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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Book News: Alice Munro, Author Of Pensive Short Stories, May Retire

Jun 20, 2013

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Canadian author Alice Munro says her writing days may be over. In an interview after winning the Trillium Book Award, Munro told the National Post that she was glad to get the award because she's "probably not going to write anymore. And, so, it's nice to go out with a bang." She continued, "Not that I didn't love writing, but I think you do get to a stage where you sort of think about your life in a different way. And perhaps, when you're my age, you don't wish to be alone as much as a writer has to be." This comes as a surprise from a writer who has often expressed horror at the idea of not working. Munro said in a 1994 Paris Review interview that it would represent "the beast that's lurking in the closet in old age — the loss of the feeling that things are worth doing." Asked what she would tell her disappointed readers, she responded, "Well, tell them to go read the old ones over again. There's lots of them."
  • In a letter posted on her blog, the Australian novelist Kathryn Heyman responds to a subscription renewal notice she received from The London Review of Books. She writes, "I had planned a simple, quiet lapse, but as you have raised the question, let me assure you that I have not forgotten to renew. Indeed, I would dearly love to renew my subscription, however, based on the tedious regularity with which you ignore female writers and female reviewers, I have to assume that my lady-money is quite simply not welcome in the man-cave of LRB."
  • The Apple ebook price-fixing trial is expected to wrap up Thursday with closing arguments from both sides. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who prior to the trial said she thought the government would be able to prove Apple "knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books," acknowledged Wednesday that "the issues have somewhat shifted during the course of the trial." It could take weeks or months for the final verdict to be announced.
  • For NPR Books, Lidia Jean Kott explores James Salter's creepy habit of comparing women to food: "In Salter, the women are experiences, storefronts, meals, but never people."
  • Kelsey Osgood describes the unique horror of Franz Kafka's stories: "It's easy to brush aside traditional fairy tales and their modern retellings because we have lost our belief in the overtly fabulous, but what Kafka describes becomes more frightening to us as we age. We are sure, as mature people with 401(k)s and digital subscriptions to the Times, that we will never be stalked by an amorous, sparkly vampire, but we are not sure that we won't be charged and prosecuted for a crime we aren't even sure we committed...In this way — not the bloody, but the banal — Kafka's work becomes more spooky than the original Brothers Grimm, in which Snow White's evil queen is forced to dance to death in scalding iron shoes."
  • Kim Thompson, one of the publishers of the alternative comic book publisher Fantagraphics, has died at age 56, shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer. A major figure in the world of comics, he edited some of the world's most famous cartoonists. He was also famously crotchety — asked in a 2008 interview what he found exciting about his job, he responded, "There is always some new cartoonist, or some new work by an cartoonist, on the horizon to snap me out of my depressed torpor. And we've got such a great bunch of people working for us now here in the office ... that's energizing. That said, I wish I didn't have to answer this on a goddamn Monday morning."
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