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

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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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Boy Writes To NASA; NASA Writes Back

Jul 8, 2013
Originally published on July 8, 2013 6:53 pm

Not many children write letters to government entities, we would think. But a boy's letter to NASA is making waves and softening hearts on the Internet today.

"Dear NASA," the letter begins. "My name is Dexter I heard that you are sending 2 people to Mars and I would like to come but I'm 7." The handwritten note, in which Dexter asks for advice about becoming an astronaut, got a full response from NASA, along with some stickers and posters.

That led Dexter's mother, whom HuffPost Parents names as Katrina Anderson of Britain, to put images of the letters and swag on the Web, and to submit a post to Reddit titled, "My 7 year old son wrote to NASA about wanting to be an astronaut and visit Mars, we received his reply this morning."

In its letter back to Dexter, NASA told the boy that he could someday be a pioneer, helping to increase what the world understands about Earth and space. The agency closed by saying, "Your interest in NASA is appreciated. NASA wishes you every success in earning good school grades and encourages you to keep reaching for the stars!"

Responses poured forth on Reddit, where many comments sought to help young Dexter find a way to pursue his dream and possibly attend space camp.

"He visited the Kennedy Space Centre and loved it," Dexter's mom wrote. "He also has a fascination with America. We are English and live here in England, I feel I will lose him to America one day ;)"

She also said the boy has "been a bit overwhelmed by the response today," adding that she would save all the links people sent into a special folder. Dexter, she explained, is allotted only a certain amount of time on the Web.

The enthusiastic public response to Dexter's letter led NASA to note on its Twitter feed Monday, "We try to answer as many Q's as possible on social media. For those who prefer postal mail, we respond there, too."

As BuzzFeed points out, one person who commented on the Reddit thread says he's a NASA employee who occasionally visits NASA's Public Outreach office, where "they have scans of these letters pinned to their cubicles."

Dexter's mother responded:

"Thank you so much for replying to these letters honestly I didn't expect as much as he received, neither did he. I was actually trying to keep him from being disappointed if he didn't get a response, I thought you guys would just be too busy. This sort of thing means the world to children and keeps their imagination and faith in the industry alive. He wrote to the DC office. Thank you from both of us, he was so excited when he got the letter."

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