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

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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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A Sports Star's 'Crash,' Then The Search For A New Normal

Jul 4, 2013
Originally published on July 4, 2013 6:26 pm

"You need to be prepared for the Kevin who comes back not to be the same Kevin."

That's what a doctor told the parents of snowboarder Kevin Pearce following the brain injury he suffered in late 2009, while training for the Vancouver Olympics.

Those words, simple but painful for a parent to hear, are essentially what Lucy Walker's moving documentary, The Crash Reel, is about: the way traumatic brain injuries — wounds that, after recovery, can seemingly be invisible — leave their victims no choice but to be different people.

Walker wastes no time getting to the moment that would change Pearce's life. The film opens with a fast-paced training-and-partying montage, suggesting the sort of high-energy extreme-sports documentary one would normally see playing in a ski-resort bar. That's until the moment, which arrives without warning, when Pearce comes back down into the half-pipe after a high-flying acrobatic trick, catching the edge of his board on the half-pipe wall. In an instant, he's slammed face-first into the hard-packed ice and snow.

Because of the nature of the sport that Pearce is involved in, where riders routinely wear cameras to capture their own feats and those of their friends, there's no shortage of footage from the moments before and after the accident, as a bloody, unconscious Pearce is airlifted off the mountain and his friends sit in shock at what they've just witnessed.

The accident has very different implications for Pearce on the one hand and his family on the other. Walker structures the movie to give voice to both perspectives, which will eventually come into conflict and provide narrative push and pull for the film.

With Pearce, she needs to demonstrate just why it is that, after his initial recovery, he's so determined to get back on a snowboard despite his ongoing issues with coordination and eyesight. So after the initial look at the crash, Walker rewinds for a quick home-movie overview of his early life in Vermont --scenes of him acting like a daredevil, even as a toddler, lead into skateboarding, surfing and eventually snowboarding.

That sequence segues to a stretch chronicling his development into a world-class boarder, one of the few to ever really challenge the supremacy of Shaun White — the sport's intimidating Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali all rolled into one. The obvious joy Pearce feels not just in his competitive success, but also in the simple freeing act of flying down a mountain and into the air strapped to a board, is conveyed so effectively that it's hard not to root for him to be able to get back on it.

But Walker has also shown us the intense emotional pain experienced by his family as they sit at his bedside while he's comatose, as they help him through long hours, weeks, months and eventually years of rehabilitation. Pearce isn't always easy to deal with during that time, either: Because of the injury, he suffers from depression, irritability, irrationality and memory loss.

The personal story here is told so sensitively and intimately told, with difficult moments between Pearce and his family and his doctors shown with an often uncomfortable honesty, that it's easy to forget that The Crash Reel is also a big-picture documentary about the larger issue of these kinds of injuries in sports.

Walker subtly sneaks in the stories of other athletes who've suffered similar (and often worse) fates than Pearce, and examines the reasons why such incidents are on the rise. She doesn't shy away from noting our own complicity — we, the spectators wanting ever greater thrills — in these injuries.

Few documentaries manage to show character arcs as full as the one Walker captures here. The Kevin of the end of the film is definitely not the same one he was before the accident, but neither is he the same man he was immediately after it, or a year after it.

Gaining the humility to accept limitations is no easy task for anyone, but it must be especially so for an athlete of Pearce's talents. Watching him do so demonstrates that his talents run far richer and deeper than those it takes to do a double cork in a half-pipe. (Recommended)

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