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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How Men's Choice Of Mates May Have Led To Menopause

Jun 18, 2013
Originally published on June 19, 2013 12:34 pm

A dapper older gentleman spurns his mate of a certain age to take a fresh-faced young lover. You've seen that movie before, right?

Well, this choice of youth may turn out to be more than a Hollywood trope. Researchers say decisions like that one may have been the evolutionary source of menopause.

While conventional wisdom says that men prefer younger women because they're fertile, a recent report in PLOS Computational Biology suggests that it's precisely this preference for younger mates that caused older women to become infertile in the first place.

Computational biologist Jonathon Stone of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, spoke with Shots about the mathematical model he and some colleagues used to come up with that hypothesis.

First, for the sake of computation, they assumed that women have infinite capacity for both fertility and survival. Then, they slowly introduced common genetic mutations into the math mix and observed how those changes led women to become infertile and eventually die.

They were able to tweak the model to account for age preferences between mates. When they changed the program to allow men and women of all ages to mate, the data consistently showed that women's survival and fertility plummeted simultaneously.

It was only after they used mathematical trickery to adjust their program to skew toward a preference of men for younger women that the data showed a 20-year loss of fertility before death in older women.

The phenomenon of having several decades without fertility at the end of a woman's life is unique to humans. This period of life begins at menopause, and its origins have been confusing to researchers for years.

Until recently, evolutionary biologists had widely accepted the grandmother hypothesis, the idea that menopause evolved as a way for women to focus their energies on the youngest in the clan. "This idea," Stone says, "frees up daughters to have more offspring, an evolutionary advantage, since this increases the number of offspring twofold."

University of Utah anthropologist Kristen Hawkes, who wasn't involved in the mathematical research, says she has her money on the grandmother hypothesis. Hawkes, whose work deals with the evolutionary origins of menopause, points out that great apes, with whom we share a great deal of evolutionary history, exhibit a similar pattern of losing fertility in their mid-40s.

The difference is that while the apes' fertility rates seem to be in sync with those of humans, their longevity rates aren't. "They usually die before they get to those post-fertile years," she says. "They get to be old ladies, gray and frail, while they're still cycling."

But Hawkes acknowledges the human male's apparent difference in taste. "I agree the preference men have for young partners is a striking contrast with other primates — especially since it is well-documented that chimpanzee males prefer older females," she says.

Stone says that the model also shows that the outcome could be reversed. "If we begin by assuming that all women are choosing to mate with younger men, male menopause will be the eventual evolutionary outcome." In fact, members of his team are currently testing this prediction in fruit flies, which reproduce rapidly enough to track evolutionary changes in next to no time.

What does this mean for us? Assuming this model is correct, if older women begin to eschew paunchy, balding partners in favor of younger mates, male menopause could become a reality in a few thousand years.

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