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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CBS Debuts A Baking Competition As Broadcast Continues Borrowing From Cable

May 29, 2013
Originally published on May 30, 2013 8:03 am

Broadcast TV has seen the writing on the walls at Food Network, Bravo and TLC: competitive food shows can build solid followings (Chopped, Top Chef) and so can shows about baking (Cake Boss, Cupcake Wars). Throw in a format popular in Britain called The Great British Bake-Off, and add the appeal of television that leads with how unpretentious and down-home it is. Soak in a deep dish of Jeff Foxworthy, and you've got CBS's new offering, The American Baking Competition, which premieres Wednesday night.

It's always interesting, and perhaps most likely in the oddball days of summer, when the big broadcast networks try to figure out how to take the inherently niche programming that cable networks can embrace and turn it into programming that can work for their broad audiences. ABC tried a cooking competition staffed with stars like Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain this past season, but The Taste was received with a popular and critical shrug. It was renewed, but it can't have performed the way they were hoping.

The Taste, though, was taking very much the foodie angle, involving the exacting palates of well-known chefs like Bourdain and Ludo Lefebvre. The American Baking Competition is going the other way, focusing on decadent, gooey goodies prepared by eager home cooks and gobbled up by Foxworthy as he complains/brags about all the weight he's going to gain from all the delicious food.

If ABC bet on the highbrow end of the food-show demographic, CBS is betting on what you might call the populist end. Jeff Foxworthy is already the host of a show on GSN (which doesn't seem to go by Game Show Network anymore) that's aimed squarely at the Bible belt, literally — it's called The American Bible Challenge. Using him as your host is a way of telling your intended audience that this is not a show about snooty food people, but a show about regular people — people who might conceivably both like and relate to the redneck jokes that built Foxworthy's career. Perhaps that's the way to take an idea that's flourished on cable and make it work in broadcast, where they need bigger numbers to make a success.

[Note: Our commenters pointed out that I left out the Gordon Ramsay competition shows here, particularly Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef. They're right, certainly, with my only real defense being that to me, Ramsay shows are Ramsay shows, not actual competition shows. Unlike the competitors on Top Chef, for instance, many of the competitors on Hell's Kitchen are pretty clearly not very good at what they do, and the attraction is much more him than them, so I tend to not think of them as real competition shows at all. But — fair point.]

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