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's Tiny Tax Payment Draws Fresh Scrutiny

May 16, 2013
Originally published on May 16, 2013 11:00 am

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

  • Amazon's U.K. unit racked up sales of $6.5 billion last year, but only paid $3.7 million in corporate taxes (which is nearly as much as it received in government grants). Why does Amazon.co.uk pay so little? Reuters says it's because "all sales to British customers are routed through a Luxembourg affiliate, Amazon EU Sarl." But The Guardian published an investigation Wednesday suggesting that key business dealings are actually negotiated by executives in the U.K., which would make the company subject to the U.K.'s much higher taxes. The Guardian reports: "A UK publishing executive confirmed that his contract was negotiated on behalf of Amazon EU Sarl, the Luxembourg company, by staff from the British head office in Slough." Amazon's tax policy has long been a subject of controversy in the U.K., but its tax figures released Wednesday prompted a fresh outcry, with Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, calling it "a joke."
  • For the Poetry Foundation, Afaa Michael Weaver writes about being a black poet abroad: "A black poet needs a largeness, a soul strength the size of parallel worlds, to embrace this United States."
  • E-book sales rose a stunning 44.2 percent, to $3.04 billion, last year, according to figures released by BookStats.
  • Presented without comment: "Cormac McCarthy Flaunts Sexy New Beach Body," from our friends at The Onion.
  • In a great New Yorker essay, A Map of Tulsa author Benjamin Lytal writes about the "stepsister novels" of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Willa Cather: "Fitzgerald's insecurity, it turns out, was a sign that he was on to something. Cather, smarter and more self-aware, knew to recognize that crackle of uncertainty. She knew — as surely Fitzgerald knew deep down — that author and hero are both falling in love with a mirage."
  • New York City's 92nd Street Y shares a rare recording of Dylan Thomas performing in his play Under Milk Wood at its Kaufmann Concert Hall in 1953.
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