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

1 hour 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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Ghost Ships, Murders, Bird Attacks: Stories To Keep You Awake

May 19, 2013

Ethan Rutherford is the author of The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories.

I'd seen the movies before reading the stories — Nicolas Roeg's masterful version of "Don't Look Now" featuring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie; and Alfred Hitchcock's strangely flat-footed and clunky version of "The Birds" — so I thought I knew what to expect from Daphne du Maurier's fiction. I was, in fact, a little bored by the prospect of reading these stories, since I'd already seen the movies, but one day a friend insisted, loaned me her copy of Don't Look Now and just said: Trust me. I sat down while it was still light out, didn't move from the chair until dark and have had a hard time sleeping ever since.

What I love and admire about the stories collected here — and all of them are great, but I will confess to loving "Don't Look Now" and "The Birds," the two stories that open the collection, more than the rest — is that they are eventful, by which I mean: Things happen. I had been on a streak of reading collections packed with stories that hinged on small misunderstandings, or featured passive characters typing emails to one another and being sad about their inability to express themselves. There is nothing wrong with stories like this, at their best you could say this sort of story is Chekhov 2.0, but at the time I was frustrated with my own writing. In my stories, nothing much seemed to happen; I was lucky if my character was able to, say, move a couch into his bedroom. It was depressing for everyone.

And then: that long day and this book. The stories collected in Don't Look Now feature U-boats and ghost ships; murderers and femme fatales; love on the rocks; episodes of clairvoyance and psychic shock; and, of course, birds attacking humans. "Nothing's been the same since. Nor ever will be," says the narrator of "Kiss Me Again, Stranger" — and that is what you come to these stories for: each features characters who endure the strange and the extreme, and who are forever changed by the events that befall them.

Do some of these stories telegraph their endings? Do a few of them read like genre exercises? Sure, a few of them do. But the first two alone are worth the price of admission. "Don't Look Now" is a strange and intimate masterpiece: a perfect distillation of the confusion and desire that attend grief, which, as the story progresses, adventures forward through the winding streets of Venice with the logic of nightmare. And then there's "The Birds," set on the desolate coast of Cornwall following World War II, which opens with a white cloud of gulls rising and falling in the trough of the seas "like a mighty fleet at anchor, waiting on the tide" — well, you know the story, or think you do. The movie is hammy and corny, but the story — both a precursor to the zombie scenarios so familiar these days and an early herald of the sort of environmental cataclysm we find ourselves on the verge of now — is absolutely terrifying. These stories open the book, and neither, once you turn the first page, lets you go.

All the stories in Don't Look Now are, in their own way, refusals of comfort —they do not end well for the characters — but we, as readers, knew that would be the case going in. This is du Maurier, after all. The pleasure in reading this book lies in being plunged into situations that are so fraught with tension that you begin to look for a release, which, when it does come, is never from the anticipated direction. They are strange stories; they are surprising. "Are you in distress?" comes the hail from a ghost ship in "Escort." The answer, as a reader, is surely: yes. But would you have it any other way?

You Must Read This is produced and edited by the team at NPR Books.

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