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

2 hours 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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New Discovery Knocks 'Oldest Bird' Off Its Perch

May 29, 2013

Move over Archaeopteryx, an older bird just landed on the evolutionary tree.

Scientists writing in Nature magazine, say a feathered, chicken-sized creature known as Aurornis xui, unearthed recently in northeastern China, challenges the "pivotal position of Archaeopteryx" — long regarded as the oldest bird.

Aurornis is dated to the Jurassic period, 160 million years ago and about 10 million years before Archaeopteryx makes its first known appearance in the fossil record.

"Our analyses indicate [Aurornis is] the most primitive bird known," co-author Andrea Cau, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Museo Geologico Giovanni Capellini in Italy, says. "It looked like a ground bird, but with a long tail, clawed hands and toothed jaws."

As The Los Angeles Times writes:

"The study authors argue that Aurornis represents the earliest known bird, but other scientists say it could be part of a group of bird-like dinosaurs that were developing feathers and bird-like features but never quite got off the ground, evolutionarily speaking.

'You're looking at an animal that is either a very primitive bird or something very closely related to birds,' said [Luis] Chiappe, a veterbrate paleontologist at the National History Museum of Los Angeles who is not involved in the Nature study. 'I tend to think that it's not a bird, but that it's one of those true very close ancestors of bird.'"

The discovery is not all bad news for newly dethroned Archaeopteryx.

Before the study, there was debate as to whether it was indeed a fully fledged bird, but the authors of the study believe that the discovery of Aurornis puts the branches of the bird lineage in context and restores Archaeopteryx to flight status.

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