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: Not Everyone's A Fan Of Amazon's Fan Fiction Move

May 28, 2013
Originally published on May 28, 2013 9:57 am

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

  • Amazon's move last week to begin selling fan fiction has prompted a backlash in the online community. On the one hand, the deal would do away with the copyright restrictions that keep writers of fan fiction from selling their work. On the other hand, it comes at a cost: 65 percent of profits go to Amazon and the original rights holder, and the fan fiction writer hands over ownership of the text and any original elements introduced into the story. And Amazon's rules are strict — there can be no crossovers (i.e., Harry Potter can't join forces with Edward Cullen), and pornography is forbidden, ruling out works such as Fifty Shades of Grey, which started out as Twilight fan fiction. John Scalzi, the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, wrote on his personal blog, "This is not anywhere close to what I would call a good deal."
  • Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Imre Kertész gives a lovely and sad interview to The Paris Review: "I'm not sure whether it is my work or my illness that's going to kill me now. ... I haven't yet died in the attempt to come to terms with history, and indeed it looks as though I will be dying of a bourgeois disease instead — I am about to die of a very bourgeois Parkinson's."
  • Dear Life author Alice Munro speaks with Lisa Dickler Awano for The Virginia Quarterly Review: "You [write] your whole life, and yet you know that you fail. You don't fail all the way, or anything, it's still worth doing — I think it's worth doing, anyway. But it's like this coming to grips with things that you can only partially deal with. This sounds very hopeless. I don't feel hopeless at all."
  • A wonderful new poem by Louise Glück appears in the Spring 2013 issue of The Threepenny Review: "My birthday (I remember) is fast approaching. / Perhaps the two great moments will collide / and I will see my selves meet, coming and going..."
  • Everything is Illuminated author Jonathan Safran Foer spoke at Middlebury's commencement over the weekend: "Short of winning a Nobel prize or a Pulitzer prize or a National Book Award or a MacArthur fellowship ... I couldn't be more honored than I am right now."
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