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

2 hours 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

Investors Brace For News Out Of Fed Minutes

Jul 10, 2013
Originally published on July 10, 2013 9:13 am

After the Federal Open Market Committee meeting last month, the financial markets "freaked out," according to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's remarks at the time sent a shockwave through the markets when he suggested the Fed's stimulus could end.

Wessel tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne that "Bernanke tried to explain that if, and only if, the economy kept improving, the Fed would begin later this year to reduce the amount of money it's pumping into the economy later this year."

The markets interpreted Bernanke's comments to mean interest rates would increase, which prompted a sell-off in bonds and stocks.

The Fed is buying $85 billion in bonds a month to help keep borrowing low. That economic move has encouraged borrowing and spending.

Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, told an audience in Marietta, Ga., last month that what the Fed was trying to do for the economy was similar to how a smoker who wants to quit begins using a nicotine patch.

The markets, however, took it to mean the Fed was going to quit "cold turkey," Lockhart said.

"It took speeches by half a dozen other Fed officials and about a dozen other metaphors to clarify Bernanke's clarification," Wessel says.

Stocks have largely recovered since Bernanke made his stimulus comments, but there has been a surge in long-term interest rates.

The benchmark, 10-year Treasury rate "has gone from below 1.7 percent at the beginning of May to nearly 2.7 percent this week," Wessel says. And in the latest Freddie Mac survey, mortgage rates have gone from about 3.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

"The market is pushing up interest rates because the incoming news on the U.S. economy has been encouraging and in part because markets are anticipating the day when the Federal Reserve won't be trying so hard to keep rates down," he adds.

There could be further clarification of the Fed's plans at 2 p.m. Wednesday with the release of the minutes from the June meeting.

And there's always the chance the markets could get agitated again when Bernanke speaks about two hours later at a conference in Cambridge, Mass. He is expected to talk about the central bank's track record throughout its 100-year history.

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