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

1 hour 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


Comikaze: Not Just The Other Comic Convention

May 28, 2013
Originally published on May 29, 2013 8:43 am

You may be familiar with the San Diego Comic-Con, a constantly expanding convention for fans that started as a niche event for comic-book nerds and is now a sprawling pop-culture event.

You may not be familiar with Comikaze. The brainchild of Regina Carpinelli, a fan who was unhappy with the cost, ticket scarcity, and changing focus of Comic-Con, Comikaze is a smaller festival that costs $30 for the weekend, rather than Comic-Con's $150 four-day passes. On Tuesday's All Things Considered, Tess Vigeland reports on the growing Comikaze and speaks to Carpinelli and some of her peers about how she went from a dissatisfied fan of a huge convention to the proprietor of another.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit



You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Pick any weekend on the calendar and you're likely to find a geek culture convention somewhere in the U.S. The grandfather of them all is in the San Diego area. It's the San Diego Comic-Con. Each fall, it draws more than 130,000 comic book, sci-fi and horror fans. A relative newcomer to this convention scene is happening further up the California coast.

From Los Angeles, Tess Vigeland has this story about the event known as Stan Lee's Comikaze and its founder.

TESS VIGELAND, BYLINE: Regina Carpinelli grew up the only girl in a family with five boys. Suffice it to say, her childhood was not all rainbows and unicorns.

REGINA CARPINELLI: I automatically liked everything that the boys liked, so my life was playing Terminator and reading "Spiderman."

VIGELAND: So it shouldn't be surprising that she now runs one of the most successful pop culture conventions in the country, except that she's all of 31 years old and her convention experience consisted entirely of being a fan.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That's right. Give it up. Give it up.

VIGELAND: The first Comikaze convention debuted in November 2011, just one year after Carpinelli decided San Diego's Comic-Con had outgrown itself. She'd been going since she was 12. But in 2010, she couldn't get tickets. Not only that. But she felt Comic-Con had strayed too far from its horror-sci-fi roots and that the organizers no longer understood their audience.

CARPINELLI: I meet the owners. They're not fans. Yeah. They know what Superman is and Wonder Woman, but they can't name all the My Little Ponies and all their personality traits.

VIGELAND: She certainly can. So in 2011, Carpinelli and a staff of five managed to get a hall at the L.A. Convention Center and spent months trying to get some big stars to take part.

CARPINELLI: Waterboarding tactics.


VIGELAND: Among them, comic book icon Stan Lee and character actress Cassandra Peterson, better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Both signed on. And Peterson was thrilled with the access she had to fans.

CASSANDRA PETERSON: Last year, I did a big Elvira museum. I brought my Macabremobile in and my original red couch where I hosted horror movies from, you know, fun stuff where I'm not just sitting at a table, just signing autographs and a lot of, you know, moving along real quick.

VIGELAND: Peterson and Stan Lee became Carpinelli's business partners and investors after 35,000 fans showed up that first year. "Star Wars'" Mark Hamill has attended, as did TV Batman Adam West, hosting a panel with the director Kevin Smith.

ADAM WEST: What's left for you? What do you still want to do?

KEVIN SMITH: Oh, lordy, Kevin, that's such a great question. I mean, just send the check.


VIGELAND: One attraction of Comikaze is the admission price. Carpinelli was determined to keep it low so that fans could spend their money instead on merchandise and autographs. A weekend pass is just $30. A four-day pass to Comic-Con is 150.

The immediate and huge success of Comikaze creates a challenge for Carpinelli as she tries to maintain intimacy and access for fans and not become another frenzied, bursting-at-the-seams Comic-Con. Nearly 50,000 people attended last year's convention. Analyst and self-described fanboy Jonathan London, the founder of Geekscape, isn't worried.

JONATHAN LONDON: She is a fan herself. So whenever Comikaze grows and as it grows and you know it's growing like a weed, she's going to keep reassessing the convention from a fan's perspective.

VIGELAND: Something Regina Carpinelli hopes to do with fans around the globe, as Comikaze makes plans to set up shop in Brazil, London and China.

CARPINELLI: I want us to take over the world. I want to inspire kids to write, to draw, to create.

VIGELAND: And even to know that it's OK to be 40 years old and dress like a storm trooper. For NPR News, I'm Tess Vigeland in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.