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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Room Upgrades, Videos & A 'Star Trek' Parody: Read IRS Audit

Jun 4, 2013

Already under fire for how some personnel gave extra scrutiny to conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service is also dealing with an inspector general's criticism of the $4.1 million spent on a conference in 2010.

Posted here, the Treasury Department audit concludes that:

-- "The IRS did not use available internal personnel to assist in searching for the most cost-effective location as required." The event was held in Anaheim, Calif.

-- "The IRS may have been able to negotiate a lower lodging rate to reduce conference expenses if it had not used non-governmental event planners and eliminated some of the negotiated concessions provided by the hotels."

-- There were "questionable expenses related to the conference, including planning trips, outside speakers, video productions, an information corridor, and promotional items and gifts for IRS employees."

Those questionable expenses and video productions are getting plenty of attention. The inspector general found, for example, that:

-- The IRS spent $50,187 on videos, including Leading into the Future — a Star Trek parody. Executives from the agency's Small Business/Self-Employed division appeared in the "tax-themed parody."

Another video, SB/SE Shuffle, feared 15 division executives and managers dancing on a stage. It was supposed to "engage managers and help facilitate a connection between executives and managers."

-- One keynote speaker was paid $17,000 for presentations in which he would "create a unique painting that reinforces his message of unlearning the rules, breaking the boundaries, and freeing the thought process to find creative solutions to challenges." The paintings were portraits of Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, President Lincoln, Bono and the Statue of Liberty.

-- Another keynote speaker was paid $27,500 for two speeches of one hour each. The agency hoped that "his concept of Intersectional Ideas [would illustrate] how ideas from different fields can be combined to generate new solutions to existing challenges."

One other issue that the IRS comes into some criticism for: "A substantial number of ... employees received hotel upgrades." According to the audit, there were 93 upgrades at a Hilton hotel, 33 at a Marriott and six at a Sheraton. The division's commissioner, for example, "stayed five nights in a presidential suite at the Marriott. This room is described as having a private bedroom, living area, conference table, wet bar, and billiard table. We spoke with a Marriott representative who stated that this suite currently retails for $3,500 per night." The IRS was charged $135 a night.

The inspector general concludes that "because these free rooms and upgrades were part of the Letters of Intent with the hotels, they are not gifts to employees. However, the solicitation and use of hotel room upgrades increases the perception of wasteful spending and should be carefully considered in the future."

According to the audit, 2,609 IRS employees attended the conference. In a response to the audit, IRS officials told the inspector general that

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