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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Clinton White House Crisis Manager Dings Obama's Message Team

May 13, 2013
Originally published on May 14, 2013 11:07 am

Lanny J. Davis, a former special counsel for President Clinton, is a man who knows something about managing a White House crisis. And he isn't exactly impressed by how President Obama's aides have handled the fallout from numerous crises, from Solyndra to Benghazi and now with the Internal Revenue Service controversy.

"Honestly, I voted for Obama. I support his policies," said Davis, who was a special counsel during Clinton's second term and has his own Washington firm that, among other things, handles messaging when things fly apart for his clients.

"His crisis-management communications team is absent without leave. Ever since we lost the message on health care, I've wondered if there's anybody there trying to get out in front on the facts. And I haven't seen any evidence" of it, he said.

For Davis, whose latest book is Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics, and Life, the Obama administration has fallen into a predictable pattern. It goes into a defensive crouch in which its first instinct appears to be minimizing any political damage.

Most White Houses do this to a greater or lesser degree. But Obama may have created his own problems by setting higher expectations early on by claiming his would be the most transparent administration ever.

Only after the moment has passed where a more proactive approach might have saved the day does the ever-cautious Obama White House provide additional information, according to Davis.

Take the growing controversy over the IRS's targeting of conservative social-welfare organizations.

"This is very, very serious," said Davis, who views it as distinct from the Benghazi fallout, which he believes is "Washington politics at its worst."

The IRS story, he said, by contrast goes to the heart of government abuse of power.

"The president of the United States should hold a press conference and commit to a full 100 percent investigation in concert with the Republican leadership of the House and say, 'I want to have on my desk the list of anybody who recommended doing this. In the government, in the White House, or anywhere else.' "

Obama, during a joint Monday news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, said it would be "outrageous" if the IRS did what it's accused of.

That description, said Davis, is already "one day too late" and isn't the full-throated response he would expect to see after the IRS revelation.

Davis doesn't limit his disappointment to just the president. He faults other top Democrats, namely Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, for not acting with more assertively.

"The Democrats have to own this. They are mishandling this," Davis said. "They should get out in front by denouncing this behavior, calling for a full investigation, cooperating with the Republicans so they don't own the issue. It's called pre-emption. And the best crisis management advice is called doing the right thing."

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