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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Gov. Rick Perry Will Keep Texas Guessing. Until Monday

Jul 2, 2013
Originally published on July 2, 2013 6:36 pm

Will he or won't he?

The Texas political class has been abuzz this week about more than just Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis' abortion bill filibuster-heard-round-the-nation.

The other occupying parlor game: Whether three-term Republican Gov. Rick Perry intends to seek an unprecedented fourth full term.

CNN and other news organizations reported Tuesday afternoon that Perry, a failed 2012 GOP presidential candidate, plans an announcement Monday about his "exciting future plans."

CNN was first to report that Perry, governor since 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become president, invited via email friends and supporters to San Antonio Monday for the announcement.

The conventional wisdom had been that Perry, who damaged his brand with his highly anticipated but ultimately disastrous foray into presidential politics, would not seek to extend his record as the nation's longest-serving governor.

The ground, however, has shifted for Perry over the past few months. Polls show that his standing among Texas voters — and in particular, the GOP base — has improved. And Davis' successful filibuster of a Perry-supported restrictive abortion bill hasn't just animated Democrats.

"Events of the past week have energized activists in both parties," says Harold Cook, former executive director of the Texas Democratic Party.

But Cook is among Texas politicos who don't think Perry plans another run for governor.

"There are no signs of a big staff-up, no lining up office space, and I don't believe that he has spent the last six months secretly running for governor," Cook says.

That being said, Cook and others note that if Perry gets perturbed about something he has no compunction about changing his mind.

Let's not forget, they say, the 2010 election when then-GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison seemed a bit too eager to usher Perry out of the governor's office. Perry ended up soundly defeating her in a primary.

"I think the odds of Rick Perry running for re-election are far greater now than they were two weeks ago," says Jason Stanford, a Texas Democratic political consultant. "He would love to have this fight about abortion, and he doesn't want to look like a girl scared him away."

"Not that he's particularly sexist, but he has been in charge for so long, he doesn't want to look like he got shoved off the stage," Stanford says.

Democrats like Stanford are touting Davis and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates next year.

Matt Mackowiak, a Republican political consultant based in Austin and Washington, says the nationally watched fight over the Texas abortion bill has gotten Perry's competitive "juices going."

"Up until a week ago, I thought he wouldn't run for re-election," Mackowiak said. "Now, it's less predictable."

Perry no doubt is also weighing how he can best position himself for 2016, when most who know and have followed him say he is likely to try again for the GOP presidential nomination.

"Perry wants one more shot, one more title shot," Mackowiak says. "Generally, if you run once, you run again. I think he wants to redeem himself, and redeem how people view the Texas story."

We'll know Monday whether Perry wants to tell that story in 2016 as the longest-serving governor in the nation's biggest red state, or not.

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