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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Conservative Advice To GOP: Don't Legislate, Focus On Scandals

May 17, 2013
Originally published on May 17, 2013 4:25 pm

Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.

In a letter this week to the leaders, Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham says "outrage over Benghazi" and the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups has "rightly focused the nation's attention squarely on the actions of the Obama administration." The letter goes on to say the House must continue holding oversight hearings, "but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference."

The letter specifically mentions the Internet sales tax bill (which recently passed the Senate with lots of Republican support) and the farm bill (the Senate is working through it now and is likely to pass it soon). Needham says both bills, which House conservatives dislike, could prompt the press to write another " 'circular firing squad' article."

"Rather than scheduling such legislation for consideration, we urge you to keep the attention focused squarely on the Obama administration," Needham wrote in summation.

One might ask why Boehner and Cantor would even think about taking advice from a group that at times has worked at cross purposes with the House leadership agenda. But Boehner's spokesman didn't take the bait, choosing not to comment on the Heritage Action letter.

The Speaker has made it clear he thinks the House can and should walk and chew gum at the same time. On the investigations, he said at a news conference Thursday: "When you're trying to seek the truth, and if that is the goal to seek the truth, there is no line." That is, no line where they risk taking the investigations too far, something other Republicans are worrying about.

And Boehner said he doesn't think these investigations would get in the way of the House legislative agenda. "We've got a job here to legislate," he said at his on-camera Q&A Thursday. "We're trying to do everything to create jobs and we're going to continue to do everything we can to do that."

Next week the House is expected to consider a bill dealing with student loan interest rates and a measure that would approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

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