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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Plum Baby

May 18, 2013
Originally published on May 18, 2013 2:56 pm

There isn't enough time in this world to grow your own tree. That tree is a plum baby still, never mind it's tall as the house those men are taking from us. It grew up with me. I say this to Mama Lee as she rests her hand on my shoulder like another shoulder. She nods and nods some more. She's been nodding all day like she's got two weights, one in her chin and the other in back of her skull that can't lie at rest.

We're standing in the yard facing the house in the dewy grass. The house is as old as Mama Lee's mama who died before I was born.

Now that old house is humming under the weight of those repo men inside doing their business. That tree's hardly done growing. We watch as two men lug out our sofa.

Mama Lee opens her mouth before she speaks but sticks her tongue to her upper teeth, preparing her words before she lets them loose, little fishes from a hand. "Your father should've sold the lumber yard. I told him. Should've sold it."

I pick up a stick and throw it straight up in the air but it doesn't fall on me.

"Who needs lumber anymore? No one's building," Mama Lee says.

I say, "Do they own the plum tree now? If they own the house?"

"I told them," she says.

"I'm going to take it if it's all the same to you."

She looks at me then. "You going to dig it up with your bare hands, hmm?"

"There's a shovel not packed yet."

Mama Lee's got a mean laugh. "And what do you plan to do with a tree? Hmm? When you got no yard?"

I pick another stick and throw it up and hope it hits her head, but it sinks behind us.

I leave her questions and walk on over to my big baby plum tree. I touch its rough trunk.

The bark is bone-brittle. It got hit by a freeze last winter and didn't give us much fruit, like it knew what was coming. Around the trunk, on the other side where the repo men can't see, there's a handful of fallen plums. Sitting in the shade like someone put them there for me to find. They're rotting and sending up that sweet smell and have a look like they've been rolled through petrol. In the shade I pick two and weigh them, one in each hand. They're mushy, but not lost.

No one's watching. I slip the plums into my skirt pockets and feel them against my legs, wet.

Once, when I was eight, I kept a roadkill raccoon under my bed for a week. I heard full moons can wake the dead.

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