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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Britons Bask In A Summer Of Good News

Jul 8, 2013
Originally published on July 8, 2013 4:10 pm

All news is bad news. Or so the saying goes. Many Brits firmly believe this — and use it as a branch to beat their journalists, one of the more despised species in these isles.

It is, of course, untrue. There's no better example of the media's appetite for good news than the tsunami of euphoria with which they've greeted Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph on Sunday.

The English are feting Murray as a British hero. They're calling for him to be made a knight of the realm to honor his prowess with racquet and ball, and his status as the first British champion in men's singles at Wimbledon in 77 years.

Murray's actually from Scotland. Many Scots view him not only as their hero — not England's — but as the greatest Scottish sports star since they all wore kilts, and horned ginger-haired highland cattle were freely roaming their hills.

Why does this matter?

Because next year, Scots will vote on whether to stay in the United Kingdom. The possibility of Scottish secession is the subject of a fierce political contest between British Prime Minister David Cameron — who has vowed to fight tooth and nail to save the union — and Scotland's first minister, the nationalist Alex Salmond.

Salmond was at Sunday's championship match, sitting in the Royal Box, behind his adversary, Cameron.

When Murray won, Salmond craftily whipped out a big Scottish flag and joyously brandished it behind Cameron's head in full view of the cameras — and violating Wimbledon's house rules. We can expect to see that image many times in coming months, as the fight for Scottish independence gathers momentum.

Britain's current appetite for Good News is not confined to sport. The cynicism and skulduggery of the British newspaper industry now comes hand-in-hand with a determination to peddle happiness.

The opening lines of a front page story in Rupert Murdoch's usually hard-nosed Sunday Times, (published before Murray's victory) captured this trend: "Britain is basking in unaccustomed sunshine, sporting triumph and the best spirits for three years this weekend," it gushed.

Those who find this happy-clappy stuff a little stomach-turning better toughen up. More, much more, is to come: A royal baby is due in a few days.

The tabloids are already churning out stories about "Baby Cambridge," along with maps of the royal maternity clinic. There are accounts of Kate's Yummy Mummy Baby Group, and her penchant, during pregnancy, for vegetable curries and Haribu candies.

The birth will be marked by a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, popping champagne corks from the kingdom's royalists, a hurricane of unctuous guff from the nation's anchormen and women, and world-weary sighs from a dwindling band of Brits ... who're discovering they actually prefer bad news.

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