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

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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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Employers Face Changes After Same-Sex-Marriage Ruling

Jul 9, 2013
Originally published on July 9, 2013 10:45 am

There are an estimated 225,000 Americans in legally recognized same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court's recent ruling striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act means they are now eligible for the same federal benefits as straight couples.

Many of those benefits touch the workplace, and employers are beginning to think about the changes they will have to make.

There are still more questions than answers for employers and employees as a result of the high court ruling. But that's not surprising to David Codell, legal director of UCLA's Williams Institute, a think tank that studies sexual orientation and the law.

"Discrimination is messy and it takes a lot of work to clean up," he says.

More than 1,000 federal laws, rules and regulations have an impact on married couples and may have to be changed. They deal with things like health care, retirement, family leave and many other benefits.

For same-sex couples who live and work in states that recognize their union, getting the new benefits should be relatively straightforward. But Codell says for couples who live in states where their marriage isn't honored, it may be complicated.

"The demise of DOMA is going to raise a lot of practical questions for employers," he says.

For example, will employers have to extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples who legally married in Washington, D.C., but now live in Virginia — a state that doesn't recognize their marriage?

The Obama administration says it wants to use a definition of marriage that includes the most people. But until new rules and regulations are written, employers won't know exactly what they'll need to do.

But while they wait for answers, they're beginning to ask questions.

"In some cases we're getting calls ... from customers and clients about what do we do," says Brent Schlosstein, founder of TrueBenefits, an employee benefits consulting firm.

"In most cases the question has to do with imputed income," he says. That's the value of things like health insurance for a same-sex spouse. While the federal government doesn't tax those benefits for married straight couples, it does if couples are of the same gender.

The Supreme Court ruling will do away with that distinction, and employers will have to adjust, says Kate Duchene of the consulting firm Resources Global Professionals.

"So the first thing we'll have to do is work with our payroll department to say how have we been taxing these benefits. And we're going to have to change that treatment in our payroll system," she says.

But Duchene, the company's chief legal officer and human resources chief, says that's just one piece of it.

"We need to draft a communication and tell our employees what we're doing," she says. "We may need to do some training, both with our HR staff as well as some of our field operations folks."

Duchene rattles off a long list of other changes that will have to be made, from special benefits in retirement plans to flexible spending accounts for health care.

In addition to expanding financial benefits, the court ruling is likely to affect the workplace in other ways.

Chris Crespo, inclusiveness director at accounting giant Ernst & Young, cites changes in immigration policy. Gay spouses will be treated the same as straight spouses, making it easier for employees living abroad to take assignments in the United States.

"We have a lot of mobility that happens domestically and internationally," she says. "I had one person who called me excited about the decision because he could now bring his married spouse into this country and not have to decide between spending time with his aging parents or his spouse."

For Ernst & Young and many other large firms, the first step in implementing the court ruling will begin with something very basic: They have to figure out who's entitled to new benefits.

Crespo says that because her firm offers domestic partner benefits, many employees might not have told the company that they had formally tied the knot.

"So we haven't tracked, up to this point, who is legally married from a same-sex perspective," she says.

Now, the firm will be reaching out to employees to get those answers.

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