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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Bush-Era NSA Chief Defends PRISM, Phone Meta-Data Collection

Jun 9, 2013
Originally published on June 9, 2013 1:58 pm

Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency, tells NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday that the government's acquisition of phone records and surveillance of Internet activity is lawful and justified by the changing nature of the war on terrorism.

Hayden, who served as NSA chief from 1999-2005 and is also a former CIA director, says NSA's activities are "perfectly legal" and "an accurate reflection of balancing our security and our privacy."

The program of gathering phone record metadata, first detailed in The Guardian newspaper last week, is analogous to collecting the haystack in case you should suddenly need to find a needle, he tells NPR.

"We roll up an al-Qaida cell somewhere, let's just say Yemen," he says as an example. "We grab a cell phone. We know through the pocket litter that the owner of that cell phone is involved in terrorist activity. We didn't know about that cell phone before. We didn't have that number."

But only with the number can the agency run it through the metadata and parse correlations and connections. Otherwise, the information is put away and "not touched," he says.

"So fears or accusations that the NSA then data mines or trolls through these records, they're just simply not true," Hayden tells host Rachel Martin.

Before the NSA started collecting such data, the agency found itself at a dangerous disadvantage, he says. For example, prior to Sept. 11, 2001, the agency knew about Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, the two individuals who piloted the jetliner that hit the Pentagon.

"NSA actually intercepted about half a dozen phone calls from those guys in San Diego calling a known al-Qaida safe house ... in the Middle East," Hayden says. "Nothing, nothing in the physics of the intercepts, or in the content of the communications, told us these guys were in San Diego. If we would have had this program in place ... we would have known these two known terrorists were living in San Diego," he says. "That's a big deal."

Hayden says the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court gives NSA a "generalized approval" to search the metadata, given probable cause.

He says another program known as PRISM, which has been described in media reports as a top-secret data-mining program, is "about Internet data, not telephony, and it's all about foreigners."

"So, if I've got a bad person in Waziristan, talking to a bad person in Yemen, via a chat room that is hosted by an American Internet service provider, the only thing American about that conversation is the fact that it's happening on a server on the West Coast of the United States," he says.

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