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

1 hour 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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CEO Cook To Defend Apple Before Senate Committee Hearing

May 21, 2013
Originally published on May 21, 2013 11:13 am

Giant technology firm Apple is paying billions of dollars less than it should in U.S. taxes each year, according to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Apple CEO Tim Cook will defend the company.

The subcommittee's report says Apple avoids the tax payments mainly by shifting profits to three subsidiary companies in Ireland. The investigation found Apple is taking advantage of technicalities in U.S. and Irish tax laws to avoid paying any tax on a huge portion of its profits.

"They've created corporations that don't exist anywhere for tax purposes," says Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the subcommittee. "That is right at the epitome of creative tax gimmickry."

U.S. law says because the companies are incorporated in Ireland, they aren't required to pay U.S. tax. But Irish law says the companies are controlled by Apple in the U.S., so that's where they should be taxed. The bottom line is the Apple subsidiaries pay very little tax at all despite billions in earnings.

"I've never seen anything like this," Levin says. "We don't know of anybody who has seen anything like this — where corporations don't exist anywhere for tax purposes."

Levin's committee has also investigated and criticized tax avoidance methods used by Microsoft and Hewlett Packard.

In testimony Apple released in advance of the hearing, CEO Cook defends Apple's practices. He says the company does not use tax gimmicks, and the reason it pays taxes overseas is because it sells overseas. But the Senate investigation found that the main subsidiary in Ireland, a company that includes Apple's retail stores throughout Europe, has not paid any corporate tax in five years.

In its defense, Apple says it paid $6 billion in U.S. corporate taxes last year. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the investigations subcommittee, says that may be true.

"Apple executives like to boast that their company is the highest corporate taxpayer in the U.S.," McCain says. "But what they often leave out of the story is the second part of the story, and that is that Apple is one of the largest corporate tax avoiders."

While Apple's estimated tax payment for 2012 is $6 billion, the Senate investigators estimate that Apple avoided paying another $9 billion in taxes last year.

McCain called Apple's tax practices egregious and outrageous: "Apple has $145 billion cash on hand. Guess where $102 billion, or two-thirds of that total, sits — offshore."

During his testimony, Cook is expected to say the U.S. should lower its corporate tax rate on foreign earnings to encourage companies to bring profits back to the U.S.

The top U.S. corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world at 35 percent. Republicans want to lower it, and so does President Obama. Both Sens. Levin and McCain, however, said Congress shouldn't wait for a tax overhaul to close loopholes like the ones Apple is exploiting.

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