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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

1 hour ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Mother Of India Gang-Rape Victim Faces Suspects In Court

May 17, 2013
Originally published on July 17, 2013 2:31 am

In India, the mother of the 23-year-old woman fatally gang-raped on a moving bus last December appeared in court Friday and for the first time put eyes on the men accused in the heinous attack on her daughter.

The four men on trial have been charged with murder and face capital punishment for the crime that convulsed the country and prompted harsher punishments for rape.

Three of the defendants sat in a back row of the small Delhi courtroom of Judge Yogesh Khanna, while the victim's mother sat in the front, with her husband and son seated behind her. "I saw them face to face," she said.

Following her brief testimony, she broke down and pleaded with the court, "Please bring justice for my daughter."

The international media is barred from entering the courtroom, but Indian journalists allowed inside described the woman's frantic, unanswered calls to her daughter on the night of the savage attack.

VK Anand, one of the defense attorneys, hurried from the courtroom to announce that it would be too cruel to cross-examine her. Anand has displayed a flare for the dramatic since the start of a trial that has seen its share of unexpected turns.

Ram Singh, the lead suspect in the case, was found hanging in his jail cell on the morning of March 11. The state maintains that he committed suicide, while his lawyer alleges Singh was murdered. The report into his death has yet to be submitted in court.

A second suspect, Vinay Sharma, has been hospitalized since May 3 and therefore absent from the court hearings. His attorney, AP Singh, believes Sharma has been slowly poisoned at the Tihar jail where he and the other three adult defendants are being held. (A fifth defendant, a juvenile, is being held in a separate facility). Jail officials scoffed at the idea.

It's not the first time in the trial that Sharma has had a setback. In March, the 20-year-old gym assistant announced he planned on taking entrance exams for the Indian Air Force. A day before he was to write the exam, his hand was broken. He and his attorney said other inmates had "tortured" him. Jail authorities said he got into a fight with fellow prisoners.

Sharma's condition recently has turned more serious. A spiking fever and chest pains got him admitted to the infirmary at the Tihar jail. From there, he was referred to a second and then a third government hospital and given a battery of tests. This week, his lawyer said he was in "critical condition," vomiting blood.

In a report to the court, the medical officer at the Tihar jail cited "fever of unknown origin" and a reduced platelet count.

But documents containing medical records marked "confidential" and submitted to the court Friday stated Sharma had no fever and declared a bone marrow biopsy "uneventful." Singh, Sharma's attorney, accused doctors of downplaying the seriousness of his client's condition.

Lawyers for the accused have alleged their clients have been "tortured" since the beginning of the trial, a charge the authorities have consistently denied.

The mysterious illness of one of the suspects gives defense attorneys more grist for the mill.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit