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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

1 hour ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

'I Have Not Done Anything Wrong,' Key IRS Official Says

May 22, 2013
Originally published on May 22, 2013 12:11 pm

"I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations."

That was the word Wednesday morning from Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the political storm over the agency's targeting of some conservative groups that were given extra scrutiny from 2010 into 2012.

Then, at a hearing held by the House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions.

Because the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the IRS's actions, Lerner said, "I've been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right. ... I have decided to follow my counsel's advice."

She added: "I know that some people will assume I have done something wrong. I have not. One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect innocent individuals."

The committee's Republican chairman, Darrell Issa of California, made the case that Lerner had waived her Fifth Amendment rights by previously responding to questions about how the IRS handles organizations' applications for tax-exempt status. But after Lerner again made it clear that she would not respond to additional inquiries, Issa dismissed her from the hearing.

The IRS has been under fire since May 10, when Lerner apologized to the groups that were singled out for more exacting reviews. Lerner, who heads the division overseeing tax-exempt groups, said the scrutiny was partly a result of a surge in applications.

Democratic and Republican members of Congress alike have condemned the singling out of those organizations — which identified themselves with words such as "tea party" or "patriots" — for extra scrutiny that delayed their applications for tax-exempt status.

Republicans also have accused Lerner and other IRS officials of misleading lawmakers by not telling them about what the agency had been doing — even though lawmakers had been asking about reports that conservative groups' applications were being inappropriately delayed.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.