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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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


Ill. Assembly Called Back To Work On Pension Fund Shortfall

Jun 7, 2013
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



NPR's business news starts with pension problems for Illinois.


MONTAGNE: The credit rating for the state of Illinois has taken another step closer to junk bond status. Illinois already had the lowest credit rating in the nation before it was downgraded again this week by Moody's and Fitch. The state legislature adjourned last week without addressing a $100 billion pension shortfall.

So as NPR's David Schaper reports, the governor is calling lawmakers back.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Illinois owes the pension funds for public employees just a massive amount of money.

MADELEINE DOUBEK: It's at least $100 billion, and it grows by $17 million every day.

SCHAPER: That's Madeleine Doubek with Reboot Illinois, a nonpartisan, digital and social media effort to engage citizens in solving state government woes. And Doubek blames state lawmakers.

DOUBEK: Their inaction was the equivalent of tying a 32,000-pound weight around the neck of every taxpayer in Illinois.

SCHAPER: Thirty-two thousand dollars is what Doubek says every Illinois taxpayer would have to shell out, to cover the pension shortfall and pay off a backlog of bills. Moody's cites the legislature's political paralysis in downgrading Illinois' credit rating, and that prompted Gov. Pat Quinn to call a special legislative session to begin June 19th.

GOV. PAT QUINN: This is an alarm bell for the speaker of the House, the president of the Senate, all the members of the legislature, to come together and get the job done. The job is, put a bill on desk so I can sign it into law.

SCHAPER: But Illinois' House and Senate, both controlled by Quinn's fellow Democrats, have very different pension reform plans, with no compromise in sight.

David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.