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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Obama To Lay Out Broad Plan To Address Climate Change

Jun 25, 2013
Originally published on June 25, 2013 2:45 pm

Update at 2:38 p.m. ET. Obama Lays Out Plan:

In an address at Georgetown University in Washington, President Obama laid out a sweeping new plan to address climate change.

As expected, Obama said his plan seeks to cap the carbon emissions of power plants.

Obama also said the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas, would only be approved by the State Department if it aligned with the "nation's interest."

That is if "this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution," Obama said.

Now remember, the State Department already released a draft environmental assessment of the project that found the 1,700 mile pipeline will "not have a huge impact on climate."

Our Original Post Continues:

President Obama is expected to announce a sweeping plan to address climate change this afternoon.

Read the plan and a White House fact sheet.

The president has framed this issue as a moral responsibility, to leave the Earth in good shape for generations to come. But the nitty-gritty of any serious plan to address this problem is also a challenge, because it means gradually moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy supplies — and that means there will be economic winners and losers.

Winners include companies that produce clean energy — wind, solar and geothermal energy. That energy will be more in demand, and the administration intends to expand access to public lands, where companies can build windmills and solar facilities.

Public health is also a winner, because the plan would pressure coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions. Those plants not only produce carbon dioxide, but they are major sources of mercury, radioactive particles and chemicals that contribute to asthma.

Losers under this plan would eventually be coal mining companies and utilities that burn a lot of coal. That's because — for the first time — the government plans to limit how much carbon dioxide existing power plants can put into the air. It's a key element of the new plan, but it's also unclear just what form it will take. Those limits are supposed to be negotiated over the coming year, with input from industry as well as the states. The president's 21-page plan calls for them to be finalized in 2015, according to administration officials.

If those limits are aggressive, they could drive up electricity prices. But if the limits are too relaxed, they won't have much of an effect on emissions.

Overall, the president is striving to reach an emissions-reduction goal he laid out at the 2009 United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen: to reduce U.S. emissions by 17 percent, relative to our 2005 emissions, by the year 2020. The nation is not currently on track to meet the goal, despite some aggressive fuel-efficiency standards for new cars and a big expansion of renewable energy supplies during President Obama's first term. This new climate policy is intended to close the gap.

The plan also calls for the government to keep working internationally to reduce emissions, since climate change requires a global response. And even with a good international effort, some climate change is already inevitable. So the White House policy calls on efforts to adapt to a world with more extreme weather events.

For example, new standards for roads would assure that they are built high above flood levels. Farmers would be provided with ways to adapt to more drought conditions. And local governments would get assistance to help them plan for extreme weather.

All of these proposals can be enacted without action on Capitol Hill. That's deliberate. Many Republicans in congress reject the judgment of the National Academy of Sciences and other authorities who say climate change is a real concern.

Take me back to the top of this post.

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