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

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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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Hands-Free Gadgets Don't Mean Risk-Free Driving

Jun 12, 2013
Originally published on June 12, 2013 11:49 am

If you've felt smug and safe using built-in, voice-controlled technology for text messages, email and phone calls while driving, forget it. There are some sobering findings about the risk of distraction from the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah.

The proliferation of hands-free technology "is a looming public safety crisis," AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet says. "It's time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars."

AAA commissioned a study by a University of Utah research team that has focused on distracted driving. The report can be found here.

"These new, speech-based technologies in the car can overload the driver's attention and impair their ability to drive safely," says psychology professor David Strayer. "Don't assume that if your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel that you are unimpaired."

Strayer and his team tracked eye and head movements, charted brain activity and measured driver reaction time while test drivers in simulators and on the road listened to the car radio, talked on a cellphone (both handheld and hands-free) or listened to and responded to voice-activated email features.

"We found that interacting with the speech-to-text system was the most cognitively distracting," Strayer reports.

Voice-activated features "increased mental workload and distraction levels" and heightened risk, says Peter Kissinger of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which funded the study. Test drivers experienced "a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don't see potential hazards right in front of them," he says.

Strayer says that "an unintended consequence of trying to make driving safer — by moving to speech-to-text, in-vehicle systems — may actually overload the driver and make them less safe."

AAA urges the electronics and auto industry to limit voice-activated technology to "core driving-related activities, such as climate control, windshield wipers and cruise control." The group wants car companies to disable voice-to-text email, texting and social media while driving.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers prefers to wait for other academic studies so that "a complete body of research" drives policy, spokesman Wade Newton says.

"We will need to review the AAA/University of Utah study, but we are extremely concerned that it could send a misleading message since it suggests that hand-held and hands-free devices are equally risky," Newton says. "The AAA study focuses only on the cognitive aspects of using a device, and ignores the visual and manual aspects of hand-held versus integrated hands-free systems."

The most distracting task for test drivers in the study involved remembering words while solving math problems while driving. The researchers don't actually believe that's a real-world problem. It's what they came up with to provide a benchmark for the most severe distracted driver reactions.

In you case you were wondering, the researchers took care to make sure that the drivers they were distracting weren't in danger. The cars used in road tests were outfitted with redundant brakes that researchers riding along could use, if necessary. They also could warn drivers about imminent hazards.

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