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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Cash-Strapped Cities Struggle To Bury Their Unclaimed Dead

Jun 3, 2013
Originally published on June 3, 2013 11:34 am

Shrinking government budgets are changing not only how people live, but also how some municipalities deal with death. In Detroit, funding is so tight that when a homeless person dies, it can take a year or more to receive even a simple pauper's burial.

I met T.C. Latham several years ago, panhandling in downtown Detroit. He was short with a scraggly beard, bent glasses missing one lens and, for the most part, on the good side of the police.

"I'm a familiar face down here, so they know I'm not gonna raise any hell or go crazy or rob anybody or anything," he told me. We became friendly — tentatively at first. Latham had an all-too-familiar story.

"I got laid off and lost everything, to make a long story short," he recounted. "My unemployment ran out, I burned through my little savings I had — 401(k). And there goes I."

On a good week, Latham would scrounge enough change to rent a cheap hotel room. At one such cheap hotel last September, he was found sitting in a straight-backed chair — dead.

And more than seven months later, like many other homeless people here, Latham still has not been laid to rest. His body waits in a freezer at the Wayne County morgue.

Albert Samuels, chief investigator for the Wayne County Medical Examiner, is in charge of burying the bodies no one else wants in Detroit. At any given time, he says, there are usually about 100 unclaimed bodies, like Latham's, here. But there is only enough state and county funding to bury a dozen of them at a time a few times a year.

The rest wait. "We've had people here for a year and a half, two years," he explains. "So ... right now it's basically an economics thing. There's only so much in the budget — in the state budget, in the county budget — to handle these matters.

"Just like we have to take care of the dead, we also have to take care of the living," he adds.

Samuels says he hears similar stories from medical examiners across the United States. "It's not just Detroit. This is happening all over the country. It's happening in North America. ... You go out to Las Vegas, they got the same problem; Milwaukee's got the same problem," he says.

Yet even in tough economic times, some groups find a way to say a final goodbye.

"In some places in the world, these bodies would be tossed in ditches with lime," says Betsy Deak. She has organized memorial services at Perry Funeral Home for unclaimed remains in the morgue in conjunction with a Detroit church. The funeral home covers the cost of the service and offers burial to the county at the cut-rate price of $325 a body.

"These are called 'quad burials.' It's the least expensive way to bury," Deak explains. "They're buried individually in a wooden box and stacked four inside a grave."

Some aspects of human dignity transcend business concerns, she says. "The first time I held a file in my hand, [an] unknown female ... I cried. It isn't just about how beautiful and alive and wealthy someone is. It's the fact that they existed in the first place. They were someone's dream."

T.C. Latham had few dreams left when I knew him. He said he had no family members he was close to, and I'm not sure if he would have cared that his body would be literally kept on ice for years after his death. His dream was just to survive each day.

"I might go one day and hardly get anything. I might just get a few bucks — five, 10 bucks," he once told me. "I had a guy out here about a year ago hand me a $100 bill. So the definition of a good day is pretty wide open."

T.C. Latham — a voice from the beyond now, if not yet a voice from the grave.

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