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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Congress: Where Food Reforms Go To Die?

May 16, 2013

Two seemingly common-sense, bipartisan food reforms have gotten mugged on Capitol Hill in recent days. If you're a loyal reader of The Salt, you've heard of them.

First, there's the proposal — backed by an odd-couple alliance of egg producers and animal-welfare activists — to set minimum standards for the housing of egg-laying chickens. Second, the Obama administration wants to change the way the United States provides food aid to people in foreign countries, buying more of that food close to where it's needed.

Neither proposal seems, at first glance, controversial. Changing the rules for food aid should save money, according to most independent analyses, allowing the program to feed more hungry people. Similar reforms, in fact, were proposed by President George W. Bush. The "egg bill," meanwhile, is a remarkable instance of pragmatic compromise between bitter adversaries.

Any change, however, threatens somebody, and both of these proposals have run afoul of politically well-connected people.

In the case of food aid, the skeptics include American shippers and dock workers, who will get slightly less work if the U.S. sends cash to buy food abroad. They, in turn, have a powerful friend in Congress: Sen. Barbara Mikulski, proud native of the port city of Baltimore and chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In an e-mail to NPR, Mikulski wrote that "we need to find a sensible center that will allow us to implement smart reforms without jeopardizing U.S. jobs, particularly those in the maritime industry."

In part because of Mikulski's resistance, advocates of reform are now trying a different route entirely — a free-standing bill that's been introduced by Edward Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Its prospects are uncertain.

The "egg bill," meanwhile, has some influential supporters. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack brings it up frequently as an exemplary compromise between large-scale agriculture and its critics. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, actually tried to include it in her draft of the farm bill, which is up for renewal (again) this year.

Pork and beef producers, however, object in principle to the notion of federal regulation of farm animal housing — even though, in this case, the egg producers themselves are asking for federal regulations as a way to pre-empt state rules that are more troublesome.

When the agriculture committees of both House and Senate finished their versions of the farm bill this week, all mention of guaranteed living space for egg-laying hens had vanished.

In fact, the House committee adopted a provision that could make it more difficult for states to set such standards. This amendment, offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, would prohibit any effort by state governments to control the way that their food is produced by out-of-state farmers. The measure is aimed specifically at California's Proposition 2, which is set to ban farmers in Iowa or Idaho from selling their eggs in California if those eggs come from chickens housed in traditional cages.

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