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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

1 hour ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Brazil Looks To Build A 10,000-Mile Virtual Fence

May 16, 2013
Originally published on May 16, 2013 7:44 pm

Brazil's borders are so vast, and the terrain so inhospitable, that attempting to secure them has seemed a virtually impossible task.

But Brazil's rapidly expanding economy has made the country a magnet for illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other illicit activities, and now the country has announced its own border protection program.

Called the Sistema Integrado de Monitoramento de Fronteiras and known by its Portuguese acronym, Sisfron, it is intended to act as a virtual border shield along a frontier that stretches more than 10,000 miles and is shared with 10 other countries.

The sheer size of the terrain that will be covered makes this one of the most ambitious defense programs ever put in place in Brazil. Brazil is now picking supplies for the vast project, which is expected to take up to 10 years to finish, according to UPI. Dozens of companies are involved in getting the project up and running; it is expected to cost $13 billion.

"There is a lot of illicit transit across the borders," Alberto Pfeifer, a professor at the University of Sao Paulo, said in an interview with NPR. "Brazil does not have control over its territory."

The system will use a combination of satellite technology, electromagnetic signaling, tactical communications, drones and an increased army presence to monitor the border areas.

This will unfurl in stages. The first pilot project will get underway on the stretch of border with Bolivia and Paraguay. Bolivia is one of the biggest regional producers of cocaine. Paraguay is known as a smuggling haven for many black market goods.

But the plan isn't without critics. Brazil's border is about five times longer than the U.S.'s Southern frontier. According to experts, only about 20 percent of the area that Brazil is trying to cover is actually accessible. Most of it lies in thick Amazon forest, marshland, or is traversed by large river systems.

The United States' own experiment with a high-tech border system has fared poorly.

But supporters in Brazil say the country needs to protect itself and that the ambitious venture is a signal of Brazil's growing power and wealth.

"This is the only way to patrol the frontier," said Roberto Godoy, a journalist with newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. "This is a strategic priority that is long overdue."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.