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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NASA Says Kepler's Planet-Searching Days May Be Numbered

May 15, 2013
Originally published on May 16, 2013 10:09 am

The planet-hunting career of NASA's Kepler spacecraft might be near its end.

Astronomers said Wednesday that a reaction wheel that keeps the orbiting telescope pointed at tiny, distant patches of sky to look for Earth-like planets has failed. If they can't fix it, Kepler will be relegated to a less prestigious mission, directing its gaze much closer to home in a search for so-called "near-Earth objects," i.e., meteors and asteroids.

As NPR's Geoffrey Brumfiel reports, Kepler, launched in 2009, was designed to "monitor 100,000 stars in a single patch of sky. It looked for tiny eclipses of Earth-like planets."

And it's done an amazing job in the past four years, Brumfiel says:

"Just last month, scientists announced the spacecraft had seen three new planets around distant stars. But Kepler has also been aging and mission managers now say it can no longer focus on the patch of sky it had been watching."

Bill Borucki, Kepler's principal investigator, says the space telescope has given his team plenty of potential planets to study.

"We have at least two years of work ahead of us with the data we already have," Borucki says.

While Kepler still has some life in it, scientists say it could use its remaining maneuvering fuel to watch out for asteroids like 2012 DA 14, which brushed past Earth in February, and (coincidentally) the meteor that slammed into Russia at almost exactly the same time.

Kepler has identified 115 planets and has a list of 2,740 other candidates. It has concentrated on stars in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra, "looking for dips in starlight caused by planets passing, or transiting, in front of their suns," according to The New York Times:

"Since Earth transits only once a year, two more years would have given astronomers a chance to see more transits of the planets they are looking for. Without the extra time, the data will be noisy, astronomers say, and so the answer will be a little more uncertain than it might have been.

" 'It was one of those things that was a gift to humanity,' said one astronomer who spoke on condition of anonymity because NASA had not yet made the news public. 'We're all going to lose for sure.' "

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