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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Murder Case Appears To Buck Trend Of Pakistani Corruption

Jun 9, 2013

"There are times when one's faith is restored in the judicial system here, in Pakistan," writes a gentleman called Sajjid Khan, in an unusually optimistic letter published by one of his nation's leading newspapers The Daily Times.

Pakistanis generally take a bleak view of their system of law and order, which tends to be dysfunctional and corrupt. Khan was inspired to put pen to paper by a criminal case that seems to buck that trend.

It concerns the killing of a policeman's son named Shahzeb Khan. The 20-year-old was shot dead in Karachi six months ago, yet two men have already been convicted of his murder. Such speedy justice is rare in South Asia, where criminal cases often drag on for years.

What really makes this case exceptional, though, is the identity of the convicted killers. One is the son of a high-rolling businessman, whose portfolio reportedly includes a cement factory, a TV station and real estate. Both are from feudal backgrounds.

Feudalism remains a powerful force in Pakistan. Like the rest of the ruling elite, feudal families are accustomed to impunity. When details emerged of the suspects in Khan's murder (which was the result of an argument about his sister being harrassed), few Pakistanis will have expected to see them punished.

"In Pakistan the norm is that the rich and well-connected operate as though they are above the law," said an editorial in Dawn newspaper this weekend. However, the newspaper concluded that in this case "justice has run its course, and was not perverted by power and influence."

Murders, kidnappings, bombings, militant attacks and more are such regular events in Pakistan that they often pass almost unnoticed. Yet Khan's killing touched a nerve among Pakistanis eager to signal that they're sick of seeing law enforcement routinely turn a blind eye to the crimes of the wealthy and influential.

Social media was flooded with demands for the police to move against the killers. There were street protests and the media took up the cause, as did Pakistan's Supreme Court. Khan's family piled on pressure. His mother says she was taking "a stand for the children of the nation" to ensure that "no son of a rich man" would dare commit such a crime again.

On Friday, the two accused — Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur — were sentenced to death. Capital punishment is rarely carried out in Pakistan; their families plan to appeal against the sentence. Several other defendants, also involved, received lesser sentences.

This outcome has impressed Khan, author of that upbeat letter to The Daily Times.

"These feudal lords have been having their savage way with innocent citizens and their children for too long", he writes. "This verdict is a loosening of the noose they have around this country".

Others express similar views. Are they right?

This case certainly offers a glimmer of hope for those pressing for reform in Pakistan. Yet optimism should be treated with caution; a culture of impunity is deeply ingrained in the fabric of South Asia. In neighboring India, crimes committed by celebrities, politicians and policemen are also often unpunished. The national and state legislatures contain hundreds of politicians who face outstanding criminal charges, including for serious offenses, such as murder, rape and extortion.

When he was sworn in last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took charge of a country in which the state is weak and civil society is extremely fragile. Political killings and "disappearances" have become all too common.

It is worth noting another criminal case, reported by Dawn one day after Khan's killers were sentenced: A member of parliament appeared in court in the city of Khairpur. He was seeking bail on a charge of murdering a cadre from a rival political party on election day.

The court denied his bail application, yet he marched out of court, flicked a "V" for victory sign to a crowd of onlookers, climbed into his car and swept off into the distance.

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