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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Esther Williams, Swimmer Turned Movie Star, Dies

Jun 6, 2013

Esther Williams, a swimming champion who became "America's mermaid" when she starred in a series of Hollywood "aqua musicals" in the 1940s and '50s, has died.

According to The Associated Press, that word comes from her family and her publicist.

A stepson, actor Lorenzo Lamas, has also posted this message on Twitter:

"My stepmom Esther Williams passed peacefully this morning. The best swim teacher and soul mom RIP #EstherWilliams pic.twitter.com/MPsfpErSfh."

Williams would have turned 92 in August.

Her bio at IMBD.com says that:

"Esther Williams' youth was spent as a teenage swimming champion. ...

"She made her film debut with MGM in a 1942 'Andy Hardy' picture called Andy Hardy's Double Life. ... She became Mickey Rooney's love interest in the movie, and her character was called Sheila Brooks.

"Following this short movie, stardom was not far away. MGM created a special sub-genre for her known as 'Aqua Musicals.' Her first swimming role was in Bathing Beauty (1944). Bathing Beauty was a simple movie compared to her later big splashes such as (1952), co-starring Victor Mature and Walter Pidgeon. Esther Williams was often called 'America's Mermaid,' as it appeared that she could stay underwater forever!

"Following the decline of the once lucrative MGM aqua musical, she attempted dramatic roles. ... She retired from the movie industry in the 1960s, returning as a star guest in That's Entertainment! III (1994) discussing her appearance in MGM films."

People magazine writes that Williams was "born in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Inglewood, the fifth and youngest child of a sign-painter father and psychologist mother. ... [She] competed in amateur swimming competitions in the late 1930s, hoping to make it onto the U.S. swim team at the 1940 Olympics until that event was canceled due to the war in Europe. Instead, she performed in the Aquacade at the 1940 San Francisco World's Fair."

It was another swimmer-turned-movie star, Johnny Weismuller, "who picked her out of a casting call of 75 hopefuls" to be in the Aquacade, according to a bio on Williams' website.

People says it was at that show where "MGM talent scouts spotted and signed her."

She was offered a screen test "paired with none other than Clark Gable," Williams' website says. "Gable liked her, the studio liked her, and she was signed to a contract."

Williams was married four times. Three of her husbands — Ben Gage, Fernando Lamas and Edward Bell — were actors.

Here's a very relaxing video that compiles some of her swimming scenes.

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