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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Kerfuffle Politics: The Statement Adam Levine Shouldn't Need To Make

May 29, 2013

Tuesday night on The Voice, Adam Levine — who's the lead singer of Maroon 5 when he's not judging reality television — had two of the singers on his team eliminated. To understand this, just know that each of the four judge-coaches (Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton) starts out with a team of singers they're mentoring, and as they go through the competition, the coaches get pretty attached to the folks on their team and try to help them win. If one of your singers wins, you're sort of the "winning" coach for that season.

At the end, there were three singers left — Sarah Simmons and Judith Hill, both from Levine's team, and Holly Tucker, from Blake Shelton's team. Two of the three would get the boot. Tucker was the one "saved" by audience voting, meaning Levine's two singers were eliminated. Hill, in particular, has to have been a particularly tough blow — she's very talented and was widely seen as a strong contender for the victory.

But as he waited for the final results, with two of his good singers imperiled, Levine muttered, "I hate this country." And because apparently we don't have enough other things to worry about, this became a kerfuffle.

It's perfectly, totally, painfully obvious that Adam Levine was saying one of two things: (1) He was making a lighthearted statement that he was mad at the voters for potentially getting rid of his singers. Sort of, "Darn you, America." (2) He was making a slightly more serious statement that America, as a voting population, often shows terrible taste in singers. And, perhaps, though we're now getting into a bit of light mind-reading, also has a way of unexpectedly shortchanging women of color (like Hill) (Elton John famously said the same thing about American Idol years ago when Jennifer Hudson, a person of some talent of whom you may have heard, finished seventh behind several people you've never heard of unless you are a die-hard Idol person).

If what he was saying was the first one, who cares? If what he was saying was the second one, good for him. He's not talking about "this country" as a country; he's talking about "this country" as the people who vote on The Voice. Was there really any genuine doubt over that, or was it just the kind of thing that opened the door to a lot of nonsense and that door was pushed open out of boredom?

Nevertheless, kerfuffling ensued. Entertainment Weekly pronounced it "ill-considered" and a "blunder." It labeled his efforts to explain he wasn't serious "defensive," and said he made those efforts "rather than apologize," implying clearly that an apology was called for. The New York Daily News called his comment "unpatriotic."

And today, Levine issued a statement. As reported by EW, he said this:

I obviously love my country very much and my comments last night were made purely out of frustration. Being a part of The Voice, I am passionately invested in my team and want to see my artists succeed. Last night's elimination of Judith and Sarah was confusing and downright emotional for me and my comments were made based on my personal dissatisfaction with the results. I am very connected to my artists and know they have long careers ahead, regardless of their outcome on the show.

Note that this is not an apology, which is good to see, because this would have been an absolutely bizarre thing to apologize for. His meaning was clear, he was in the right if he meant anything at all, and if you're going to put human beings on television live and ask them to act like human beings, you will occasionally have to place their words in some kind of context so that you're not forcing apologies out of people for whom an apology is not necessary.

This is just ... not a thing. Adam Levine muttered in frustration, what he meant was perfectly clear, and it's not even something that required a statement. ("I obviously love my country very much" is often the kind of statement that unfortunately winds up being made by people who have done nothing to imply otherwise.)

Let's stop having dust-ups over this kind of thing. Let's stop demanding apologies every time ten people complain on Twitter, because you can get people to complain on Twitter by putting the wrong boots on Shakira. It doesn't actually mean anybody cares, and pretending it does flatters nobody.

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