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

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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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Jennifer Lopez Sorry She Sang For Turkmenistan's Dictator

Jun 30, 2013

Here's how the State Department's latest human rights report about the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan begins:

"Although the constitution declares Turkmenistan to be a secular democracy and a presidential republic, the country has an authoritarian government controlled by the president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov."

And the report goes on to say that "security officials tortured and beat criminal suspects, prisoners, and individuals deemed critical of the government to extract confessions and as a form of punishment."

Human Rights Watch calls the former Soviet republic's government one of "the most repressive in the world." It reports that "unknown numbers of people languish in the country's notoriously abusive prisons on what appear to be politically motivated charges."

The CIA World Factbook says that while "Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential election in February 2007," its elections have "lacked the freedoms necessary to create a competitive environment."

So it's probably no surprise that superstar Jennifer Lopez now regrets having sung Happy Birthday to Berdimuhamedov during a concert Saturday night in Avaza, Turkmenistan.

According to The Associated Press, "Lopez's publicist says the event was vetted by Lopez's staff: 'Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.' "

Agence France Presse adds that her show was organized by China National Petroleum Corp., and that:

"Dressed in a clingy outfit, the singer danced with half-naked backing dancers and shook her famous behind in a rare performance for the Muslim country, watched by ministers, ambassadors and chief executives of state-owned companies, all of whom applauded enthusiastically.

"She later appeared in a traditional Turkmen dress to sing 'Happy birthday, Mr President' along with stars from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and China."

Lopez is not, of course, the only star in recent years to express regrets after partying with a notorious world leader. The AP notes that:

"In 2011, Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank profusely apologized after attending a birthday party for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who had been accused of torture and killings; she said she didn't have a full understanding of the event. Beyonce, Nelly Furtado, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Usher were paid handsomely to perform at parties linked to the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. All later announced plans to donate their performance fees to charity and said they hadn't known the leader was connected to terrorism."

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