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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Easy Rawlins Is Alive, Or Is He?

May 15, 2013

I've been following Easy Rawlins since reading Devil in a Blue Dress in the '90s. That's a lot of time to give to a character. And as I read Little Green, I realized that I hadn't been following Easy, the character, all these years. In the past I was more invested in other parts of the stories.

I had enjoyed the cases Easy solved, and the way his creator Walter Mosley laid out Los Angeles and the complicated relationship between whites, blacks and Latinos in post-World War II California. I loved Easy's adopted family, his friendship with Raymond "Mouse" Alexander (who is always Don Cheadle when I picture him) and his complicated romantic relationship with Bonnie.

But, Easy is — or was — too cup-half-empty for me. There isn't a lot of joy inside him. "You look at the world and see what's there," one character says to him.

This book changed all that for me.

As Little Green opens, Easy is waking up from a two-month-long semicoma after drunkenly driving his car over a cliff in 2007's Blonde Faith. Everyone — even Mosley — thought he was dead. Mouse was making arrangements for his funeral. But not so fast: Like Easy says, the world keeps on turning. And Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is alive. He is alive.

No sooner than he opens his eyes, Easy's given a case to solve: find a young man who went to the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood one night and didn't return. His mama wants him home.

Still wondering if he's alive and if he is, then why, Easy stumbles out of his sick bed on wobbly legs and sets off on the hunt. But is he looking for the boy or himself? Will he find either of them?

And while he's only been out of commission for two months, the Summer of Love has taken hold and Easy finds himself having to navigate a new world of anti-establishment hippies, with their free love and drugs. Still, for Easy, a black man from the Deep South, operating outside and sliding narrowly along the edges of the lines is old hat: "Citizens like me knew that whatever you had could be taken away in an instant. We knew that value was first and foremost defined by the hand that offered it. Those on the receiving end were one-legged tightrope walkers," he says at one point.

As usual, Easy barters and trades his way through the novel, and Mosley even takes us back to Devil in a Blue Dress, reminding longtime readers like me how we got hooked in the first place. By the end, it's clear that there's an old Easy and a new Easy. "I was a man again," he says, "on the job again, back in the world where nothing ever turned out right but it kept right on turning anyway."

This old-new Easy deals with life, death, rebirth and redemption. And he's still here.

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