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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In Vienna, A Gallery Of Hours That Add Up To Art

Jun 27, 2013

During his 20-year career, Jem Cohen has shown his films in museum auditoriums more often than in commercial theaters. So it's fitting that Museum Hours, the arty documentarian's latest feature-length effort, is so indebted to Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. Cohen likes to happen upon stories and images, and the 19th-century Austrian culture palace is brimming with both.

Humane and gently witty, the movie was inspired by the museum's gallery of paintings by Pieter Breughel, who's known for crowded compositions and attention to the details of everyday life. If the 16th-century Dutch painter's vision seems haphazard and his subject matters unfixed, that's much like Cohen's films — and quite unlike the standard Hollywood entertainment.

Museum Hours does have more of a story than the director's previous fiction-documentary hybrids. Anne, our protagonist, arrives in Vienna from Montreal, speaking no German. She's there to visit a gravely ill cousin, but the patient is in a coma, so in actuality Anne has little to do. In solitude, she begins visiting the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where she meets a lonely man who knows the collection well. Johann is a security guard, not a curator, which makes him "invisible" (or so he supposes).

The two become platonic friends — Johann will eventually reveal that he's gay — and as they do, the native introduces the visitor both to the museum's collection and to everyday Vienna. There are numerous links between the two, including still and video vignettes shot around the city, all of them visually rhymed with details from works of art.

Old cities, like old buildings, are rich in reminders and connotations; they contain simple yet venerable businesses that — like the homey bar to which Johann introduces Anne — may have museum-like qualities themselves. Whether they serve art or beer, such rooted places are musty antidotes to the anonymous global airports-and-highways culture the filmmaker depicted in 2004's Chain.

Another of the movie's conduits between art and life, of course, is Breughel, whose art is the subject of a short lecture delivered by a guide (Ela Piplits) in the gallery full of his canvases. That talk, one of the movie's liveliest passages, recalls the expert testimony Jean-Luc Godard inserted into some of his 1960s films. But in this case the expert is Cohen: He scripted the lecture, as well as a leftist harangue delivered by a recent college graduate who may have taken John Berger's Ways of Seeing a little too seriously.

Anne is played by Canadian "undisciplinary artist" Mary Margaret O'Hara, who's best known as a singer-songwriter. (She's the sister of comic actress Catherine O'Hara.) The role of Johann went to Bobby Sommer, who'd never acted before. Now an employee of the Vienna International Film Festival, he has a background in rock-concert promotion and tour management. (Cohen also has ties to that world, especially to Fugazi, the D.C. group he chronicled in Instrument, perhaps the most impressionistic band-on-the-road movie ever made.)

Ultimately, the movie's easygoing narrative turns to loss, but without melodrama. An awareness of life and art offers perspective, and perhaps a measure of consolation.

Those who don't savor Cohen's leisurely rhythms will probably not respond to Museum Hours, and even the movie's admirers will admit that it could be a little tighter. One scene that might be trimmed is the one where museum-goers pose, naked as the people on the canvases around them. The interlude certainly isn't dull, but it is a little brazen for a film that encourages its viewers to find the beauty in more commonplace sights.

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