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

1 hour 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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'Nanogardens' Sprout Up On The Surface Of A Penny

May 21, 2013
Originally published on May 21, 2013 5:36 pm

April showers bring May flowers. But in this case, the blossoms are too small for even a bumblebee to see.

Engineers at Harvard University have figured out a way to make microscopic sculptures of roses, tulips and violets, each smaller than a strand of hair.

To get a sense of just how small these flower sculptures are, grab a penny and flip it on its back. Right in the middle of the Lincoln Memorial, you'll see a faint impression of Abraham Lincoln. These roses would make a perfect corsage for the president's jacket lapel.

Growing the gardens is similar to making crystals with a Magic Rock kit.

The flowers sprout up spontaneously when a glass plate is dipped into a beaker filled with silicon and minerals (specifically, barium chloride). Then Wim Noorduin at Harvard coaxes the salts to spiral and swirl into smooth, curvaceous shapes, like vases, leaves and petals.

He sculpts the stems and blossoms by slightly tweaking the environment in which the crystals grow. Lowering the temperature makes the petals thicker. Bursts of carbon dioxide send ripples through the leaves and blossoms.

The result is thousands of microviolets carpeting the surface of the glass plate.

"Every flower has a unique shape," Noorduin says. "It is very sensitive. If I just walk by the beaker in the lab, it changes the growth of these structures."

Noorduin has even seeded the crystals on the back of a penny, creating a garden of nanotulips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

"It's a completely new world that you can make," he says. "And these flowers last — they don't go bad. Even after years, you can still see them."

Noorduin can add color to the flowers by mixing dyes into the solutions. But he still has to colorize the images with Photoshop because the electron microscope only takes photos in black and white. He tries to match the colors in Photoshop with those in the actual flowers, though. "Like the rose structure with the green stem," he says, "these are the real colors of the sculpture."

He and his colleagues describe the microgardening technique in the current issue of the journal Science.

So far, they've focused only on making aesthetically pleasing structures, but Noorduin says the technique could be used to make any complex shape or architecture you want — at an incredibly small size.

"It's a little bit similar to 3-D printing," he says. "Right now there are more options and varieties of shapes available in 3-D printing because it's 30 years old. We're just starting."

Eventually, he and the team at Harvard hope to use the method to create microelectronics, medical sensors and new materials for optics. "At this [size] scale, really interesting things happen with light," he says.

"When you look around you, nature can make very complex structures almost effortlessly," he adds. "Now we've demonstrated that we can make similar shapes by really doing very little, too."

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