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

1 hour 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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It's ScuttleButton Time!

May 15, 2013
Originally published on May 15, 2013 12:34 pm

We know how the president feels about it. "We don't have time to be playing these kinds of political games in Washington," Barack Obama said on Monday, in what many took to be a full attack on ScuttleButton, America's favorite political game.

I beg to differ. I say we DO have time to play these kind of political games, especially when a tee-shirt and Political Junkie button are at stake. With Talk of the Nation going off the air in ks a month-and a half and the future of ScuttleButton at risk, I say this is the BEST time to be playing. Because once they outlaw ScuttleButton, only outlaws will have ScuttleButton.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday — or, as they call today, "Wednesday" — I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

For years, a correct answer chosen at random would get his or her name posted in this column, an incredible honor in itself. Now the stakes are even higher. Thanks to the efforts of the folks at Talk of the Nation, that person also hears their name mentioned on the Wednesday show (by me) and receives a Political Junkie t-shirt in the bargain. Is this a great country or what?

You can't use the comments box at the bottom of the page for your answer. Send submission (plus your name and city/state — you won't win without that) to

(Why do people keep forgetting to include their name and city/state?)

And, by adding your name to the Political Junkie mailing list, you will be among the first on your block to receive notice about the column and the puzzle. Sign up at Or you can make sure to get an automatic RSS feed whenever a new Junkie post goes up by clicking here.

Good luck!

By the way, I always announce the winner on Wednesday's Junkie segment on TOTN — seven or eight days after the puzzle first goes up. So you should try and get your answer in as soon as possible. But logistically, you have about a week to submit your guess.

Here are the buttons used and the answer to last week's puzzle:

APPA/Association for the Preservation of Political Americana — My ID badge at this 1974 button convention in New Jersey was signed by Bill Miller, the special guest and Barry Goldwater's running mate in 1964.

Before It's Too Late Vote Wallace In '68 — Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace ran for president as a third-party candidate in 1968.

Sheehan for Congress — James Sheehan was the Republican candidate against Rep. Andy Maguire in New Jersey's 7th CD in 1976.

Take the Chisholm Trail to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.) sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972.

So, when you combine APPA + Late + Sheehan + Trail, you may just very well end up with ...

The Appalachian Trail. Where Mark Sanford said he was in 2009 while he was actually meeting his mistress in Argentina.

The winner, chosen completely at random, is Michael Ruffin of Fitzgerald, Ga. Michael gets not only the coveted Political Junkie t-shirt — but the Official No Prize Button as well!

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