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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Four Men In A Small Boat Face The Northwest Passage

May 30, 2013

Only a few years ago, even large commercial vessels wouldn't take on the ice-bound Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific via the Canadian north — but climate change has changed all that.

Now, a group of hearty adventurers hopes to be the first to row the 1,900-mile route this summer.

"Several people have kayaked it [a section at a time] over several years. But no one has ever done this under human power in a single season. Not even close," Kevin Vallely, who is heading up the rowing team, told The Globe and Mail on Wednesday.

Vallely has completed his last shakedown cruise and plans to set off at the beginning of July from Inuvik in northern Canada with three crew mates in a custom-built, 23-foot rowboat. They expect to take 75 days to reach their eastern destination, the town of Pond Inlet. Along the way they're bracing for encounters with dangerous ice, storms and polar bears, not to mention the psychological challenge of four men in a small boat in those difficult circumstances.

"We have guns" as a precaution against polar bears, Vallely tells The Globe and Mail. "But we'll have rubber bullets and bear bangers ... we don't want to kill a bear."

The newspaper says Vallely, "who has done numerous wilderness treks over the past 20 years, said if your physical conditioning is just right, body fitness peaks during a long journey and then slowly deteriorates."

" 'Obviously you have to train enough that you don't get injured [by the exertion of the expedition]. But you don't want to train too much, because if you go into it Tour de France fit, in a couple of weeks you would be fried,' he said. 'So you go into it fit, but not crazy fit, and you build up and you get really strong about half-way through. And then you slowly start to fall apart. By the end you want to be tired, happy to be done, but not completely baked.' "

As we reported back in March, computer simulations of various climate change models indicate that Arctic ice will be so thin by the middle of the century that commercial shipping from North America to Russia or Asia via the Arctic could become routine.

In recent years, Arctic sea ice has shrunk to its smallest extent on record, opening up the Northwest Passage. A solo sailor in a 27-foot fiberglass sailboat was one of 18 private yachts to sail the route last year.

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