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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Google's Privacy Shift Powers New Customized Maps

May 16, 2013
Originally published on May 17, 2013 11:15 am

This week, Google, already a leader in mapping, created more space between itself and its competitors by more deeply mining the data users provide the company when using its various services.

At the Google developers' conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps, crowed about the company's mapping app for the iPhone — and couldn't quite stop himself from taking a dig at Apple.

"People called it sleek, simple, beautiful, and let's not forget, accurate," he said.

The company unveiled a new Google Maps with a number of new features: a clearer user interface; social recommendations; maps that are tailor-made for the searches and habits of an individual user; maps that highlight all the museums in a city after you search for one; maps that identify your favorite places and make them landmarks on the map that you see.

If you frequent a certain restaurant in San Francisco, for example, Google will take note and attempt to find similar places to highlight when you search for a restaurant in, say, Austin, Texas, or Prague.

When I opened up the new Google Maps on my computer, the first thing I saw in the upper left-hand corner were three pre-populated addresses: one was for my daughters' school, one was for our house (it was labeled "Home") and one was for the house we used to live in.

It is clear from the very first moment using the new Google Maps that this map is made just for me. But it also was another disconcerting reminder of how much information about me and my family is being captured and stored and analyzed by Google every day.

Over time, Google Maps will create local landmarks on my map — highlighting places I like to go. When I search for "coffee" in the search bar, Cafe Barrone, a place right next to our local bookstore, pops up prominently because we've searched for it in the past.

When Google revised its privacy policies last year — removing most of the barriers between its various services and clearing the way for the company to use data it collects about me in everything from search to my Google Calendar — it made services like its new maps possible. But it also meant that Google began creating hundreds of millions of individualized portfolios of information about its users that were capturing information about us in all sorts of ways.

"Generating new data from other data is fundamentally what Google does," said Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering at Google responsible for maps.

The mapping program, which for now is only available on desktops and laptops, also seamlessly incorporates images from Google Earth — without the need to download the Google Earth app. But this is only possible if you have a relatively new computer running the latest operating systems.

On a new, fast machine the results are gorgeous: As you scroll out and away from your neighborhood and rise up into the clouds, you see Earth as you would from space. Even the clouds are updated live and in real time. You can spin the globe and see the sun in the background, and you can watch the lights of cities on the dark side of the planet come on.

But not everyone will get this experience right away. When I booted the new Google Maps on my NPR laptop, the first thing I saw was a note letting me know that some of the slickest 3-D imagery wouldn't work.

If you want the full experience of 3-D maps, you need a current operating system — like Windows 7 or Windows 8. NPR, like many cost-conscious organizations, still has lots of laptops out in the field running Windows XP — including mine.

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