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: The FBI Monitored Mexican Writer Carlos Fuentes

Jun 24, 2013

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

  • A recently released FBI file calls legendary Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes a "communist writer" and refers to a "long history of subversive connections." The dossier, which starts in the 1960s and spans decades, also reveals that the FBI had informants track his movements while in the U.S., and details the agency's attempts to delay and deny his visa applications. Asked whether Fuentes, who died last year, was a communist, his biographer and former colleague Julio Ortega told NPR via email: "Not at all! He was critical of Communism, and a close friend and supporte[r] of [Milan] Kundera [a writer whose works were banned in communist Czechoslovakia] in difficult times for him. It is true that Fuentes supported the Cuban revolution as well as the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, but because both were rooted in Latin American history of utopian will and emancipatory ideals." Fuentes became a vocal critic of Fidel Castro after the poet Heberto Padilla was arrested in Cuba, and he once called the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez a "tropical Mussolini." Fuentes was no less harsh toward the U.S. — he once turned down a teaching position at Columbia University in protest of American air attacks in Vietnam, writing that it would be "impossible to talk serenely about literature while American imperialists murder women and children." But in a 2006 interview, Fuentes said, "To call me anti-American is a stupendous lie, a calumny. I grew up in this country. When I was a little boy I shook the hand of Franklin Roosevelt, and I haven't washed it since."
  • Daniel Handler, the grown-up alter-ego of Lemony Snicket, speaks with NPR's Neal Conan about his latest book, The Dark: "I can't think of a story that doesn't have something terrible in it, otherwise it's dull."
  • Seven writers, including Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes and Will Self, reflect on failure for The Guardian. Self writes, "[T]o continue writing is to accept failure as simply a part of the experience — it's often said that all political lives end in failure, but all writing ones begin there, endure there, and then collapse into senescent incoherence."
  • The literary critic Terry Castle writes about Sylvia Plath for The New York Review of Books: "I find her tasteless, grisly — unbearable, in fact — precisely because, even five decades after her suicide, she and her corpse-infested verses hold on with such ghoulish tenacity. She seems never to tire of creating tragic inhuman mischief from beyond the grave."

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • A.S.A Harrison's The Silent Wife is a clean, understated thriller about a philandering husband and his murderous wife. The suspense comes not from twists and turns — you find out on page 2 that the placid, WASPy wife becomes a killer — but from the quiet force of her writing.
  • Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine was written by a psychoanalyst and a philosophy professor (who also happen to be married to each other). Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster take on the writings of Nietzsche, Lacan and other thinkers on Hamlet in this thoughtful, elegant work of criticism.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.