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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U.S., Russia At Odds Over Moscow's Plan To Arm Syria

May 31, 2013
Originally published on May 31, 2013 6:48 pm

Russian media has hinted that Moscow could speed up delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Syria if the U.S. and its allies decide to impose a no-fly zone to aid rebels there. Meanwhile, a Russian airplane maker says Syria is discussing the purchase of additional MiG-29 fighters.

A Russian arms industry source quoted by Interfax news agency says Moscow could hasten delivery of the S-300 to Syria, even though the missiles would still take months to arrive.

"Regarding the deliveries of the S-300, they can begin no earlier than the autumn," the source told Interfax. "Technically it's possible, but much will depend on how the situation develops in the region and the position of Western countries."

Reuters also reports that Moscow plans to fulfill a 2007 contract with Syria to deliver 10 MiG-29 fighters. The MiG aircraft maker says a deal is being discussed for the purchase of about 10 more of the fighter jets. Presumably such a contract would take months, perhaps years, to fulfill.

The talk of arms shipments to Damascas comes at an inopportune time. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have struggled to turn a new page in relations between the former Cold War rivals.

This week, Lavrov described as "odious" a U.S. co-sponsored resolution criticizing Syria at the United Nations Human Rights Council. He also said President Obama's hint that a no-fly zone might be considered had ruined the atmosphere for Syrian peace talks. Lavrov urged the U.S. to persuade Syrian opposition figures to drop demands for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Meanwhile, Kerry has criticized Russian's talk of arming the regime with advanced missiles that he says threaten Israel.

The S-300 missiles comprise Russia's top-of-the-line long-range air defense system, Robert Hewson, editor of IHS Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, tells NPR.

"It is a feared and potentially very capable system so it adds a whole new layer of complexity to anyone who is planning to be flying over downtown Damascus," he says.

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