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.

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"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

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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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Political Conservatives Stage App-Building Competition

Jun 24, 2013
Originally published on June 24, 2013 11:54 am



It's no great secret that Republicans are behind in applying digital technology to politics. They admitted as much after the last presidential election. And in an effort to catch up, over the weekend, political conservatives staged an event called the Liberty Hackathon in San Francisco. The sponsor of the app building competition was the Charles Koch Institute, named for its benefactor the billionaire backer of the Tea Party Movement.

NPR's Nathan Rott went to the event and sent us this report.

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Silicon Valley is all about challenges, about finding quick answers to tough problems. So how 'bout this: Quick, you have 24 hours to develop an app, anything from widget to Web site that promotes the idea of liberty. No other rules, no other directions, just liberty. Using...

AARON GINN: The data politicians and campaign managers look at. The same data they see every single day.

ROTT: That's Aaron Ginn. He's one of the Liberty Hackathon's organizers.

GINN: We're giving that to Silicon Valley engineers and saying, hey, how would you spread the message of immigration reform or, you know, protecting your information from the NSA?

ROTT: Ginn is a Republican. He worked on the Romney campaign's digital team in the last election. But that's not a good pick-up line in this part of the country. In fact, we had to meet at a park, outside of his office at a tech company, because some of his co-workers didn't want their workplace to even be quasi-associated with a conservative event. That's how poisonous the word conservative - or even something as generic as liberty - can be around here. Which Ginn says shouldn't be the case.

GINN: Because the startup community is a community that believes in economic liberty; that markets and startup and companies can solve our biggest problems.

ROTT: So it's not that far a leap, Ginn says, to think that some of this area's technologists could don a conservative cap. They just need a place to feel comfortable doing it.

CHAD BARTH: On the right there's not always that inherent, I know where to go to get involved. And that's what, like, one of the things that we're trying to change.

ROTT: Chad Barth worked on political campaigns for the RNC for 13 years. He now works for Eventbrite. He says that the left has embraced field training, things like hackathon to recruit technologists, while the right has lagged. That's why he volunteered to judge at this hackathon. It's a step in the right direction, he says, even if it's a subtle one.

MICHAEL REVELL: I didn't even know this was a political hackathon.

ROTT: Michael Revell was one of the 80-some participants at the event. And he wasn't alone in not knowing that it had political backing, though he really didn't mind. Nobody pushed it on him, he says.

The night before, the RNC's newly hired chief technician - who's a former managing engineer at Facebook - was there, he didn't speak or hand out cards. The coaches were non-partisan. The judges were split between liberal and conservative. There was even a team that had a presenter wearing an Ayn Rand "Atlas Shrugged" shirt and another member sporting an Obama pin.

Nothing about the event even smelled of partisanship, says Jeff Karl. He was another one of the participants. And that's how it should be, he says. People don't come to these events because they're concerned about politics.

JEFF KARL: People out here are more just concerned with making things happen, just like making cool things.

ROTT: Things like the app he was developing, a way to make legislation more accessible and understandable by cutting out legal jargon and personalizing it. Or one that was being built just down the hall: A tool to cut down racial profiling by making a type of Yelp for cops. The winner was an app that made it possible for people to vote online. Not very political, which is how Aaron Ginn wanted it - not blue, not red...

GINN: There can be a purple. There can be things where you can say, yeah , we should probably fix that. You know?

ROTT: And that's something that everyone can agree on.

Nathan Rott, NPR News, San Francisco.


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