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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'

Jun 20, 2013

Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.

The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.

The group's president, Alan Chambers, said in a statement that he wanted to apologize to the gay community "for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the church as a whole."

A gay-rights group, Truth Wins Out, said it welcomed Chambers' "integrity and authenticity."

"It takes a real man to publicly confront the people whose lives were destroyed by his organization's work, and to take real, concrete action to begin to repair that damage," the group's associate director, Evan Hurst, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

Another gay-activist group, The Human Rights Campaign, said it was pleased that Exodus had taken a "first step in honestly addressing the harm the organization and its leaders have caused."

On Wednesday, at the ministry's annual conference, Chambers acknowledged that "we've hurt people."

"While there has been so much good at Exodus, there has also been bad," he said. "We've fought the culture war, and we've lost. It's time for peace."

Chambers, who is married to wife Leslie and has spoken openly about his sexual attraction to men, said last year that he was trying to distance his ministry from the notion that it could "cure" a homosexual orientation. A year ago, Chambers had already publicly backed away from the notion that the organization could cause someone to change his or her sexual orientation.

Tony Moore, an Exodus board member, said in a separate statement that the decision was "not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change — and they want it to be heard."

The AP says that Truth Wins Out's Hurst notes that some former Exodus followers who were disenchanted with Chambers' direction had formed a new "ex-gay ministry."

Update At 5:20 p.m. ET

NPR's John Burnett reports that in an television interview last year, Chambers said that 99.9 percent of gay people who go through therapy to change their sexual orientation never are able to do it.

Christopher Doyle, a psychotherapist and president of the International Healing Foundation, a group that maintains that homosexual tendencies can be reoriented, says Chambers' announcement has hurt the cause.

"It's a sad day for the ex-gay movement, where the largest Christian organization that's existed for almost 40 years, [that] has really given a lot of hope to people who are trying to come out of homosexuality, is basically saying that people can't change," Doyle told NPR.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.