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

1 hour 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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Three-Minute Fiction Reading: 'Plum Baby'

May 18, 2013
Originally published on May 18, 2013 7:47 pm

NPR's Susan Stamberg reads an excerpt of one of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. She reads Plum Baby by Carmiel Banasky of Portland, Ore. You can read the full story below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit



It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.


LYDEN: We're reading excerpts of some of the best submissions from our Three-Minute Fiction writing contest, and they were chosen with the help of grad students from schools across the country, including the University of Iowa, Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis.

The challenge, as issued by our judge, Karen Russell, was to write a story about a character who finds something they have no intention of returning. We got thousands of submissions, and here's one of the standouts about a family's coveted plum tree sold to a lumberyard.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: (Reading) I pick up a stick and throw it straight up in the air, but it doesn't fall on me. Who needs lumber anymore? No one's building, Mama Lee says. I say: Do they own the plum tree now if they own the house? I told them, she says. I'm gonna take it, if it's all the same to you. She looks at me then. You going to dig it up with your bare hands, hmm?

There's a shovel not packed yet. Mama Lee's got a mean laugh. And what do you plan to do with a tree, hmm, when you got no yard? I pick up another stick and throw it up and hope it hits her head. But it sinks behind us.

LYDEN: That was Susan Stamberg reading an excerpt from the story "Plum Baby," written by Carmiel Banasky of Portland, Oregon. If you want to find out what happens next, you can read this story in its entirety at our website, That's Three-Minute Fiction all spelled out, no spaces. Be sure to tune in tomorrow to hear more excerpts from Round 11 of our contest.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.