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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Feeling A Little Blue May Mask Our Ability To Taste Fat

Jun 6, 2013
Originally published on June 6, 2013 4:00 pm

So, here's the scenario: You're feeling a little blue, then you watch an emotional movie and dig into a bowl of ice cream.

Are you aware of how fattening your comfort food is? Likely not. Especially in the moment.

A new study finds that temporary, strong emotions, like the sadness we experience from a weepy movie, can significantly decrease our ability to taste — or perceive — the amount of fat we're eating.

"Strong emotions can confuse our fragile sense of taste perception," Elissa Epel, a health psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Salt by email. She was not involved in this study, but her research looks at how stress influences us.

"Stress signals danger and should make us detect [tastes like] bitter more strongly," Epel says. And this is exactly what happened in the study.

Participants in the study experienced a stronger sensitivity to bitter, sweet and sour tastes after watching emotional videos with storylines that were both happy and sad. In fact, their sensitivities to these tastes were heightened by about 15 percent.

But, at the same time, participants' ability to distinguish levels of fat "got much worse," according to researcher Paul Breslin of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University, who co-authored the study.

"It was a surprise," Breslin says, that perceptions of fat moved in the opposite direction.

It turns out, Breslin says, that his findings fit with a body of evidence that suggests that people who are mildly depressed and who have elevated body weight may have lower sensitivity to fat.

So, it's possible that if "they don't know the fat is there, and eat it, they may be inadvertently eating more fat," says Breslin. "That's sort of the concern here."

The research was carried out in Germany at the University of Wurzburg. Lead author Petra Platte, a psychologist by training, recruited participants to taste samples of a creamy drink that contained varying levels of fat.

At the start of the study, the participants were all feeling a little blue or anxious. Researchers were able to assess the emotional status of the participants by having them complete a 21-question survey, called the Beck Depression Inventory.

Then, the participants were asked to watch video clips. There was a feel-good, happy video of a man bringing flowers to a woman. There was also a sad clip in which a son watches his father die. Both of the videos were designed to elicit an emotional response.

In addition, there was a third video — a boring, unemotional workplace training clip. The participants who watched this unemotional clip did not lose the ability to gauge levels of fat.

So, it seems to be that it's an emotional reaction, when folks are already a little blue, that causes people to lose the ability to tell high fat from low. The study is published in the journal PLOS One.

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