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

1 hour 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: Amazon Debuts Its Virtual Currency

May 14, 2013

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

  • Amazon debuted a virtual currency called "Amazon Coins" on Monday. The coins can be used to buy apps in Amazon's Appstore and on Kindle Fire. A dollar will get you 100 of the new coins, though the Internet retailer will discount coins bought in bulk. Although you can't yet buy books with Amazon Coins, the move has raised eyebrows in the publishing industry. Amazon did not respond to an inquiry about the exchange rate between its coins and the currency of Chuck E. Cheese.
  • A lost journal written by poet W.H. Auden at the onset of World War II has been discovered. The notebook runs 96 pages and spans the period from August and November 1939 — around the time he wrote the poem "September 1, 1939." The Independent cites one journal passage that reads: "Paper reports German attack on Poland. Now I sit looking out over the river. Such a beautiful evening and in an hour, they say, England will be at war." The manuscript will be auctioned at Christie's in June.
  • Glen Ellyn School District 41, an Illinois school district, has banned the young adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower from its library and classrooms after parents complained about its discussions of sex and drug use. At least they can probably still read The Diary of Anne Frank.
  • For Out magazine, Bret Easton Ellis, the controversial author of American Psycho (who identifies as gay), denounces what he says is the stereotypical roles gay men play in the media: "The reign of The Gay Man as Magical Elf, who whenever he comes out appears before us as some kind of saintly E.T. whose sole purpose is to be put in the position of reminding us only about Tolerance and Our Own Prejudices and To Feel Good About Ourselves and to be a symbol instead of just being a gay dude, is – lamentably — still in media play."
  • Barbara Salinas-Norman, a Chicana author and activist, was found dead in her apartment in Santa Fe, N.M., earlier this month. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that police speculate the 70-year-old woman known as Bobbi had been dead for several months. Salinas-Norman had been a successful children's author and the founder of Piñata Publications, but she later fell out of contact with friends and family, and her home was said to be in foreclosure.
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