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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What Does Your Summer Reading Say About You?

Jul 8, 2013
Originally published on July 8, 2013 3:44 pm

If the proliferation of summer reading lists is any indication, summer is prime time for recreational reading, whether it's fiction or non.

NPR Books is well into a special series on summer books for 2013. Philosophy Talk, a Bay Area philosophy show (think Car Talk, but where the problems tackled are more conceptual than mechanical), offers a list of "philosophically-rich summer reading," and it isn't all Kant and Hume (though they're recommended, too). You'll find additional offerings at Publisher's Weekly, Goodreads, Huffington Post, the LA Times and Slate.com, to name just a few.

How do you decide which books to read for leisure? And what, if anything, do your reading preferences reveal about the kind of person you are?

Curious about these questions, I decided to spend some time on Google Scholar, where I managed to dig up three studies investigating the relationship between adults' recreational reading preferences and their personalities. The studies varied in how they carved up literary genres and other kinds of reading material, but they all measured personality along five dimensions known as the "Big Five," usually referred to as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

The first study, published in 1995, focused exclusively on new male Air Force recruits and revealed some interesting associations. For example, individuals who described themselves as more extroverted were more likely than introverts to enjoy reading about entertainment (audio equipment, music, film, etc.) and about fitness, health and sports.

The second study, published in 2004, focused on a predominantly female sample of Australian university students, and again found reliable connections between reading preferences and personality. For example, individuals who scored higher on extroversion were more likely than introverts to enjoy "people-focused" reading, such as romance novels or newspaper and magazine reports about celebrities. Those who scored high on conscientiousness, a dimension of personality related to self-discipline and planning, were more likely to prefer science-related reading, as well as newspaper or magazine coverage of current events.

The most recent and most comprehensive study, published in 2011, was based on a diverse sample of more than 3,000 university students, community members and online participants who indicated their entertainment preferences for music, television and film in addition to reading. Not surprisingly, the researchers found that preferences for recreational reading correlated with preferences in other media. For example, people who enjoyed reading about art and poetry were also more likely, on average, to enjoy classical music and opera, to watch foreign films and classics, and to prefer television that focused on the arts and humanities.

The researchers also found that extroverts were more likely to enjoy what they termed "dark entertainment," including horror and erotica, as well as "cerebral entertainment," including history, science and business books. Those who scored low on conscientiousness were also drawn toward dark entertainment, as were those who scored high on openness to experience, who also enjoyed cerebral entertainment and "aesthetic" entertainment, such as art and poetry. Finally, agreeableness was most strongly associated with what they termed "communal entertainment," which included books about romance and entertainment.

Overall, these findings aren't too shocking. Choices about what to read are highly personal, so it's no wonder they reflect our personalities. But it's worth keeping in mind that this research was correlational: We can't say for sure that personality caused people's preferences for some kinds of recreational reading over others. In fact, the causal arrow may sometimes go the other way. Reading might not just reflect who you are, but also influence who you become.

That's part of what makes reading so powerful, and an extra reason to think carefully about what you add to your reading list this summer.


You can keep up with more of what Tania Lombrozo is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo

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