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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Bashar Assad: A Political Solution In Syria Is 'Unreal'

May 18, 2013

Syrian President Bashar Assad essentially dismissed attempts by the United States and Russia to bring the civil war in the country to a political solution.

"Believing that a political conference will stop terrorism on the ground is unreal," Assad said in an exclusive interview with the Argentine newspaper El Clarin. Assad also took the usual stance on a wide range of issues.

The New York Times sums up:

"Mr. Assad took a hard line throughout the interview, according to a transcript in English provided to The New York Times. He declared that he would run for election as scheduled in 2014 and would accept election monitors only from friendly countries like Russia and China.

"He also accused Israel of directly aiding rebels by providing intelligence on sites to attack, refused to acknowledge any mistakes in his handling of the two-year-old crisis, and disputed United Nations estimates that more than 80,000 people had died in the conflict."

According to El Clarin, Assad spoke from the presidential palace in Damascus. In the distance, the paper reports, you could hear sporadic artillery fire.

During the interview, Assad appeared to hint that he was open to dialogue. He said that when the revolution started, he instituted reforms, but all the rebels have done is resort to "terrorism." He also said that the opposition is controlled by foreign forces and there are too many different groups to actually negotiate with.

"They are different groups and bands, not dozens but hundreds," Assad said, according to a translation by The Guardian. "They are a mixture and each group has its local leader. And who can unify thousands of people? We can't discuss a timetable with a party if we don't know who they are."

According to El Clarin's translation, Assad also said that his country would not negotiate with "terrorists."

"We have an initiative that includes dialogue," he said. "But as far as terrorists are concerned, no one has to talk with terrorists. Terrorists hit the U.S. and Europe, yet no one negotiated with terrorists. One talks with political forces, but not a terrorist who kills and uses chemical weapons."

Assad would not say if he had any regrets and he also made it clear that he was not resigning.

"The captain of a ship doesn't flee when faced with a storm," he said. "I'm not a person who runs from responsibility."

The Guardian translated the video posted on Clarin's website:

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