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 http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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 http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

This Blumesday Celebrates Judy, Not Joyce

Jun 17, 2013
Originally published on June 17, 2013 1:31 pm

Today is Blumesday. Not the Bloomsday where readers celebrate James Joyce's novel Ulysses — that was Sunday. Today's Blumesday is also a holiday for literature lovers, but of a different sort.

Blumesday creators Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer are writers, and they're pretty well-read. But they were never huge fans of Ulysses. "We sort of self-deprecatingly said, 'Well, the only way we could participate in Bloomsday was if it were Judy Blumesday.' And then the joke turned into, 'Wait, why aren't we doing this?' " Miller explains.

"We realized that there is a whole community around this writer that feels just as impassioned about her work as people feel about the work of James Joyce," Larimer adds.

So a few years ago, Larimer and Miller pulled this community together, for a new kind of Blumesday: one that celebrates author Judy Blume's young adult fiction.

In addition to Judy Blume-inspired musical performances, these Blumesday celebrations have featured a video chat with the author herself and many dramatic readings from her work.

For Larimer and Miller, part of the appeal is that Blume's writing is just really funny — even for adults — but also it takes you back to those middle school days.

"I think that people treat it like puberty is some sort of threshold that you pass over, and one day you're a kid and one day you're a woman," Larimer says. "That transition takes years and is really awkward and painful."

Miller says Blume's topics — being bullied, getting your period, having your parents divorce — are timeless issues. And they're issues that young readers today are still dealing with.

"But there's not a lot of focus on the things that happen every day and how we process those," says Quinn Sanford, a librarian at King public school in Portland, Ore.

Sanford says that for all of the Hunger Games and Vampire Diaries, books like Blume's still have a place helping kids sort out daily dramas. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret is about menstruation, and it was published in 1970, back when sanitary napkins clipped into elastic belts. Details like those have been updated, and the book speaks to kids today just as much as it did kids 40 years ago.

"When I read [Are You There God? It's Me Margaret] ... it was before I had matured," says eighth-grader Nichele Wilson. "So then I knew what I had to do before it actually happened."

Sanford says that with Blume's books, it's always personal. "When you feel like you've stumbled on a best friend, I think that's a very powerful moment in your reading development," she says.

And Sanford believes that Blume's ability to drop you right in the middle of the adolescent experience — and to do it well — is timeless. "You can always go back to your book, and you always have that same friend there," she says.

High-schoolers still lose their virginity, relationships still fall apart and fourth-graders still feel like they're nothing — and sometimes, so do grown-ups.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Today is Blumesday. No, not the Bloomsday, B-L-O-O-M, where readers celebrate James Joyce's novel Ulysses; that was yesterday. Today's Blumesday, B-L-U-M-E, is also a celebration for literature lovers, but of a different sort.

From Portland, Ore., Deena Prichep has the story.

DEENA PRICHEP, BYLINE: Like most writers, Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer are fairly well-read. But they were never huge fans of "Ulysses."

JOANNA MILLER: We sort of self-deprecatingly said, well, the only way we could participate in Bloomsday is if it were Judy Blumesday. And then the joke turned into wait, why aren't we doing this?

HEATHER LARIMER: We realized that there is a whole community around this writer that feels just as impassioned about her work as people feel about the work of James Joyce.

PRICHEP: So a few years ago, Larimer and Miller pulled this community together for a new kind of Blumesday: one that celebrates author Judy Blume's young adult fiction.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: (Singing) Dry your sweet Judy Blume eyes. Love is only a teen reverie.

PRICHEP: In addition to Judy Blume-inspired musical performances, these Blumesday celebrations have featured a video chat with the author herself, and many dramatic readings from her work.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: He's going to kiss me, I thought. He's going to kiss me and I don't know what to do.

(LAUGHTER)

PRICHEP: For Blumesday founders Heather Larimer and Joanna Miller, part of the appeal is that Blume's writing is just really funny. Even for adults. But it also takes you back to those middle school days.

LARIMER: I think that people treat it like puberty is some sort of threshold that you pass over, and one day you're a kid and one day you're a woman. And that transition takes years and is really awkward and painful.

MILLER: I mean these are timeless issues: getting your period, being bullied, having your parents divorce.

PRICHEP: And they're issues that young readers today are still dealing with.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN PLAYING)

QUINN SANFORD: They have a ton of knowledge of, you know, like stranger danger and like, big, scary things that happen in the world.

PRICHEP: Quinn Sanford is a librarian at King Public School in Portland.

SANFORD: But there's not a lot of focus on the things that happen every day and how we process those.

PRICHEP: Sanford says that for all of the "Hunger Games" and "Vampire Diaries," books like Judy Blume's still have a place helping kids sort out daily dramas.

Eighth grader Nichele Wilson read them with her mother.

NICHELE WILSON: She told me that she writes really good books. And to prove it, she got "Freckle Juice" and she got "God Are You There, It's Me, Margaret."

PRICHEP: "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" is about menstruation and it was published in 1970, back when sanitary napkins clipped into elastic belts. Details like those have been updated. And the book speaks to kids like Nichele just as much as it did to kids 40 years ago.

WILSON: When I read the "Margaret" one, it was before I had matured. So then I knew what I had to do before it actually happened.

SANFORD: When you feel like you've stumbled on a best friend, I think that's a very powerful moment in your reading development.

PRICHEP: School librarian Quinn Sanford says that Blume's ability to drop you right in the middle of the adolescent experience, and to do it well, is timeless.

SANFORD: You can always go back to your book and you always have that same friend there.

PRICHEP: Because high schoolers still lose their virginity, relationships still fall apart, and fourth graders still feel like they're nothing. And sometimes, so do grown-ups.

For NPR News, I'm Deena Prichep, in Portland, Oregon. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.