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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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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Can Going Vegetarian Help You Live Longer? Maybe

Jun 4, 2013
Originally published on June 5, 2013 10:18 am

If you're looking for the definitive study that might persuade meat lovers to become vegetarians, this may not be it.

New research published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that vegetarian diets are linked to a slightly lower risk of early death — about 12 percent lower over a period of about six years of follow-up. But the link to longevity was more significant in men compared with women.

The study is based on a one-time survey of more than 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists, a religion that emphasizes healthful diets and abstaining from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco as part of a godly lifestyle. Not all adherents are vegetarians, but the church considers a meatless diet to be the ideal.

The participants filled out a questionnaire so that researchers could determine whether they were meat eaters, semi-vegetarian, fish-eating vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarian (which the study defined as consuming meat or fish rarely, and eating eggs/dairy sometimes), or vegans.

The researchers found that men who were eating vegetarian diets were less likely to die from heart disease and other heart conditions. In women, there were no significant reductions in death from cardiovascular disease.

Now, many of us are eating less meat these days owing to environmental, health and animal welfare concerns. And as a Portuguese toddler reminded us in a video that recently went viral, the sheer ick-factor of realizing that meat comes from a dead animal can play a role, too.

But if a person's motivation is only linked to health benefits, you might ask whether this study nails down a cause-and-effect relationship between skipping meat and living longer.

The answer: Absolutely not. As is typical of nutrition studies, this research points to an association.

And it's important to point out, as the authors note, that the participants following vegetarian diets also tended to be more highly educated, to drink less alcohol, to smoke less and exercise more compared with the participants who regularly consumed meat.

Another limitation is that people's dietary patterns tend to change over time. And since this study relied on a single measurement (asking participants just once about their dietary patterns), the study doesn't capture any changes over time.

An accompanying commentary published by the journal concludes that while the researchers used state-of-the-art approaches to try to tease apart the effects of diet from all the other lifestyle factors that may play a role in longevity, it's tough to do this.

Prior attempts to examine the relationship between mortality and vegetarian diets have led to mixed results. A large European study found no longevity benefit for British people following vegetarian diets. But a prior study of Seventh-day Adventists in California did point to increased longevity.

As for the new study, it "provides additional evidence that vegetarian diets are associated with improved health outcomes, including all-cause mortality," writes Dr. Robert Baron, who authored the commentary that appeared in the journal alongside the research.

But Baron — a self-described ovo-lacto vegetarian — also makes the case that meat (and other animal products) are just one component of a person's overall pattern of eating.

Other factors, he notes — such as how much sugar, salt and refined grains we consume — are also an important part of evaluating the healthfulness of our diets.

Marji McCullough of the American Cancer Society told us in an email that these findings fit with previous research that points to the "health benefits of a diet low in red and processed meats." However, she notes, "it's possible that the people who don't eat meat have other health-conscious behaviors that contribute to the findings."

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