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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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


Chopped: How Amputated Fingertips Sometimes Grow Back

Jun 12, 2013
Originally published on June 13, 2013 3:38 pm

When a kid lops off a fingertip with a cleaver or car door, there's a chance the end of the digit will grow back. The fingerprint will be gone, and the tip may look a bit strange. But the flesh, bone and nail could return.

Now biologists at New York University have figured out just how this lizard-like regeneration happens in mice. There's some secret sauce at the nail cuticle that makes it possible, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Doctors have seen the effect in humans without quite understanding how it happens. "Kids will actually regrow a pretty good fingertip, after amputation, if you just leave it alone," says Dr. Christopher Allan, from the University of Washington Medicine Hand Center, who wasn't involved in the research.

The orthopedic surgeon saw this out a few years ago when an 8-year-old girl stuck her finger into the spokes of her brother's bike. The wheel sliced off her middle finger, near the nail cuticle, and her parents rushed to the ER to have it sewn back on.

Allan specializes in hand reconstruction, but he couldn't find the tiny artery he needed to reconnect. So he opted instead for what surgeons call a biological dressing. Just stick the tip back on and hope for the best, he says.

"The girl came back in a few weeks with the old fingertip in a bag and a new one on her hand," Allan tells Shots. "It was far better than anything that I could have given her with a graft or surgery."

Since the 1970s, doctors around the world have reported similar cases in young kids: Chopped off fingertips regrow if the slice occurs before the edge of the nail. Any farther down the digit, and you're probably out of luck.

Scientists see a similar phenomenon with mice paws. But even the elderly rodents can do it, says Mayumi Ito of New York University. "It's totally amazing," she says. "The adult mice totally regenerate the organ to its original form."

But the amputation must leave a little bit of the fingernail — er, claw. And she wanted to figure out why. So she and her team went hunting for the stem cells.

Fingernails are bit like hair: They continue to grow even when we're adults. (Well, at least, we hope they do.) Thus, both body parts need a continual supply of factory-like cells to make the hard, tough structures – nails or strands of hair.

For curly locks, each follicle contains a bunch of stem cells that serve as hair machines. The cells produce all the components of your coiffure — the silky strands, its lustrous color and the little shaft that attaches to your head.

Now Ito and her team have found analogous cell factories in mice fingernails. She calls them "nail stem cells." They sit right near the cuticle. And they do more than give the mouse its scratch.

When a rodent's "fingertip," as Ito calls it, is amputated, the nail stem cells start to regrow the claw. But they also make a signal that brings the bones and nerves to the wound. Healing is a whole new ball game once you get the nerves involved.

"In amphibians, the nerve is sufficient to trigger the whole regeneration process," Ito says. "We don't know yet if that's the case for mammals, but the nerve is essential to produce the bone of the mouse digit."

The signal made by the nail stem cells — called Wnt, for all you bio buffs — can orchestrate growth all over the body. It even coordinates the formation of limbs and some organs during fetal development.

"We think that nail stem cells may a have a special function to induce the whole regeneration process, including nerve attraction and growth of the bone," Ito say.

So could these nail stem cells one day help with more serious amputations? "We'd like to test this hypothesis in mice," Ito says. But she first wants to find these cells in people.

Who knows, perhaps the ability to regenerate limbs is already at our fingertips.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit