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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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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The Mystery Of the Ridiculously Pricey Bag Of Potatoes

Jun 18, 2013
Originally published on June 18, 2013 5:39 pm

On Monday we told you about allegations that America's potato growers had banded together in a price-fixing Potato Cartel.

The allegations we described come from a civil lawsuit filed by the Associated Wholesale Grocers against the United Potato Growers of America, a group whose members produce the vast majority of the country's spuds. The lawsuit alleges, in part:

"As a result of these efforts, by the summer of 2008, according to the Idaho Potato Commission, a ten pound bag of potatoes cost consumers $15 — up $6 over 2007."

As many of you noted, those prices alleged in the lawsuit seem awfully high. So we called the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service to get to the bottom of this potato puzzler.

A NASS statistician told us that back in 2008, U.S. farmers on average got paid $8.39 for a 100-pound bag of potatoes. Those are wholesale prices, sure, but they are still a far cry from the $15 for a 10-pound bag that the lawsuit alleges consumers paid.

As for retail prices? Well, in 2008 potatoes were retailing at 48 cents a pound on average, according to data from the USDA's Economic Research Service. The data weren't collected for 10-pound bags, but the average for 5-pound bags of Russet potatoes was $2.55, according to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. So extrapolating those figures, it's safe to guess that a 10-pound bag of taters probably cost closer to $5 — not $15 — back in 2008. Whoops.

The plaintiff's lawsuit cites the Idaho Potato Commission as the source of its figures. The lawyer representing the plaintiff did not reply to our request for comment. We called the commission, too, to see if perhaps it had different data that could explain the high figures the suit cites. Alas, the relevant people, we were told, were all out of the office.

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