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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Tech Giants Deny Granting NSA 'Direct Access' To Servers

Jun 8, 2013
Originally published on June 8, 2013 6:26 pm

Tech companies that cooperated with government intelligence-gathering efforts by allowing access to their databases say they did so only reluctantly and that it never involved 'direct access' to servers, according to The New York Times.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Apple and Paltalk all negotiated with the government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide the National Security Agency with user data as part of a program code-named PRISM, the Times reports, quoting people familiar with the discussions. Google owns Youtube, while Microsoft owns Hotmail and Skype.

Each of the nine companies named in media reports of PRISM, which first appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post, have denied turning over direct access to their servers.

Instead, the NYT says:

"In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said."

The newspaper says that the data is only only shared after company lawyers reviewed the government's FISA request according to company practice. "It is not sent automatically or in bulk, and the government does not have full access to company servers," the Times says.

Larry Page, the CEO of Google and Mark Zuckerberg, who heads Facebook, have denied reports that the Internet giants were willing participants in the spying.

"The U.S. government does not have direct access or a 'back door' to the information stored in our data centers," Google's chief executive, Larry Page, and its chief legal officer, David Drummond, said in blog post co-written by the company's chief legal officer, David Drummond. "We provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law."

"Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users' data are false, period," Page wrote.

Zuckerberg called the media accounts about Facebook's involvement "outrageous."

Twitter, meanwhile, has said it did not respond to government requests to peer into its databases. Users "have a right to fight invalid government requests, and we stand with them in that fight," the company was quoted by the Times as saying.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston, reporting on Weekend Edition Saturday , says PRISM is part of a new effort to mine so-called 'Big Data' to handle very large volumes of information to winnow out some bits with significance that might otherwise be lost.

"Stores like Target have been using huge volumes of sales information to try to predict customer behavior ... now the intelligence community is trying to do that, too," Dina says.

"The intelligence community says that until they actually analyze the data — which requires a judge's permission — they are merely housing the information, not looking at it, so privacy isn't an issue," she says.

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