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

2 hours 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

Calmly, From Portland, It's The Quiet Music Festival

May 31, 2013
Originally published on May 31, 2013 3:05 pm

Not all music festivals are carnivals of noise, propelled by thudding drums and screeching guitars. In fact, for the annual Quiet Music Festival of Portland, which begins today, the goal is to experience calming sounds.

The festival's organizers say their focus is on "soothecore, a new dimension of emotional, vibrant, and low volume music honoring of the quiet act of listening."

If that makes you think of a Portlandia skit titled "Battle Of The Gentle Bands," you're not alone. As Paper magazine recently tweeted, the "'Battle of the Gentle Bands' exists!" The Portlandia feed also re-tweeted the message.

The festival kicks off, or perhaps we should say, nudges itself to a start, Friday, with performers including cellist Lori Goldston, former Beastie Boys collaborator Money Mark, and White Magic, whose music comprises "fourth-dimensional vibrations and shamanic trance," according to the festival's website.

Like any festival, the event presents a wealth of logistical issues for artist Chris Johanson, who is the main organizer. But some of those challenges are unique to the Portland festival, which runs Friday and Saturday.

"Our mission is to find more rugs and pillows for the upcoming festival, so they'll be even more objects to fall asleep on," Johanson says. "Expect to have good dreams."

The Portlandia skit, which featured well-known guitarist J Mascis and the band Dirty Projectors, also included a line that's not often heard at large outdoor festivals.

"Could you turn down the guitar, please?" asked the show's Fred Armisen.

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