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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Syrian Opposition Elects New Leader

Jul 7, 2013
Originally published on July 7, 2013 2:21 pm



We're going to stay in the Middle East, turning out attention now to Syria, where the main opposition coalition has a new leader. During meetings in Istanbul, opposition leaders elected Ahmad al-Jarba, who has close ties to Saudi Arabia. The change comes as civilians in Syria's central city of Homs are facing a fierce government assault. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: After another two-day Syrian Coalition meeting had spilled over into a third day with more to come, spokesman Khaled Saleh had some news.

KHALED SALEH: The new president of the Syrian Coalition is Mr. Ahmed al-Asi al-Jarba.

KENYON: Ahmad al-Jarba was once jailed for challenging the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and he's considered an ally of Saudi Arabia. In the end, this election was seen as a proxy contest between the Saudis and another main backer of the Syrian rebels, Qatar. Qatar's man finished second. Coalition members say Jarba's victory signals more Saudi influence over upcoming decisions, but they weren't prepared to predict what decisions this group might be able to agree on. The coalition desperately needs to shore up its credentials within Syria, where it's frequently criticized as a group of outsiders too busy fighting for power to be effective in bringing assistance to the under-armed rebel fighters doing battle with president Bashar al-Assad's military. Cognizant of that, spokesman Saleh spent more time talking about the Syrian military assault on the Homs neighborhood of Khalidiya than about the election results.

SALEH: They are set on entering al-Khalidiya. We have confirmed reports of using chemical weapons against innocent civilians. We have more than 25 casualties.

KENYON: The claims of chemical weapons were not independently confirmed. The coalition also elected three vice presidents, including a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Another vice president, Salem al-Muslat, says the horrific conditions facing both civilians and rebel fighters inside Syria have to be the coalition's top priority.

VICE PRESIDENT SALEM AL-MUSLAT: Syria needs a lot, the revolution needs a lot. You know, we're just a few days away from Ramadan, and our people, they need a lot of help, you know, they need relief, forces. They need support, and you know what kind of support they need.


KENYON: The Free Syrian Army says it's desperately short of weapons and needs a no-fly zone. But as online videos appear to show more fierce fighting in Homs and other cities, activists say international help remains deeply inadequate. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Istanbul.


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