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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Federal Defender Wants Out Of Terrorism Case Due To Budget Cuts

Jun 12, 2013
Originally published on June 12, 2013 6:32 pm

A federal public defender in Idaho wants a judge to find another lawyer for an Uzbek national charged with aiding a terrorist group and training others in how to build and use a weapon of mass destruction.

The reason? Samuel Richard Rubin, executive director of the federal defender's office in Idaho, blames budget cuts and cuts mandated as part of sequestration.

"This case is going to take significant resources," Rubin says. "It's a terrorism case, and it has foreign implications."

Rubin says the discovery process alone could involve hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.

Update at 6:30 p.m. ET. U.S. Attorney Won't Oppose Motion:

"We're not going to oppose the motion," says U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson. "It's a matter between the court, defense counsel and the defendant."

Olson adds that it's not unusual for a change in defense counsel in a criminal case and early changes are not disruptive.

She also notes that "this is just an indication that the sequester has real world impact."

Olson responded to our request for comment after we initially published this post.

Our original post continues:

The case involves Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, of Boise, who is charged both in Idaho and Utah and recently waived a detention hearing. Had it been held, the hearing likely would have made public a search warrant affidavit and arrest warrant that may have provided additional details of Kurbanov's alleged acts.

Rubin has filed a motion to withdraw from the case. A document supporting the motion is under seal, but Rubin explained his reasoning in an interview with NPR.

"We have an obligation to handle 75 percent of the [federal] indigent cases [in Idaho]," Rubin said. "It's important to handle high-profile cases, but it's also important to handle cases involving people who are not high-profile."

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge has yet to respond to the motion. Rubin says Lodge can appoint a private attorney who is willing to take the case.

Federal defenders across the country have been complaining about budget and sequester cuts, and forced furlough days, saying they can no longer afford to take complicated cases or pay expert witnesses.

Last month, the U.S. Judicial Conference, which administers the federal court system, asked Congress for $41.4 million in emergency funding for federal defenders. Congress has yet to act on the request.

The Idaho case is not the first to trigger a motion for withdrawal. And it won't be the last, says Michael Nachmanoff, the federal public defender for the Eastern District of Virginia.

"The budget cuts are absolutely overwhelming and devastating," he says. "But this is peanuts compared to the next fiscal year."

Nachmanoff spoke during a break from a meeting in which he was figuring out how to trim a third of his staff. He says all federal defender offices have been forced to do the same.

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