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: Inmate Fights For His Right To Read Werewolf Erotica

Jun 13, 2013

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

  • A San Francisco appeals court has ruled that a werewolf erotica novel must be returned to Andres Martinez, an inmate of Pelican Bay State Prison, after prison guards took it away from him on the grounds that it was pornography. Although the court grants that novel in question, The Silver Crown, by Mathilde Madden, is "less than Shakespearean," it argues that the book nevertheless has literary merit and shouldn't be banned under prison obscenity laws. The court also notes that "the sex appears to be between consenting adults. No minors are involved. No bestiality is portrayed (unless werewolves count)." The book, which contains several lengthy depictions of fanged fornication, is described thusly: "Every full moon, Iris kills werewolves. It's what she's good at. What she's trained for. She's never imagined doing anything else ... until she falls in love with one. And being a professional werewolf hunter and dating a werewolf poses a serious conflict of interests." Mathilde Madden is a pseudonym for Mathilda Gregory, a journalist and Guardian contributor. She wrote in an email to NPR, "I am thrilled someone has gone to so much trouble to read something I wrote. I hope the book can live up to expectations."
  • Poet Kenn Nesbitt will be the next Children's Poet Laureate, a position created by the Poetry Foundation "to raise awareness that children have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience." It comes with a $25,000 prize and a two-year tenure. Nesbitt, the author of Revenge of the Lunch Ladies, told outgoing laureate J. Patrick Lewis in an interview that "poetry is perhaps the most playful of all exercises for building children's growing brains and minds." One of his poems, called "All My Great Excuses," reads, "Some aliens abducted me. / I had a shark attack. / A pirate swiped my homework / and refused to give it back."
  • For The New Yorker, the bewhiskered former U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall writes the story of his life in beards: "As I decline more swiftly toward the grave I have made certain that everyone knows — my children know, Linda knows, my undertaker knows — that no posthumous razor may scrape my blue face."
  • A copy of Action Comics No. 1, the first comic book to feature Superman, was discovered in the insulation of a Minnesota home and sold for $175,000 in an online auction earlier this week. David Gonzalez discovered the comic among newspapers stuffed into the wall of a home he was restoring in Hoffman, Minn. Before it was sold, the comic was torn in a very expensive argument between Gonzales and his wife's aunt, according to The Associated Press, which notes that a pristine copy of the comic sold for $2.16 million in 2011.
  • For The Believer Magazine, Robert Atwan writes an alternate history of The Great Gatsby, narrated by Tom Buchanan: "I am a gravely misunderstood man and have been for a very long time, thanks to a perennial bestseller written by a Manhattan bond salesman turned procurer, one Nicholas Carraway, the author of a deceptive and biased memoir that thinly disguises itself as a pseudonymous novel."
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.