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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Huge Asteroid Makes Its Closest Pass To Earth Today

May 31, 2013
Originally published on May 31, 2013 11:29 am

An asteroid nine times the size of a cruise ship is dropping by Earth on Friday, and it's not coming alone. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be about 3.6 million miles from our planet at its closest approach. And its proximity has already given scientists a surprise: It has its own moon, measured at about 2,000 feet wide.

The fly-by will mark the closest the asteroid comes to Earth for at least the next 200 years, according to researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the radar observations that spotted the asteroid's moon. The point of maximum proximity will come at 4:59 p.m. ET, or 20:59 UTC, Friday, according to the space agency.

"In the near-Earth population, about 16 percent of asteroids that are about 655 feet (200 meters) or larger are binary or triple systems," according to NASA. "Radar images suggest that the main body, or primary, is approximately 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) in diameter and has a rotation period of less than four hours."

Unless you can access a powerful telescope, you won't be able to see the asteroid, much less its lunar tagalong — 1998 QE2 will pass no closer than 15 times the distance between the Earth and its moon. You can watch live video of the asteroid's passage at Space.com, where a webcast will feature video from the Slooh Space Telescope and the Virtual Telescope Project.

NASA TV hosted a special video on the asteroid Thursday; the agency also recommends the hashtag #asteroidQE2 for those wanting to share thoughts about the asteroid on Twitter.

For amateur astronomers, NASA recommends trying to view the asteroid in the first week of June — particularly June 3 and 4 — when its sunlit side will face the Earth. As for the appearance of 1998 QE2, NASA says it reflects only 6 percent of the light that hits it, making it blacker than coal.

In stories earlier this month announcing the approach, NASA seemed as though it was trying to ease alarmist fears of a cosmic calamity, predicting that the asteroid "will sail serenely past Earth."

In February, news that a smaller asteroid — 2012 DA14 — was passing by Earth caused a surge of interest, particularly as it came on the heels of a meteor that exploded as it streaked across the sky in Russia.

The 1998 QE2 asteroid was discovered less than 15 years ago, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program in New Mexico. The asteroid has not yet been formally named — its current designation reflects a naming convention stemming from its discovery.

While 1998 QE2 has been deemed safe, NASA says it's keeping an eye out for any possible threats to Earth posed by asteroids. In addition to developing plans to deflect or even possibly 'shrink-wrap' an asteroid, the agency is planning a mission to study another asteroid in the coming years.

"In 2016, NASA will launch a robotic probe to one of the most potentially hazardous of the known Near-Earth Objects," the agency says. "The OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid (101955) Bennu will be a pathfinder for future spacecraft designed to perform reconnaissance on any newly-discovered threatening objects."

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