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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Obama Pushes To Keep Student Loan Rates Down

May 31, 2013
Originally published on May 31, 2013 9:23 pm
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Obama says he wants Congress to keep student loan rates from doubling July 1st. If lawmakers don't act, those rates will jump from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports the president held a White House event this morning to increase the pressure.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: It was a steamy morning in the White House Rose Garden when President Obama stepped out in front of a group of college students and graduates. The president said it's inspiring to spend time with young people.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Those of you who've had to put on suits and ties and show up at the White House first thing on a Friday morning may not feel the same way I do, but I appreciate all of you being here.

SHAPIRO: This morning, those young people in suits and ties were a visual aid meant to illustrate the cost of congressional inaction. If lawmakers don't prevent student loan rates from doubling, the president said the average college student will pay an extra thousand dollars a year.

OBAMA: That's like a thousand-dollar tax hike. I assume most of you cannot afford that. Anybody here can afford that? No.

SHAPIRO: Congress had the same debate with the president around this time a year ago. They reached a deal for one year. Now, the deadline is approaching. Lawmakers agree with the president that something must be done, but they disagree on the details. House Republicans passed a plan that would allow student loan rates to change over time, like an adjustable mortgage with the ceiling of 8.5 percent. The president doesn't like that.

OBAMA: That's not smart. It eliminates safeguards for lower income families. That's not fair. It could actually cost a freshman starting school this fall more over the next four years than if we did nothing at all.

SHAPIRO: In contrast, the White House plan locks in rates once you've purchased a loan and it gives low income students a rate 2 percent lower than everyone else. His plan also caps payments at 10 percent of a graduate's income. Members of Congress are home right now so there was not an immediate reaction from Capitol Hill today, but they'll be back next week. That's when this debate may begin again in earnest before the deadline arrives in just four weeks.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, the White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.