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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Microsoft Unveils Its new Xbox One

May 22, 2013
Originally published on May 22, 2013 11:04 am



The wait is over for many Xbox fans. Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its next generation Xbox gaming console. It's called Xbox One. It's the first major revamp of the gaming system since 2005. In our business bottom line, NPR's Laura Sydell reports the new Xbox is designed to be an all-in-one system, an entertainment hub for movies, TV and games that should appeal as much to grandparents as it does to children.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Shortly after Bill Gates unveiled the first Xbox back in 2001, he hinted at a future where the Xbox was the center of the living room, the place where the family gathered around to be entertained. Microsoft's senior vice president, Yusuf Mehdi, laid out the vision again.

YUSUF MEHDI: What if a single device could provide all your entertainment? And what if that device could turn on your TV and talk to all the devices in your living room?

SYDELL: Mehdi says that single device is the Xbox One, and not only is it talking to other devices, you can talk to it. No remote or game controller needed.

MEHDI: Xbox, watch TV.

SYDELL: The Xbox One recognizes your distinct voice. Mehdi's able to retrieve and pick from his personal entertainment list.

MEHDI: Xbox, favorites, "Star Trek."

SYDELL: The new Xbox will come with the Kinect, which makes voice recognition and gesture controls possible. Users have a personal home screen. With a simple gesture in the air, Mehdi returned to his.

MEHDI: I simply spread my hands, grab the screen, and I'm back home. And if I want to get back to my movie, I grab and I'm back to the movie.

SYDELL: A couple of years ago, Microsoft purchased Skype. The video chat service is fully integrated into the Xbox One. Mehdi gets a call from a colleague on the TV.

MEHDI: D.J. calls in. Xbox, answer call. Hey, D.J.

D.J.: Hey, Yusuf. Thanks for having me. I'm happy to do it.

SYDELL: Skype integration will make it possible to have group video chats and watch a TV show with a friend while you talk about it with them. Michael Pachter is an analyst who follows the gaming industry. He said the new Xbox gets him to that place that the science fiction author Arthur C. Clark talks about, where advanced technology feels a little like magic.

MICHAEL PACHTER: When I was a kid, and it was, you know, Dick Tracy talking into his wrist radio and we thought, boy, the future, that's never going to happen, and here we are.

SYDELL: Based on the preview, Pachter thinks Microsoft may have a hit. Pachter feels that the old Xbox was perceived as a device for hardcore gamers. He thinks parents with young kids will see the Xbox One differently.

PACHTER: I think they're going to look at this, if you have a six-year-old kid or a four-year-old kid, and say, well, we do want to watch TV and we do want to Skype with grandma, and what the hell, there must be some content that's okay for these kids, and of course there is. I mean there's sports titles, if nothing else.

SYDELL: In fact, on the sports front, Microsoft made a deal with the NFL that integrates live football with fantasy football. Microsoft also announced a partnership with the director Steven Spielberg. He will be the executive producer of an interactive TV show based on the game "Halo." There's still a lot we don't yet know about the Xbox One - the price, the launch date, what Microsoft will do with all the information it collects about you and your family.

Microsoft says all will be revealed as it heads towards a launch date later, sometime later, this year. Laura Sydell, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.