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

1 hour 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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'Picture Cook': Drawings Are The Key Ingredients In These Recipes

May 17, 2013
Originally published on May 21, 2013 4:32 pm

Back in 2009, Katie Shelly was craving an eggplant Parmesan. Small problem: She'd never made it before. But she remembered that a college roommate used to make it, so she called her up and asked for the recipe.

The friend told her she needed to start with three bowls — one for breadcrumbs, one for egg and one for flour, salt and pepper. "In that moment, it was totally natural for me to just draw the three bowls instead of writing all that out in words," says Shelly, whose day job is as a visual designer.

As the friend continued the recipe, Shelly continued drawing it out with arrows and eggplant slices on a tray. When she pulled out the scrap of loose-leaf in the kitchen, she found it much easier to cook from that than a traditional recipe that relies on numerical steps.

And that's where the idea for Shelly's upcoming cookbook, Picture Cook, originated. The book is filled with 50 illustrated recipe "blueprints" for basic meals — from snacks like Krispy Kale to more hefty dishes like White Lasagna. Her recipes are bound to appeal to visual learners; Shelly hopes they're also less daunting than traditional recipes.

"If you pick up a book from Emeril Lagasse or Julia Child or Mario Batali or whoever, there's a little bit of intimidation there. ... But this book is just coming from little old me. You don't have to feel like you're going into a Top Chef competition with whatever you create."

In fact, she doesn't think she's "exceptionally culinarily inclined" — "I make food that is tasty and does the job," she says. But she learned to cook by experimenting with her friends and hopes learning by seeing will encourage others to improvise as well.

Already, lots of people seem to have responded to her novel approach to recipes: Traffic to her website exploded after the illustration blog Drawn featured her carrot soup recipe in 2010.

Other design blogs picked up the illustrations, Mark Bittman tweeted about her, and people were emailing to ask where they could buy her book. Picture Cook didn't exist yet, but all the positive feedback from the online community motivated her to start talking to publishers. Three years later, her book is close to hitting the shelves: It comes out in October but is available for pre-order now.

Shelly recognizes that while some people love the illustrated recipes, others find them confusing.

"It's just another way of slicing information," she says. "There will always people who prefer the original way of doing recipes, and if you're in that camp, then no need to buy this book. I'm not suggesting that the whole world switch over to this format. But I think for people who are into it, if it works for you, then that's awesome."

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