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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For Pixar's 'Monsters,' A Sophomore Slump

Jun 21, 2013
Originally published on June 21, 2013 12:27 pm

It's a big month for origin stories: first the Man of Steel, now the Eye of Green and the Abominable Furball of Blue — aka Mike and Sully, top scarers at Monsters, Inc. How did they become the best of the best, you ask? You didn't ask? Well, Pixar's got the answer anyway: They trained at Monsters U.

Sully, the big blue furball growled by John Goodman, is singled out on the first day of classes as a "monster who looks like a scarer," which annoys Billy Crystal's Mike, the green eyeball for whom scaring does not come nearly as naturally. He's into studying; Sully's into partying. Of course they end up rooming together. And being bounced from the residence hall, too, by Helen Mirren's bat-winged, centipede-legged Dean Hardscrabble, which leaves them no option but to join Monster U's lamest fraternity, Oozma Kappa. There they're joined by monsters of the decidedly cuddly variety. Scarejinks ensue.

It's been 12 years since audiences fell for Mike and Scully's digitized odd-couple act — or roughly an eon when it comes to advances in animation technology. Back when Monsters, Inc. came out, the digital wow factor was provided by Sully's lifelike turquoise fur. These days, the baseline is so much higher that differences in texture barely register. Scenes can contain not two or three, but dozens of tentacled, rubber-necked, silken-scaled and variously fuzzed monsters. A goodly number have what look like sewn seams around their mouths or faces — not unlike the toys they've doubtless inspired.

What hasn't advanced is the plotting, which was nothing special last time and is so formulaic now that it's basically surprise-free. Granted, you don't want a G-rated monster movie to deliver many actual scares on its way to life lessons about working together. And for kids, this one won't be. But some adults may be alarmed, if only by this latest evidence that sequelitis has infected Pixar.

Things started well with the Toy Story sequels, but more recently we've gotten a pedestrian Cars 2, now a passable Monsters University; just beyond that next reef, there's Finding Dory. Here's hoping Pixar shakes it off before the animators there start walking around like the rest of Hollywood — glazed, zombielike, with dollar signs clouding their vision.

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