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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As People Head Into Space, PayPal Says It Will Follow Them

Jun 27, 2013
Originally published on June 27, 2013 12:48 pm

Many people know how to buy things in cyberspace. But what about doing business in outer space? That's the question PayPal says it wants to answer. Citing the looming era of space tourism, the company is creating the PayPal Galactic project along with the SETI Institute, "to help make universal space payments a reality."

The two organizations are announcing their new joint effort Thursday, saying they hope to help solve the big questions that arise with commerce in space. The first hotel orbiting the Earth is slated to open in the next few years.

"Space tourism is opening up to all of us in the next decade or so, and we want to make sure that PayPal is the preferred way to pay from space and in space," PayPal President David Marcus says, in a video accompanying the announcement.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the questions the PayPal Galactic project will take on:

  • How will the banking systems have to adapt?
  • How will risk and fraud management systems evolve?
  • What regulations will we have to conform with?

"PayPal envisions exploring possibilities in space the way that we do, breaking boundaries to make real progress," says SETI astronomer Jill Tarter. "When the SETI Institute succeeds in its exploration of the universe, and as we find our place among the stars, PayPal will be there to facilitate commerce, so people can get what they need, and want, to live outside of our planet."

Among the possibilities are things as rudimentary as paying bills back on Earth while you're out in space, either working as an astronaut or traveling as a tourist. And because life can be quiet in the dark vacuum of space, PayPal expects people living there will need a way to buy things like music and e-books.

"Within five to 10 years the earliest types of 'space hotels' and orbital and lunar commerce will be operational and in need of a payment system," says John Spencer, founder and president of the Space Tourism Society, which is taking part in the research.

The PayPal Galactic project will also try to answer the question, "What will our standard currency look like in a truly cash-free interplanetary society?"

To explore that idea, the company sent out a release that lists currencies used in science fiction, from the Federation credits of Star Trek to the cubits of Battlestar Galactica ... and even the mice of V.

The exploration of how space travelers might pay for things in space is the latest look we've gotten at how people are preparing for space travel to become more common, and more prolonged.

Most notably, news emerged recently that NASA had awarded a contract to experiment with using a 3-D printer to create food for space travelers, possibly for an eventual trip to Mars.

The Galactic project coincides with the 15th anniversary of PayPal's founding; now a part of eBay, the company says it currently services more than 128 million active accounts in more than 190 markets worldwide.

"We wanted to bring the experience we've learned over the last 15 years to help the industry answer the difficult questions that an interplanetary commerce system brings," says PayPal's senior communications director, Anuj Nayar.

The project also includes a crowdfunding campaign to support SETI and its research — and, we assume, to help find new markets in space.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.