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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The Durability Of Levis, Woven Into America's Fabric

May 19, 2013
Originally published on May 19, 2013 2:11 pm



One hundred and forty years ago this month, a German immigrant named Levi Strauss patented the first pair of jeans ever made. During the California gold rush, Strauss traveled across the country to set up a West Coast branch of his family's dry goods business. That business changed forever when Strauss got a letter from a tailor named Jacob Davis.

LYNN DOWNEY: Now, Jacob Davis had started making men's work pants with little metal rivets in the corners of the pockets and other points of strain. And he wanted to mass manufacture his product, but he needed a business partner.

MARTIN: That's Lynn Downey, the official historian of Levi Strauss.

DOWNEY: The two of them worked out a business deal to make the first riveted work pants on May 20, 1873.

MARTIN: Tell us about that first pair. What made them different? You mentioned the reinforcements at critical points of the piece of clothing. But what was denim?

DOWNEY: Denim was a very old fabric that originated in Europe, first in France called serge denim. It was the toughest fabric around. And men had worn unriveted denim pants for decades as work wear.

MARTIN: After World War II, jeans picked up a different kind of symbolism. What was happening at that time?

DOWNEY: After the war, a lot of American soldiers who had worn Levi's jeans when they were on leave came back from war and needed to find themselves. So, what did they do? They put on their 501 jeans, white T-shirts and black leather jackets and they formed motorcycle clubs. But this was a little frightening to an America that wanted to get back to normal after four years of war. So, these men were considered a little terrifying. And this was picked up by Hollywood, and they decided that a way to make someone immediately recognizable as a rebel was to put them in blue jeans. And the quintessential movie that expresses this is the 1953 film "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando.

MARTIN: I mean, as we've been talking it's clear this was an item of clothing that was meant for men. When did the first pair of jeans especially made for woman, when did that happen?

DOWNEY: Levi Strauss and Company introduced the first jean for women in 1934, because company management saw that Western women were wearing men's jeans when they were working on their family ranches. And they needed sturdy clothing just like their men did. But you're very right, they still were very male. I graduated from a public high school in 1972. Girls at my school were not allowed to wear pants to school. But then I went to college. I could wear jeans for the first time in a classroom? It was a liberating moment for me. And today, young women have made it possible for jeans to be worn by women everywhere. I just think it's wonderful.

MARTIN: Lynn Downey is the historian for Levi Strauss. She joined us on the line from San Francisco. Thanks so much, Lynn.

DOWNEY: It's my pleasure.


KEITH URBAN: (Singing) I pull my blue jeans on, I pull my old blue jeans on...

MARTIN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.