd think the film might explore the conflict of interest in that career move, but it seems we now take it as read that one spying hand washes the other without consequence.

Sarah's boss (Patricia Clarkson, channeling Meryl Streep in virago mode) orders her to infiltrate an anarchist group dedicated to attacking drug companies that unleash substandard products on an unsuspecting public, reaping huge profits. Dropping in and out of the cult-like group — which calls itself The East and plots "jams" that seek to poison CEOs with their own medicine — Sarah goes a little bit native, then a lot more, growing increasingly confused about where her allegiances lie.

As she commutes between this raggedy utopia and the gleaming boardrooms of her workplace, Sarah finds herself both drawn to and repelled by the group's charismatic leader Benji (a hollow-eyed, Christlike Alexander Skarsgard) and his lieutenant Izzy (Ellen Page), a spiky trust-funder who nudges the group into ever more violent acts of vengeance. In the loyalty of the group's members — predictably, a nebbishy lot fleeing from their own troubles — Sarah finds the spiritual nourishment missing from her straight life.

I mean, who wouldn't choose riding the rails, dumpster diving and plotting societal overthrow in stinking basements to a life filled with career mobility, creature comforts and the world's most understanding husband?

Marling, who co-wrote The East with director Zal Batmanglij, hung out with anarchist collectives before they started shooting, so for all I know the outlandish practices of the group are based on meticulous research. But it defies belief that a bright spark like Sarah would consider throwing in her lot with a crew of no-hopers like these, whose idea of collective morale-building entails chaste rounds of spin the bottle, ritual exchanges of soft little kisses, and eating vegan dinners in straitjackets to complicate mutual feeding.

Batmanglij, who also collaborated with Marling in the Sundance hit Sound of My Voice, deftly juggles the grime and glamour at the bookends of a rapidly polarizing society. The East makes for a passable thriller, as 1 percenters get theirs in satisfying, if incrementally implausible ways. Less credibly still, Sarah doesn't see a climactic twist coming though it's been blaring danger almost from the get-go.

Of greater interest are the metaphysical threads picked up from the Sound of My Voice and the crazy-beautiful 2011 sci-fi drama Another Earth, which Marling co-wrote with director Mike Cahill. She and her two directors went to college together, and though The East is less inventively fanciful and marred by moral banality ("If we hurt people, aren't we as bad as they are?"), all three movies speak poignantly for a post-millennial generation searching for community, for someone or something to trust with their faith in a spiritually arid consumer age crafted by their parents.

Warped by inattention and rotten values, even — perhaps especially — the children of the 1 percent convert their resentment into rage. If...., anyone?

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