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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Pages

Reborn

Jun 9, 2013

At the Reborn Convention at the Creektown Holiday Inn, the women mill and mingle, fawn over mohair follicles, blue-blotched underpainting, voice-boxes uploaded with found sound. Distant crying. Summer afternoon nap meltdowns.

I'm the only man, and I sense their suspicion. I feel lost. I eat a tasteless finger sandwich. I touch a doll with the back of my hand. A pamphlet explains: Real Baby Heater Systems.

I've been doll shopping all day. Mom-pop small shops, to mid-range chains hanging on in the e-conomy, to toy depots built into stucco strips. The high florescence of toyland. The dolls' faces sealed behind cellophane. The saleslady said these were the top sellers.

"None of these speaks to me," I said.

"Oh, we got dolls that coo and laugh."

"Laughing's not speaking."

"We got dolls that cry. You might try the Reborns in Creektown. You might find what you're looking for there."

At the hairing station, I watch a woman with craft-specific tools tweeze strands through micro-perforations in a scalp. A small digi-cam and halogen lamp beam down on her knuckles and project on a portable screen, before which others have gathered with notepads and clandestine camera-phones to bootleg instructions. When she has a patch on the soft spot she palms the wispy fuzz to prove the sensory logic of it all.

A plastic placard at her table reads REAL HUMAN. I ask what's the story of the hair there?

"That came off a three-year-old girl."

"Does that add to the value? Right, how could it not?" Did the girl know what she was doing? Did she think she was shaving her head for the sick?

"I know what you're thinking." She waits several seconds and says, "the answer is yes and no."

I wander in a trance watching the reborners create the semblance of infant life. Diorama style set-ups with mood lighting, bassinets, blankies, and mobiles. Night-monitors for the baby noises. Music boxes. Strollers folded in the corner for endless calming walks. A brawny mannequin in plaid and jeans (like me) with a reborn in a Bjorn.

"Are you in the market?"

I want to say yes, make me one with an electric heart that never stops. Make me one with a real GI tract, real stench. I want to say yes, sell me a kit with six toes on the left foot, a harelip and a palsied hand. I'd take that.

"Can I take --" I almost say "it" — "this little guy" (it's wearing a sky-blue onesie) "for a walk? Just to see how it feels."

"This one's five hundred." She lifts it off the mannequin and helps me into the straps.

"Just around here," I say. "A test-drive. You can have my car keys for collateral."

Outside, in the natural light, I can see his underpainted blue-blotched blood vessels, the most accurate glue-fleck cradle cap. Away from all of the other dolls, he looks realer than ever, sleeping with those tight-shut eyes. Passers by don't think twice. Passengers on the train give knowing looks. So sweet. By the time I get to my stop, it's easy enough to imagine the heartbeat I'm feeling isn't my own.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.