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 http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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 http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Is Cutting The Pentagon's Budget A Gift To Our Enemies?

Jun 25, 2013
Originally published on June 25, 2013 1:48 pm

Amid the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration and a general belt-tightening mood among many on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon is being asked to reduce its spending after a decade of increases.

Some argue that even with cutbacks, the U.S. spends far more than other countries on defense, and that the drones and special operations forces increasingly being used in the counterterrorism fight cost less than conventional military operations.

But others say that the U.S. still faces plenty of dangers — including threats from China and the Middle East — and that a weaker military would only encourage more. Also, they say, maintaining an effective all-volunteer military requires ever-increasing personnel costs, meaning less money is left for training and equipment.

A group of experts recently faced off, two against two, over military spending in a debate for the Intelligence Squared U.S. series, in partnership with the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. The motion for the Oxford-style debate was, "Cutting the Pentagon's budget is a gift to our enemies."

Before the debate, the audience voted 22 percent in favor of the motion and 57 percent against, with 21 percent undecided. After the debate, 29 percent agreed that "cutting the Pentagon's budget is a gift to our enemies," while 65 percent disagreed — making the side arguing against the motion the winners.

Those debating were:

FOR THE MOTION

Thomas Donnelly, a defense and security policy analyst, is the co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the co-author with Frederick W. Kagan of Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields (2010). Among his recent books are Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power (2008) and Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources (2007). From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director and a professional staff member for the House Committee on Armed Services. Donnelly also served as a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times and Defense News.

Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. is president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He assumed this position in 1993, following a 21-year career in the U.S. Army. Krepinevich has served in the Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment and on the personal staff of three secretaries of defense. He currently serves on the Chief of Naval Operations' Advisory Board and on the Army Special Operations Command's Advisory Board. Krepinevich has served as a consultant on military affairs for many senior government officials, including several secretaries of defense, the CIA's National Intelligence Council and all four military services. Krepinevich's most recent book is 7 Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century. Krepinevich received the 1987 Furniss Award for his book The Army and Vietnam.

AGAINST THE MOTION

Benjamin H. Friedman is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the Cato Institute. His areas of expertise include counterterrorism, homeland security and defense politics. He is the author of dozens of op-eds and journal articles and co-editor of two books, including Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing and How to Fix It, published in 2010. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a doctoral candidate in political science and an affiliate of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kori Schake is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, where she is writing a book about the American experience as a rising power from 1840-1921. She has worked for the Pentagon's Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the State Department's Office of Policy Planning. During the 2008 presidential election, she was a senior policy adviser to the McCain-Palin campaign. She previously held the distinguished chair in international security studies at the U.S. Military Academy and taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs. She blogs for Shadow Government at Foreign Policy. Her most recent book is State of Disrepair: Fixing the Culture and Practices of the State Department (2012).

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.