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: 'Ender's Game' Author Responds To Boycott Threats

Jul 10, 2013
Originally published on July 11, 2013 7:08 am

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

  • The Ender's Game author and anti-gay activist Orson Scott Card responded to boycotts threats against the upcoming film adaptation starring Harrison Ford. The queer geek group Geeks OUT is organizing boycotts and "Skip Ender's Game" events in several U.S. cities because of Card's views on homosexuality. He wrote in 2008 that "marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down." Card responded to the backlash in a statement to Entertainment Weekly: "With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. ... Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute."
  • Note at 7 a.m. on July 11: This post cites a passage from an op-ed written by Orson Scott Card that should have been presented in its entirety for context. The full passage reads: "How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn." That said, the tone of Card's writings speaks for itself.
  • A few weeks after a historic collection of black history books was discovered in a dumpster outside a school in Highland Park, Mich., protests continue and a school board member has resigned. City Emergency Manager Donald Weatherspoon said the collection had been thrown away by accident but noted that the city didn't have the resources to maintain it, according to The Detroit Free Press. Residents pulled about a thousand books on black culture and history from the trash. The collection was started after the civil rights movement, when demand began to grow for a school curriculum that included black history.
  • Amazon announced Tuesday that it will launch a comics and graphic novels imprint called Jet City Comics. One of their first publications will be a comic adaptation of George R.R. Martin's short story "Meathouse Man," which Martin says is "one of my strangest, darkest, and most twisted short stories."
  • GOP Colorado Senate candidate Jaxine Bubis was recently revealed to be Jaxine Daniels, author of steamy erotic novels. Bubis joins a list of porn-dabbling politicians, including Scooter Libby and his 2005 novel The Apprentice.
  • Rejoice, unhappy spinsters of America — the "Princeton mom" is writing a self-help book to help you "avoid an unwanted life of spinsterhood with cats."
  • Reed Johnson writes about the enigmatic "Voynich manuscript," a medieval text written in an unbroken code, noting "the perverse sway that the book has over its would-be conquerors." He writes: "But as much as each of us strives to be the one to crack the code, I think few of us would truly like to see it solved ... the book's resistance to being read is what sets it apart. Undeciphered, the manuscript exists in a sort of quantum indeterminacy — one that collapses into a single meaning the moment the text is finally measured and understood. And no matter how thrilling such a text might be, it will remain a disappointment for being closed off, completed — for being, in the end, no longer a mystery."
  • According to The Mumbai Mirror, Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of the newly-merged Penguin Random House, has asked the author Vikram Seth to return a $1.7 million advance for failing to turn in his manuscript for A Suitable Girl, the sequel to his hugely successful (and, at about 1,400 pages, huge) novel A Suitable Boy. Seth's agent told The Mirror by phone that "Vikram has been known to take his time with his books. Our aim is to settle this new date with Hamish. If we can't, then Vikram will decide what he wants to do next."
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