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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Our Beef With BuzzFeed's Viral Article On 8 Dangerous Foods

Jun 24, 2013
Originally published on June 27, 2013 12:42 pm

So I got an email from a publicist asking me if I was interested in what has become a tremendously popular story on BuzzFeed titled "8 Foods We Eat In The US That Are Banned In Other Countries."

Curious, I clicked, as have more than 4 million other readers.

What's my beef? Well, one of the eight bad boys of the U.S. food supply, according to the author, is arsenic.

And I get it: No one would choose to eat a toxic chemical. But the claims made by the author — based on a book by Dr. Jayson Calton and Mira Calton called Rich Food, Poor Food — are out of date and misleading.

The article concludes that arsenic is used in chicken feed to "make meat appear pinker and fresher." And for more information, BuzzFeed linked to an article that I wrote (the site has since pulled the link; see below).

But if anyone at BuzzFeed had actually read my story, they would have learned that, while the poultry industry once used an arsenic-based drug called Roxarsone to stave off infections in chickens, it was pulled from the market by its manufacturer in 2011. And the National Chicken Council says that broiler chicken producers are no longer using arsenic-based drugs.

Now, the claim that arsenic "will kill you if you ingest enough," as the article concludes, is true. But as scientists like to point out, the dose makes the poison. So let's look at the dose here.

Chicken meat (tested in a study done before Roxarsone was pulled from the market) contained about 2.3 ppb — that's parts per billion — of inorganic arsenic, which is far below the 500 ppb tolerance levels set by the FDA.

Over the weekend, when BuzzFeed pulled the link to my post, it put up a correction notice stating: "Some studies linked in the original version of this article were concerning unrelated issues. They have been replaced with information directly from the book Rich Food, Poor Food (6/22/12)."

But here's the thing: My post was not unrelated to the topic. It just didn't support the notion that there was a danger here.

Derek Lowe, a chemist and science blogger, has taken on many of the other claims in the "8 Foods" piece — for instance, the statement that brominated vegetable oil found in many sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas is, as the article says, "linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss."

As Lowe explains, bromine is a "hideously toxic substance" — used as a flame retardant and as a battlefield gas. But he gives a little chemistry lesson to explain that what ends up in our food supply — brominated vegetable oil — is chemically quite different. And he, too, points to the issue of dose.

"In very high amounts drunk over a long period of time, BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects," concludes a WebMD article that the BuzzFeed article linked to.

For instance, there was a case of a man who'd been complaining of headaches and fatigue who was found to have high levels of bromide in his blood.

But how much was he drinking? Two to four liters of soda every day, according to the report. Writes Lowe:

"This piece really is an education. Not about food, or about chemistry — on the contrary, reading it for those purposes will make you noticeably less intelligent than you were before, and consider that a fair warning. The educational part is in the 'What a fool believes' category."


There are other items on the list that seem to be yesterday's concerns. For instance, the fat substitute Olestra. Proctor & Gamble gave up on marketing the fat substitute years ago, and it seems that now there are just a few fat-free potato chips left on the market that still contain it.

And earlier this year, PepsiCo announced that it would pull BVO (brominated vegetable oil) from Gatorade sports drinks.

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