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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Gamers Converge On L.A. For Electronic Entertainment Expo

Jun 13, 2013
Originally published on June 14, 2013 1:18 pm



The biggest players in the video gaming are gathered here in Los Angeles this week for E3, the industry's annual trade show. Gamers have been anticipating the unveiling of new products from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and other companies.

NPR's Laura Sydell has spent the past few days with zombies, assassins and one little plumber. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: We're going to have to find out about that plumber in a couple of minutes because really the biggest story coming out of E3 is about the consoles - that physical box through which many games are played.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: War is our business.

MONTAGNE: And the war is between Microsoft and Sony. Laura, tell us.

SYDELL: Yeah. Well, you know, the whole thing ticked off with Microsoft's press conference and they announced a price of $499 for their new Xbox One. That is a high price. So I think the way they're justifying it is that if it works as advertised, it's kind of an amazing technological device. So it includes the Kinect, which is their gesture-based system. So you can literally just use your hands, and it's been extremely popular.

It's gotten even better. It also has voice recognition. It has Skype, so you can Skype with grandma on the TV set in the living room. It will allow you to connect directly to live TV. And so I think that's why they're justifying this 499 price.

MONTAGNE: Well, I gather on the floor of the convention center, Microsoft has a booth right next to Sony. Sparks could be flying there. And Sony also gave a press conference earlier this week - just after Microsoft dropped that $499 bomb. What did Sony have to say for itself?

SYDELL: Well, the biggest thing they said is ours is $100 cheaper. There are some people who speculated that they actually waited for Microsoft to say that before they announced their price, and that was very warmly received. Also the fact that on Sony you can absolutely use used games. Now, this is a huge market among gamers and Microsoft has been really cagey about it. So when Sony made this announcement that you could use used games, there was a standing ovation. I mean people were elated, which I know, that sounds crazy, but when I actually talked to Microsoft about this, they were really evasive to that question. They kept referring people back to their website.

I played both consoles and I enjoyed the Sony one a little more - I have to say. But we're still waiting. You know, this is going to be a slow unveil through November, when they finally hit the shelves.

MONTAGNE: And there is a third major console and that's Nintendo. How is it faring in these console wars?

SYDELL: It's a little sad because the original Wii was actually a breakthrough. It allowed you to use sort of gesture technology, where you had the controller and you can bowl with it and do all these things and it was a huge hit. But the new one - the Wii U - which came out before last Christmas, has really not been selling so well. However, you know, Nintendo has some games that people really love - like Mario, the Plumber, and Donkey Kong, and that may keep people coming back.

MONTAGNE: Well, with all that technology under one roof, what's, say, one of the cooler things that you've seen this week?

SYDELL: I would say Disney has got something called Infinity, which takes a large number of their films and there are games for all the different films...



SYDELL: And then the cool part is it's got this toy box where you can bring characters from different films and let them play together, which of course is what children actually do. And it has a real world component, so you can go and you can buy the actual physical characters, and when you buy them, you connect them to the game and they appear on your screen.

And I think, yeah, that seems like very smart for them to do this, because it is more like children play; they don't just go into one world and stay there.

MONTAGNE: E3 is wrapping up today. Thanks very much, Laura.

SYDELL: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: Laura Sydell is NPR's digital culture correspondent. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.