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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

United States Of Outrage: NSA, IRS Overreaches Spark Bipartisan Ire

Jun 7, 2013
Originally published on June 7, 2013 8:14 pm

Even in an era of stark political polarization, there are still some issues that can draw Americans together and scramble the normal ideological fault lines.

Recent revelations about the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency are among them.

Unlike the debates over Obamacare or President Obama himself, which tend to be more litmus tests for party affiliation than anything else, the reactions to reports about overreach by the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency have brought normally warring partisans together.

When you get Sens. Rand Paul, the conservative-libertarian Kentucky Republican, and Ron Wyden, the progressive Oregon Democrat, sharing in outrage over the NSA surveillance programs, that's a noteworthy reshuffling of the political deck, even if proves fleeting.

Likewise, it's not too often that you get House Republicans and Democrats concurring on much of anything. But many agree on the wrongheadedness of the IRS's targeting the applications of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status though they may disagree in their suspicions of Obama administration involvement.

President Obama, who has made clear that he shares that bipartisan unhappiness over the IRS scandal, on Friday acknowledged this bipartisan anger over the NSA surveillance. Of course, even as he did so after a health care event in California, he seemed to suggest Republican motives might be less than pure:

"And I welcome this debate. And I think it's healthy for our democracy. I think it's a sign of maturity, because probably five years ago, six years ago, we might not have been having this debate. And I think it's interesting that there are some folks on the left, but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it who weren't very worried about it when it was a Republican president. I think that's good that we're having this discussion."

Not all the bipartisanship has been of the outrage variety. Some of it has been in support of the NSA. For instance, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, and Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican, defended the NSA's collection of phone-call data. The program that recently made headlines is basically the same one that made similar headlines during George W. Bush's presidency and is a useful counterterrorism tool, they said in its defense. Their reaction essentially was, "What's the big deal?"

In any event, what does this bipartisan anger over perceived or real overreach by the NSA and IRS tell us?

First, it's a reminder that both modern conservatism and liberalism are branches of a tree whose trunk is the respect for individual rights that emerged from the Western political tradition. While people on the right and left may often disagree on how to best guarantee those rights essential to the pursuit of happiness, i.e., whether a stronger or weaker central government is best, they seldom disagree on the sanctity of individual rights.

Second, this is a nation forged by skepticism and suspicion of government power. So it's in the genetic makeup of both American liberals and conservatives to react negatively when they perceive a line has been crossed in the government's exercise of power.

What may come of the current bipartisan ire is another matter. John Sides, a George Washington University political scientist, doesn't think much will change since he doesn't see as much bipartisan concern as he thinks would be needed to cause the NSA to dramatically shift its approach. In a post on The Monkey Cage blog, he wrote:

"What would create more of a public anxiety would be a concerted pushback from Congress against the NSA, and especially a bipartisan pushback. As I wrote regarding drone attacks, real public concern about civil liberties is most likely to arise when elected leaders express concern. But instead of a bipartisan pushback, I am seeing more evidence of a bipartisan shrug."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.