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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The French Learned To Make Wine From Italians 2,400 Years Ago

Jun 4, 2013
Originally published on June 4, 2013 12:38 pm

The French weren't the first to make wine? Mon dieu! But as anyone who has sipped a Bordeaux, Champagne or Burgundy can tell you, the French got pretty good at it once they learned how. And thanks to some molecular archaeology, researchers can now confirm they picked up these skills as early as 425 B.C.

So who taught the French the art of viniculture? Probably the ancient Italians, says the man with perhaps the coolest nickname in science research — the "Indiana Jones of alcohol," Patrick McGovern.

The Eurasian grape — Vitis vinifera, the source of 99 percent of the world's wine — was first domesticated about 9,000 years ago in the mountains of the Near East, says McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Later, Canaanite, Phoenician and Greek merchants all played a part in spreading that wine culture across the Mediterranean.

Around the eighth century B.C., the Phoenicians of the Fertile Crescent helped the Etruscans set up vineyards in central Italy, he says.

"The Etruscan industry started to take off," says McGovern. And within 200 years, he says, "they did the same as the Phoenicians: building ships and carrying their wine over to southern France."

To figure out just when France's wine culture began, McGovern and his colleagues analyzed organic residues that had seeped into jars recovered from the ancient French port city of Lattara (now known as Lattes). The jars were distinctly Etruscan in style, which told the researchers that they had been imported. As the researchers report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, their tests confirmed the jars had contained wine from 500 to 475 B.C.

That act of importation soon led to imitation, the authors say: Once the French got a taste of the Etruscans' intoxicating drink, they wanted in on the action. It was "a relatively short time" (100 years or so) before grapevines were transplanted and local wine production got underway in southern France — probably "under Etruscan tutelage" at first, McGovern and his colleagues write.

The researchers found biomarkers for grapes in the limestone of a pressing platform (also from Lattara) from about 425 B.C. Not only did this indicate that it was used as a wine press, and that the locals were vinting their own wine by that time, but it also confirmed the tool as the earliest chemically identified wine press. It's possible the French were making wine even earlier than this, but McGovern's research provides the first chemically confirmed date.

McGovern — who has spent much of his career tracing viniculture history — says that wine culture drove cross-civilization interactions. (One might say it still plays a pretty important role in easing social interactions.)

"When [rulers] get interested and they start incorporating wine into their everyday lives, then it works its way into the religious ceremonies," he says. "And then it filters down to the average person after a while. It's a lot like the New World spread of wine culture out to California, Australia, New Zealand and so on."

But perhaps the wine we toast with today would taste vastly different if it hadn't been for those pioneer French vintners more than two millennia ago.

"During the Middle Ages (and later) — especially in the monasteries — the French refined winemaking in such a way that it became the world's standard," he says. "As such, when New World wineries were established, they almost always transplanted French cultivars."

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