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

2 hours 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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Coke Changed Caramel Color To Avoid Cancer Warning; Pepsi In Transition

Jul 3, 2013

In 2011, the state of California created a problem for the soda industry.

The caramel color that Coke and Pepsi used to give colas that distinctive brown hue contained a chemical, 4-methylimidazole — 4-MEI — that is listed as a carcinogen by the state.

And in accordance with California's Proposition 65 law, the levels of 4-MEI found in sodas would have warranted a cancer warning label on every can sold in the state.

So, as I reported last year, Coke and Pepsi both said they would switch to a reformulated caramel color, one that did not contain 4-MEI.

Now, it appears that both companies have managed to complete this transition for sodas sold in the state of California.

But a new analysis by the Center for Environmental Health found that 10 of 10 samples of Pepsi products purchased nationwide during the month of June (in locations outside California) contained levels of 4-MEI that were about four to eight times higher than the safety thresholds set by California. The testing was conducted by Eurofins Analytical laboratory in Metairie, La.

In contrast, nine of the 10 samples of Coke products purchased in locations outside California contained little or no trace of 4-MEI.

"We applaud Coke," wrote Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health, in a release announcing the findings.

"Pepsi's delay is inexplicable," Green added. "We urge the company to take swift action."

A Pepsi spokesperson tells The Salt that sodas sold throughout the U.S. should complete the transition to the new caramel coloring by February 2014. The company says efforts are also underway to switch the color formulation for sodas distributed globally.

"The FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world, including the European Food Safety Authority and Health Canada, consider our caramel coloring safe for use in foods and beverages," Pepsi Co. wrote in an email to The Salt.

So, are the higher levels of 4-MEI found in sodas using the old formulation a threat to human health? Well, consider the dose.

The FDA issued a statement last year, before the formulation of caramel coloring was changed, stating that a consumer would have to drink more than 1,000 cans of soda a day to reach the doses that have been shown to lead to cancer in rodents.

And the American Beverage Association wrote in a statement last year that "the science simply does not show that 4-MEI in foods or beverages is a threat to human health."

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