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: 'Ten Ring Fingers' And 'Ghost Words'

May 19, 2013
Originally published on May 19, 2013 6:18 pm

NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Ten Ring Fingers by Tamara Breuer of Washington, D.C., and Ghost Words by Matheus Macedo of Winthrop, Mass. You can read their full stories 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: Write a story where a character finds something they've no intention of returning. That was the prompt for this round of our Three-Minute Fiction writing contest. It's not an easy task, but thousands of you thought you were up to the challenge. We're about to read excerpts of some of the top-notch entries that our wonderful grad students helped us pick out.

Our readers come from more than a dozen schools across the country, including NYU, University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota. So first up, a story about missing rings.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: (Reading) The next day, a frazzled, middle-aged man scurried into the bar and asked her if she had found his wedding ring. She remembered seeing him with a brunette the night before, a woman who wore no rings. She smiled apologetically and promised to let him know if it turned up. As soon as he left the bar, she slipped the ring onto her finger.

(Reading) She found the second and third rings later that week. This time, two women entered to claim them, wearing the same clothes as the night before. She gave them the same answer she'd given the first man. They glanced down at the three rings piled on her finger, and left without saying anything.

(Reading) She had spent little time in her life thinking about marriage but now, it invaded her mind. Every time she found a stray ring, she cleaned it and pretended like it was brand-new, made especially for her.

LYDEN: That was NPR's Susan Stamberg, reading an excerpt from the story "Ten Ring Fingers," written by Tamara Breuer of Washington, D.C. Now, a story about a middle-school crush.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: (Reading) The letter smelled of lavender and vanilla, like she couldn't decide which perfume to use so she used both. Her handwriting had been drawn with the careful precision only seventh-grade girls in love have patience for. Hidden behind the words were indents and scratches, ghosts of words that weren't quite right, rewrites on top of rewrites.

(Reading) I thought of all possibilities before tearing open the smooth flap of pink paper. Sliding it back into her locker in secret would have been the gentleman thing to do, the honorable thing. But she would never have known what a gentleman I was, if I did that. I could have given it back to her. She would definitely have noticed me then. Though soon after, she would have given him the letter, and that would have been the end of me.

(Reading) No. I wasn't going to return it. I couldn't bear to be rid of it. Lunch that day consisted of me sitting hungry in a locked stall on top of a stained toilet seat, reading and re-reading those words, the words she wrote for him.

LYDEN: And that was NPR's Bob Mondello, reading an excerpt from the story "Ghost Words" by Matheus Macedo of Winthrop, Mass. You can read the rest of both of these stories at our website, Be sure to tune in next week to hear more excerpts from Three-Minute Fiction Round 11.

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