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: VICE Draws Ire By Staging Female Author Suicides

Jun 18, 2013

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

  • VICE magazine has a reputation for using provocative content to draw an audience — Dennis Rodman's North Korean tour comes to mind — but a spread in the magazine's recent fiction issue has sparked particular fury. Next to short stories by Mary Gaitskill and Joyce Carol Oates is a fashion spread featuring models posing as female writers such as Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf on the brink of committing suicide. One photo in the shoot titled "Last Words" shows a model impersonating the poet Elise Cowen, who died after jumping out of a window, lying prostrate on the sidewalk. The writer Michele Filgate responded to the spread in an essay for Salon: "Art can and at times should be provocative — there's no doubt about that. Yet this isn't art. This is an editorial decision to get more pageviews." And the comedian and author Caitlin Moran tweeted, "In the interest of balancing Vice's "female writers commit suicide" fashion shoot, I'd like to report I'm eating breakfast & am immortal."
  • The mysterious Edinburgh book sculptor, who leaves anonymous, delicate artworks made from books all over the city, has struck again. A sculpture of a bird's nest, complete with hungry baby birds, materialized in the city's Leith Library. It bears a quote from Winnie-the-Pooh author A.A. Milne: "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?"
  • Jonathan Franzen, the austerely spectacled novelist and avian enthusiast, contacted The New York Times in response to a Frank Bruni column on sexism. He writes: "There may still be gender imbalances in the world of books, but very strong numbers of women are writing, editing, publishing and reviewing novels. The world most glaringly dominated by male sexism is one that Mr. Bruni neglects to mention: New York City theater." Franzen has been in the center of a spirited debate on gender bias ever since he called Edith Wharton ugly in a New Yorker essay and referred to Times critic Michiko Kakutani as "the stupidest person in New York" during a panel on literary criticism.
  • The poet Ange Mlinko speaks to The Paris Review about the writing process: "I grew up listening to languages my immigrant parents didn't want to teach me, so I get a regressive pleasure out of feeling my way through sounds to their possible meanings. Not "getting" a word, or a line, or a poem at first read was never an obstacle for me — in fact, it was a seduction."
  • The Vault, Slate's history blog, features the childhood drawings of the poet E.E. Cummings. One shows a soldier and a rhinoceros telling each other stories. Another is a poster for the "Estlin Cummings Wild West Show." (It brings to mind Cummings' Buffalo Bill, "who used to ride a watersmooth-silver stallion and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat.")
  • It seems that Apple has at least one advantage over the Department of Justice in the ebook price-fixing case: basic computer skills. The New York Times reports (with admirable restraint): "Apple's legal team used a MacBook to shuffle between evidence documents, stacking them side by side in split screens and zooming in on specific paragraphs. By contrast, the Justice Department's lawyers could show only one piece of evidence at a time. One video that Mr. Buterman played as evidence failed to produce the audio commentary needed to make his point."
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