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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Elevator Pitch: Why Care About Washington?

Jul 10, 2013
Originally published on July 11, 2013 11:24 am

­­My friend Mark Leibovich — a New York Times reporter — has written a book about the inner watchworkings of Power Washington called This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Capital. Among the incestuous cognoscenti of the Capital City, This Town has more buzz than a top-bar beehive.

"His tour through Washington only feeds the worst suspicions anyone can have about the place — a land driven by insecurity, hypocrisy and cable hits, where friendships are transactional, blind-copying is rampant and acts of public service appear largely accidental," observes Carlos Lozada in The Washington Post.

"In a super-literal way, the city that I live in — where people live on the Green Line or in Bloomingdale/Eckington/LeDroit Park or out on H Street NE — is a very different city from the one Leibovich profiles," writes Matthew Yglesias in Slate. "It's become a city of principle, and a city where much less gets done in backroom deals. But it's also a city with much more vicious partisanship and much less of a spirit of 'let's compromise for the public good.' It's a city that people have come to hate for whole different reasons and in whole different ways."

Lozada and Yglesias are both Washingtonians, as are many of the people who are at once drawn to and repelled by the behavior described in This Town.

So my question to Mark: Why in the world would anyone outside the Beltway care to read about Washington's wretched ways? You've got 30 seconds. Go.

"People from out of town should read This Town because no one truly knows what the whole giddy carnival here has become. All of the vanity, opportunism and shamelessness that ever was has been amplified by so much big money and so much New Media. It captures a moment — meaning, the nation's capital in the 21st century — that people don't fully appreciate in all its decadence. It's a serious story. But people seem to be laughing hard at it, so that's good, too ..."

Further Reading:

The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins, by Jeff Connaughton, a 2012 Washington scather by a former aide to Vice President Joe Biden.

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, a 2008 tell-some by Scott McClellan, former press secretary to President George W. Bush.

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