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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Britain Apologizes For Colonial-Era Torture Of Kenyan Rebels

Jun 9, 2013
Originally published on June 9, 2013 6:36 pm

A 60-year-old wound in Kenya has finally found its recompense.

Last week, the British government finalized an out-of-court settlement with thousands of Kenyans who were tortured in detention camps during the end of the British colonial reign. The historic apology — and the unprecedented settlement — has been years in the making.

It started with a Harvard graduate student named Caroline Elkins. She became fascinated with the Mau Mau — Kenyan rebels from the tribe called Kikuyu — who fought in the '50s and '60s for independence from the British. Back then, in the British press, the Mau Mau were seen as murderous criminals. But Elkins discovered that much more violence was committed by colonial authorities.

"In fact, in total [only] 32 Europeans died," Elkins says. "As opposed to that, nearly 1 1/2 million Kikuyu were put into some form of detention, where they were tortured and forced to labor."

Elkins took the testimony of survivors from those camps, poured through logbooks and police records chronicling the abuses, and published her dissertation in 2005 as a book, Imperial Reckoning, the Untold Story of the British Gulag in Kenya.

Four years later, when a team of British and Kenyan lawyers filed a case on behalf of the Mau Mau veterans in the British High Court, they hit a wall. Elkins' research, from testimonies to written logs, was not enough to meet the court's standards for evidence.

The case idled for years in legal purgatory until a breakthrough last fall, when a judge ordered the British Foreign Office to release its own classified records from those colonial detention camps. Elkins says those official documents confirmed, in explicit detail, the systematic torture of male and female detainees.

There was "forced sodomy with broken bottles and vermin and snakes and just horrific, horrific things," she says. "And the documents confirmed, almost verbatim at times, the kind of oral testimonies I had taken 15 years ago.

"So not only was it absolutely wrenching to read these, but it was also validating on so many levels and particularly that the British government had been calling them liars," she says. "All the while sitting on the evidence proving that they were actually telling the truth."

In a luxury hotel ballroom in Nairobi, hundreds of Kenyan survivors, now in their 70s and 80s, came to celebrate the case's conclusion. Under an out-of-court settlement, the British government agreed to pay more than $20 million in damages to the living survivors, about $4,000 per person.

And just as important to some who had waited so long for it, the British High Commissioner Christian Turner was on hand to express an official apology.

"The British government recognizes that Kenyans were subject to torture and ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration," Turner said at a news conference. "The British government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place."

A survivor of that abuse, now head of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association, Gitu wa Kahengeri urged his members to accept the offer.

"This is a beginning of reconciliation between the Mau Mau freedom fighters of Kenya and the British government," he said.

Not all were cheering the outcome, however. Kenyan editorial writers grumbled about the modest size of the payout. On the British side, the biggest concern was whether this precedent would spur claims from all corners of the former Empire.

"As historians," Elkins says, "we have plenty of evidence that the systematized violence that happened in Kenya was honed and brought throughout the empire, from Palestine to Malaya to Kenya to Cyprus to Aden to Northern Ireland."

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