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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Former Justice Official In Line To Be Named FBI Chief

May 29, 2013
Originally published on May 30, 2013 6:25 am

NPR has learned that former Justice Department official James B. Comey is in line to become President Obama's choice as the next FBI director, according to two sources familiar with the search.

Comey, 52, has an extensive track record at the highest levels of federal law enforcement. He served as the deputy attorney general — the second in command at Justice — in the George W. Bush administration, and as the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, where he filed charges against housewares maven Martha Stewart for lying about stock trades, among other notable cases. As a young prosecutor in Virginia, he pioneered an effort to remove guns from Richmond's streets.

In recent years, Comey has worked in the private sector, as general counsel at defense contractor Lockheed Martin and at Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund, before leaving that post early this year to teach at Columbia Law School. Comey is a Republican, but he famously threatened to resign in the Bush years over a program that's been described as a form of warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

"I couldn't stay if the administration was going to engage in conduct that the Department of Justice had said had no legal basis," he told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007, years after the episode. "I simply couldn't stay."

He also angered some in the Bush administration by expanding the mandate of a special prosecutor investigating a leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame — a case that resulted in the prosecution of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a longtime aide to then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

In recent weeks, the White House narrowed the search to just two candidates — Comey and White House homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco. Monaco is a former assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department who only arrived at the White House earlier this year. The Daily Beast recently reported a new assignment in her portfolio — helping to resume transfers of detainees and eventually try to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Monaco would have been the first woman nominated to lead the FBI. It is a familiar place for her; she worked closely with the outgoing FBI director, Robert Mueller. Mueller took office only days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and proved so hard to replace that the Senate passed special, one-time-only legislation to extend his 10-year term.

Mueller is on track to leave this fall, and the White House needs to nominate a replacement soon to finish the confirmation process in time for the Senate's summer break. The choice of FBI director could be one of Obama's most lasting legacies in national security.

Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, declined comment on any personnel decisions regarding the FBI, and another source told NPR it could be several days before Obama makes a formal announcement.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Robert Siegel. NPR has learned that former Justice Department official James Comey is in line to become the next FBI director. Comey would succeed the current director, Robert Mueller. President Obama is expected to nominate Comey, a Republican who gave money to Obama's opponents in 2008 and 2012. Comey has extensive law enforcement ties and a background that could help him gain bipartisan support in the Senate.

NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson joins us now. And, Carrie, this process to pick a new FBI director went on for some time. Who were the leading candidates?

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Robert, down to the wire, there were two leading candidates. One was Jim Comey, the former deputy attorney general, number two in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush years. And the second finalist was Lisa Monaco. She had led the national security unit in President Obama's Justice Department. Earlier this year, she moved over to the White House to give him advice about homeland security and other issues. The Daily Beast late last week reported she was taking over the task of trying to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, which will keep her more than busy for some time to come.

SIEGEL: Well, what tipped the scales for Jim Comey, in the end?

JOHNSON: Jim Comey is known for being a really straight shooter, Robert. He has big bipartisan credentials and also some credibility on issues of national security, fighting terrorism, prosecuting people responsible for the Khobar Towers bombings, among others. And remember, Khobar Towers was that bombing in Saudi Arabia. But he's also known for protecting civil liberties and fighting for the rule of law.

SIEGEL: Now, Comey is best known for resisting certain surveillance efforts pushed by Vice President Dick Cheney a decade ago. Remind us what happened then.

JOHNSON: So back in 2004, Robert, Vice President Cheney and others wanted to renew authority to use some kind of warrantless wiretapping program involving American citizens. Attorney General John Ashcroft was in the hospital, very sick. And Jim Comey, who was then Ashcroft's deputy, found out that the White House was sending an envoy to Ashcroft's hospital room to try to get Ashcroft sign off on this program. Jim Comey rushed over to the hospital, ran up the stairs to the hospital room and resisted this. Ashcroft wound up siding with Jim Comey and the upper echelon of the entire Justice Department threatened to resign unless the White House backed down, which it did.

SIEGEL: So, Carrie, what you're reporting is that the White House has settled on Comey for FBI director, but they haven't yet made a formal nomination. Why not?

JOHNSON: Robert, my sources tell me Jim Comey has been offered the job officially, and he has accepted it. There are some background check procedures still under way at this point.

SIEGEL: So what comes next?

JOHNSON: The announcement we expect in the next several days, then a confirmation hearing. Robert, the White House needs to get Jim Comey confirmed before the Senate breaks for the summer.

SIEGEL: OK. That's NPR's Carrie Johnson reporting on the news that the White House has settled on James Comey, former Justice Department official in the administration of President George W. Bush, to be the next director of the FBI. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.