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

2 hours 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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Pages

Litter

Jun 2, 2013

I found your soul discarded in the street today.

On a three by five index card, you scrawled in heavy black permanent marker letters, "YOU NOW OWN MY SOUL." Initialed under that. Today's date under that. It's a neat little binding contract. I bet it would hold up in the highest court, even if you meant it as a joke. You shouldn't be so cavalier with your immortal essence. I spied it between a wad of chewing gum and a mangled plastic bottle. Anyone could have found this card where it laid half-in, half-out of the gutter with the collected effluvia of a thousand passers-by.

But I found it. It's mine.

There was a footprint on it, you know? That's just how little they cared. Or maybe they didn't realize what they were stepping on, any more than you realized what you were giving away. You wouldn't throw out your own soul, no. You gave it to someone else. It wasn't a joke; I was wrong about that, wasn't I? You loved him — or her — and you wanted the depths of your devotion to be understood and returned by her — or him. Consumed by their own casual selfishness, they didn't grasp the importance of that simple, lined index card.

They threw it out. But I won't.

Or maybe it wasn't anything as crass as that. It could have been an escape attempt. Your soul, desperate to get back you, wriggling free of someone's backpack, or pocket, or plucked from their fingers by a lucky gust of wind. It does get windy here, this time of year. Whatever the method, your soul took flight in one last gambit, to undo the mistake you made in giving it away.

It won't escape me.

I have it pinned to the wall, now. Above and to the right of my family photos. It's a place of honor. Did you feel those four thumbtacks? Like a shiver up your spine or a goose stepping on your grave. I think I'll leave it there for awhile, just where I can touch it as I pass by. I don't know who you are. I probably never will. But I have the most important part of you, and it's mine to do with as I please.

I can't express how much comfort it gives me, either. To know that I control someone's soul, it makes every other issue in my life seem trivial. There's nothing I can't conquer, no setback I can't overcome. The boost to my confidence has been nothing short of life-changing, all thanks to one little index card.

That's why you'll never know who I am. Your soul is more necessary to me than my own. You'll never get it back.

I'd see it burn before I let that happen.

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