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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Foul Play, Negligence Not Ruled Out In Quebec Train Disaster

Jul 10, 2013
Originally published on July 11, 2013 6:19 am

Quebec police are looking into whether Saturday's train derailment and the massive explosions that followed in the small town of Lac-Megantic were caused by "foul play or criminal negligence," CBC News reported Wednesday morning.

"We are conducting a criminal investigation. We are not neglecting anything so far," provincial police inspector Michel Forget said, according to the news network. Authorities do not suspect this was an act of terrorism, however.

As Wednesday began, the confirmed number of deaths remained at 15. But as we reported Tuesday evening, that left the number of missing at about 35 people. (Update at 10:55 a.m. ET: Later Wednesday morning, officials said they now believe about 45 people are still unaccounted for.)

Update at 6:25 p.m. ET: Death Toll Rises

Authorities now say that at least 20 people died in the massive explosion. They're among the 50 people still counted as missing because they have yet to be identified, the CBC reports.

Our original post continues:

The CBC says that Canada's Transportation Safety Board is "looking into whether the train's operator — Montreal, Maine and Atlantic — followed proper safety procedures in the hours before the unmanned 72-car train carrying crude oil rolled down a hill and slammed into town. ... It remains unclear whether the train's conductor had set enough hand brakes — which are meant to hold a train in place even if the air brakes fail — before he left the train for a shift change shortly before the fire broke out."

The Canadian Press writes that "police say they're treating the Lac-Mégantic disaster area as a 'crime scene' and say they could lay charges. ... Quebec provincial police Insp. Michel Forget revealed that police are not leaning towards terrorism as a hypothesis, but are more likely exploring the possibility of criminal negligence. ... However, he did not say whether the investigation was for potential crimes committed at the explosion site or farther up the rail line."

Meanwhile, investigators are also looking at what happened earlier when there was a fire on the train as it was parked in the nearby town of Nantes. According to Canadian Press, the railroad company "has suggested the fire crew didn't do enough — and even suggested the decision to shut off the locomotive to put out [the] fire ... might have disabled the brakes. The fire crew, however, says it was simply following procedures set out by the railway itself."

It was following that fire, while the train was unattended during a shift change of its crew, that the tank cars loaded with oil started rolling toward Lac-Mégantic — where they derailed and exploded.

Lac-Mégantic is about 150 miles east of Montreal, near the border with Maine.

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