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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Grass: It's What's For Dinner (3.5 Million Years Ago)

Jun 3, 2013
Originally published on June 3, 2013 3:49 pm

If you could travel back in time about 8 million years, you'd find a creature in an African tree that was the ancestor of all current apes and humans. And that creature in all likelihood would have spent a big part of its day munching leaves and fruit — pretty much what apes eat now.

Obviously, we humans took a different course, so to speak. We've refined our palates over the course of time. We started to eat meat, though exactly when is a tough call; the first evidence suggests maybe 2.5 million years ago. We figured out how to make fire and then cook food, which was a big deal, since it helped digest things our stomachs couldn't deal with easily and also kill nasty stuff that hitchhiked on our rib-eye and made us sick.

But scientists now think they've found a dietary Rubicon that human ancestors crossed long before that.

A team of researchers spent years analyzing teeth from fossils of early humans as well as their ancient forebears, such as Australopithecus, the diminutive creature that walked upright, climbed trees, and lived a sort of part-ape, part-human-like lifestyle. What the team looked at specifically were the amounts of certain isotopes of carbon that get taken up from our food and deposited in our teeth. These isotopes reveal what we and our ancestors were eating.

Well, not EXACTLY what we were eating. What the tale of the teeth reveals is this: About 3.5 million years ago, our ancestors started switching from the ape diet — leaves and fruit — to grasses and grass-like sedges. In the terminology, they switched from C3 plants to C4 plants.

Says geochemist Thure Cerling from the University of Utah, one of the scientists who did the work: "For a long time, primates stuck by the old restaurants — leaves and fruits — and by 3.5 million years ago, they started exploring new diet possibilities ... that grazing animals discovered a long time before, about 10 million years ago."

It was about 10 million years ago that Africa's forests started to give way to open savanna. That meant more grasses, fewer leaves. So maybe primates pretty much had to go with the flow, though it took them a few million years to order from the new menu.

Now, one thing this carbon isotope technique can't tell is whether Australopithecus just grazed like a bunch of antelope, or whether they ate the antelope that did the grazing. The carbon signal from the C4 plants gets taken up in animal (or insect) tissue and passed on to whoever eats that tissue (thus, when we eat chicken, we're pretty much eating corn).

But scientists find this interesting nonetheless. Diet can be a powerful influence over the direction human evolution took. Says Cerling: "If diet has anything to do with the evolution of larger brain size and intelligence, then we are considering a diet that is very different than that we were thinking about 15 years ago," which is to say leaves and fruit.

You can read several papers on these findings in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

So, what to make of this? Well, for one, those who favor a "paleo diet" that resembles what our early ancestors lived on might consider investing in a lawn mower. After all, lawn grass is probably America's largest unharvested crop — there's plenty to go around. Why not go back to our roots?

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