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 Responds To Questions On IRS, Benghazi, AP Phone Logs

May 16, 2013
Originally published on May 16, 2013 7:24 pm



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Audie Cornish. Turkey's Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Washington today. After meeting with President Obama, the two leaders took questions from the press in the White House rose garden. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, the president took the opportunity to respond to some of the controversies that have been buffeting his administration.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: This week has provided one lesson after another in the limits of presidential power. The IRS scandal took Obama by surprise, the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press phone records happened without the president's knowledge. And as this rose garden news conference started 45 minutes late, it began to rain.

Turkey's prime minister diplomatically called the splatter a source of abundance. President Obama finally summoned a couple of Marines with umbrellas.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: They're going to look good next to us just 'cause I want to - I've got a change of suits, but I don't know about our prime minister.

SHAPIRO: The president suggested that his power to prevent bad things from happening is limited and that he's focused on dealing with crises that come to his attention. He's had plenty of opportunities in the last few days.

OBAMA: My concern is making sure that if there's a problem in the government, that we fix it.

SHAPIRO: So, he said, when he learned from press reports that the IRS politicized its decisions on tax exempt organizations, the acting IRS commissioner got the boot.

OBAMA: We're going to make sure that we identify any structural or management issues to prevent something like this from happening again.

SHAPIRO: And within hours, Obama named a new acting IRS commissioner, Danny Werfel, a White House budget official. In Benghazi, Libya, the administration did not prevent or stop attacks that killed four Americans. The president said his job now is to keep it from happening again. He tried to shift the focus from talking points about the attacks to diplomatic security in the future.

OBAMA: And I'm calling on Congress to work with us to support and fully fund our budget requests and improve the security of our embassies around the world.

SHAPIRO: On a controversy involving the Justice Department's seizure of reporters' phone records, Obama was more circumspect.

OBAMA: I'm not going to comment on a specific and pending case, but I'll - I can talk broadly about the balance that we have to strike.

SHAPIRO: He framed that balance in terms that are quintessentially Obama, two competing values, both important. On the one hand...

OBAMA: Leaks related to national security can put people at risk.

SHAPIRO: And on the other hand...

OBAMA: We also live in a democracy where a free press, free expression and the open flow of information helps hold me accountable, helps hold our government accountable, and helps our democracy function.

SHAPIRO: To that end, he said his administration is glad to see Senator Chuck Schumer reintroduce a federal reporter shield law. Obama added that he has complete confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder. The president's guest at this rose garden event is from Turkey, a country that shares a long border with Syria.

Turkey is stretched to capacity with Syrian refugees. And while both leaders today said Bashar al-Assad must leave, Obama also characterized this civil war in an ongoing lesson in the limits of American power.

OBAMA: We would've preferred Assad go two years ago, last year, six months ago, two months ago.

SHAPIRO: But at home and abroad, the president is coming to appreciate how many things are beyond his control. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, the White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.