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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Democrats Face The Two States Of Texas: Urban And Rural

Jul 2, 2013
Originally published on July 2, 2013 2:32 pm

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

Texas is a large, diverse state with broad regional differences in population and demography. Its politics is subject to wild swings, too, depending on location. Take the 2012 presidential election, for example.

President Obama, who didn't contest the Lone Star State, got only 41 percent of the statewide vote last year. Compare that with the 57 percent of the vote received by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who also didn't devote any energy to Texas.

The map is staggeringly red, with Obama winning just 26 of the state's 254 counties, whose populations range from 4 million residents (Houston's Harris County) to 82 residents (rural Loving County):

Yet the above map can be deceptive because the population in many of Texas' counties is tiny. More than half of registered voters, for example, live in the 10 most populous counties. You can see the distribution in this map (below), which shows each county and its portion of the state's voters:

Romney's impressive margin shrinks, however, in the large counties. In those places, Obama split the vote with Romney, with each candidate receiving about 48 percent. And the margin changes slightly more in Obama's favor inside the five largest counties, which he won with about 52 percent.

Outside these urbanized areas, however, Democrats struggle. Romney won all the other counties with 70 percent of the vote on average.

This map (below) shows Obama's performance in all counties, with darker shades of blue representing higher proportions of the vote. You can see his support in the urban areas and the heavily Hispanic Rio Grande Valley, a rapidly growing section of the state, and the president's relative lack of support everywhere else:

Here's Romney's performance (below), with darker reds representing higher proportions of the vote. Note that this map has different vote ranges because the data distribution skews heavily toward large GOP margins in rural counties:

What could be heartening for Democrats, who haven't won a statewide race since the early days of the Clinton administration, is that the state is trending urban — and those places are starting to turn blue.

The bad news is that they're still getting clobbered in rural and exurban areas, and it could take many years to increase urban margins to high enough levels for them to compete in statewide elections.

Matt Stiles is data editor on NPR's News Applications team. Follow him on Twitter at @stiles.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.