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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How Nature Builds A Pandemic Flu Virus

Jun 6, 2013
Originally published on June 7, 2013 8:26 am

Here's a sobering thought: Wild birds — including city pigeons and ubiquitous Canada geese — carry 170 different types of bird flu. You know, all those viruses with the Hs and Ns in their names, like H1N1 and H5N1.

Only a dozen of these viruses have infected humans so far, but many of those have been deadly, and three of them have caused global flu pandemics.

Does every bird flu that leaps into people have the potential to turn into the next "big one" that spreads rapidly around the world?

That's the "critical but currently answerable question," writes Dr. Anthony Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

He and his colleagues took a look at the genetic sequences of past flu pandemics to learn how a virus goes from infecting only chickens or pigeons to sickening millions of people globally. They published their thoughts on the topic Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Take for instance the H7N9 bird flu. Doctors in China identified the first human infections of H7N9 this March. Since then, the virus has sickened 132 people and killed 37.

Although H7N9 doesn't transmit easily between people, some scientists have worried that it could gain that ability.

The virus has several mutations in its genes that help it invade and live in human cells, Fauci and his colleagues write. These mutations are also found in flus that have caused pandemics, leading some scientists to predict that H7N9 is evolving into a global threat.

But Fauci and his colleagues say that's not the way other flu pandemics came about. Those viruses didn't just pick up single mutations here and there, slowly increasing their abilities to hop between people.

Instead, the three flu pandemics since 1957 have all evolved from the so-called Mother of All Pandemics, the Spanish flu, which killed 20 million to 50 million people back in 1918. And in each instance, the virus underwent large, sweeping genetic changes to create the contagion that swept across continents.

Given how little scientists known about what it takes for viruses to adapt and spread in new hosts, Fauci and his colleagues say these historical precedents are "only slightly reassuring" for H7N9.

"Every pandemic emergence seems to be a law unto itself," the scientists write. "We cannot know whether or under what circumstances the highly unusual H7N9 virus might be able to become pandemic ... H7N9's journey has just begun."

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