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: Turkish Protesters Form 'Taksim Square Book Club'

Jun 26, 2013

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

  • Erdem Gunduz, the protester known as "The Standing Man" who held a six-hour silent vigil in Instanbul's Taksim Square in response to clashes between Turkish police and demonstrators, has inspired protesters to form "The Taksim Square Book Club" — a group of demonstrators, some masked, standing silently and reading books. An Al Jazeera slideshow shows a many protesters holding pointedly political books such as George Orwell's 1984 (which has recently enjoyed a massive surge in popularity in the U.S., following revelations about NSA surveillance.)
  • Jane Austen might be the new face on the £10 note, says the outgoing governor of the Bank of England. According to The Guardian, Sir Mervyn King told the Treasury select committee that the author of Pride and Prejudice is "quietly waiting in the wings." This comes after an outcry last month over the planned replacement of Elizabeth Fry, one of only two women (!) other than the queen ever to appear on a British banknote.
  • John Quincy Adams, sixth U.S. president, champion of the Treaty of Ghent and possessor of stern sideburns, was also a rather undistinguished poet. He once said, "Could I have chosen my own genius and condition, I would have made myself a great poet." His ode to a Eurasian bullfinch is up for auction in July: "Not Solomon the wise, in all his glory / Bright bird of beauty, was array'd like thee / And thou like him shalt be renown'd in story - / Bird of the wise, the valiant and the free."
  • For The New Yorker, Ian Buruma writes about the Chinese poet Liao Yiwu, who is living in exile: "And so it is that this immensely gifted Chinese writer performs his poetic acts of mourning for the entertainment of audiences in Berlin and New York—an exotic "dissident" abroad, his voice to be heard everywhere except where it is most needed."
  • Barnes & Noble will stop manufacturing its own Nook tablets, the bookstore chain announced in a press release Tuesday. The tablets will soon be, ahem, "co-branded with yet to be announced third party manufacturers of consumer electronics products." Earlier this week, the company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $118.6 million, up from a loss of $56.9 million at the same time last year.
  • The spy novelist Alex Berenson gives his take on the Edward Snowden saga in an essay for The New York Times (his use of the phrase "huggle-muggle" alone makes it worth reading): "For a spy novelist like me, the Edward J. Snowden story has everything. A man driven by ego and idealism — can anyone ever distinguish the two? — leaves his job and his beautiful girlfriend behind. He must tell the world the Panopticon has arrived. His masters vow to punish him, and he heads for Moscow in a desperate search for refuge. In reality he's found the world's most dangerous place to be a dissident, where power is a knife blade and a sprinkle of polonium. ... I wish I'd written it."
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