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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Prosecution Seeks Lifetime Political Ban On Berlusconi

May 13, 2013
Originally published on May 13, 2013 12:25 pm

The prosecutor in former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's trial on charges that he had sex with an underage prostitute is seeking a term of six years behind bars and a lifetime ban on the former premier from holding public office.

"Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told the court that the young women invited to the former premier's parties 'were part of a system of prostitution organized for the pleasure of Silvio Berlusconi,' " The Associated Press reports.

Investigators believe Berlusconi, 76, "likely paid more than 4.5 million euros to the young exotic dancer at the center of a sex scandal," reports Italian news site Ansa.it.

Boccassini first opened the trial in April 2011, on charges that Berlusconi paid for sex with a minor and abused the power of his office.

The case made international headlines after Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan woman known simply as "Ruby," was revealed to have been 17 years old when she allegedly had sexual encounters with Berlusconi at his villa.

"The prosecution claims Berlusconi hosted orgies and erotic dances — dubbed 'bunga-bunga' — and had sex with the then-underage el-Mahroug in exchange for large sums of money," NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reported back in 2011. "But Berlusconi insists all his dinner parties are elegant and sober affairs, and denounces the charges as part of a communist conspiracy."

The prosecution delivered its closing arguments Monday. The trial reportedly will reconvene in June, with a verdict expected late that month.

Berlusconi suffered a setback in a separate case Friday when an appeals court upheld the sentence in a tax fraud case against the former leader and media tycoon. The punishment includes four years behind bars — three of which were amnestied — and a five-year ban on Berlusconi from holding public office, reports Corriere della Sera. Berlusconi is expected to file another appeal, this time to Italy's highest court.

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