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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Good Signs: Jobless Claims Dip And Job Growth Picks Up

Jul 3, 2013

Three reports Wednesday morning all offer at least modestly good news about the U.S. economy:

-- There were 343,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down 5,000 from the week before, says the Employment and Training Administration.

-- Job growth picked up in the private sector last month, say the data crunchers who produce the monthly ADP National Employment Report. That payroll firm's national survey shows a gain of 188,000 jobs, up from growth of 134,000 jobs in May.

Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, who works with ADP on the surveys, says in a statement that "the job market continues to gracefully navigate through the strongly blowing fiscal headwinds."

-- While the number of layoffs announced by U.S. companies in June was 8.2 percent higher than the level in May, "the pace of downsizing through the first half of the year is down about 9 percent from a year ago," according to the latest survey from the outplacement consultants at Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Its data show there were 39,372 layoffs announced last month. Through the first six months of the year, there were 258,932 layoffs announced — down from 283,091 over the same time period last year.

"The economy is picking up speed with housing and manufacturing staging comebacks. Threats to job security still exist, however, in the form of federal spending cutbacks stemming from sequestration as well as potential fallout from implementation of health care reform," CEO John Challenger said in a statement released with his firm's report.

We'll learn much more about the employment situation on Friday, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics is due to release its figures on the June unemployment rate and payroll growth that month. Bloomberg News says economists are expecting to hear that "employers created 165,000 jobs in June, [versus] 175,000 a month earlier" and that the jobless rate ticked down to 7.5 percent from May's 7.6 percent.

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