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: Kim Jong Un Reportedly Gave 'Mein Kampf' As Gifts

Jun 19, 2013
Originally published on June 19, 2013 9:52 am

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

  • Kim Jong Un gave top officials in North Korea copies of Adolf Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, as gifts on his birthday last January, according to a report in New Focus International, a newspaper written largely by North Korean defectors. It seems the book was intended to promote a study of Hitler's economic reforms, and was not necessarily meant as an endorsement of Nazism. New Focus International, which was founded by a former North Korean poet laureate, cites "a DPRK official in China," who told the paper that Kim admired the way Hitler reformed Germany's economy and military after the ravages of the first World War. If the reports are true, North Korea isn't the only place Mein Kampf has found an unlikely readership — Businessweek said last year that the book had become a bestseller in India.
  • VICE has apologized for its "Last Words" fashion spread depicting the suicides of female authors such as Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. The magazine removed the post from its website (the photo shoot is still in the print version), and issued a statement from the editors: "The fashion spreads in VICE magazine are always unconventional and approached with an art editorial point-of-view rather than a typical fashion photo-editorial one. Our main goal is to create artful images, with the fashion message following, rather than leading. 'Last Words' was created in this tradition and focused on the demise of a set of writers whose lives we very much wish weren't cut tragically short, especially at their own hands. We will no longer display 'Last Words' on our website and apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended." NPR's Linda Holmes has an excellent take on the whole thing over at the Monkey See blog.
  • For The New Yorker, Thomas Beller imagines which historical writers would have been good on Twitter: "Gertrude Stein, with her gnomish, arty, aphoristic tendencies, would seem to be ideal. 'There is no there there' may be one of the great proto-tweets."
  • Author, "New Journalism" icon and wearer of white suits Tom Wolfe is said to be working on a book called The Kingdom of Speech. According to Publisher's Marketplace, the book is "a nonfiction account of scholarship proposing that humans are divided from animals by their power of speech." Wolfe has hinted at the idea before, notably in a 2006 lecture called "The Human Beast." He said, "Speech gave the beast its first ability to ask questions, and undoubtedly one of the first expressed his sudden but insatiable anxiety as to how he got here and what this agonizing struggle called life is all about. To this day, the beast needs, can't live without, some explanation as the basis of whatever status he may think he possesses. For that reason, extraordinary individuals have been able to change history with their words alone, without the assistance of followers, money, or politicians."
  • For The New Republic, Molly Fischer considers the folly of marathon reading: "Especially at 3:50 a.m., a marathon reading can look a lot like a pious exercise [in] high-culture martyrdom — behold, Great Books instead of text messages! But ... the spirit of the marathon reading is more elusive."
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