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

1 hour 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

What If There's No Internet?

May 25, 2013
Originally published on May 25, 2013 3:38 pm

I email. I search. I shop. I Facebook. I stream. I Skype. Every year I seem to do these things a little bit more. Stroke by stroke, as I slip deeper into the Internet's embrace, I find myself wondering:

"What would happen if the Internet went away?"

Can it? It was famously built to be indestructible, with no center, no hub, no "off" or "on" switch. It is, after all, a creature of the U.S. Defense Department, designed, supposedly, to survive a global war.

I know, of course, that it's voluntary. People can shut down their websites, information can disappear; some domains can peel away; its ocean cables are vulnerable to attack, but as to knocking out the whole thing, is that possible?

In his book An Optimist's Tour of the Future, writer Mark Stevenson asked Vint Cerf, one of the original team of computer scientists who put the thing together, if there was any way to pull the plug, in spite of the fact that it doesn't have a plug. Here's Vint's answer:

If every internet service provider in the world decided one day just to shut down the routers, that would pretty much screw the Internet ... So the answer is, it's technically possible, but would require cooperative action that's extremely unlikely."

There are tens of thousands of service providers around the planet. It's hard to imagine them all doing anything in unison. But what if they were targeted? What if a talented cyber-attack team went in with the intent to take knock the whole system down? Could they?

"Well," says Vint, "there are hostile actions going on every day all the time and they're capable of rendering parts of the Net inoperable but I don't think the machine would stop in and of itself ... We launched the Internet in January 1983, and as far as I'm aware the entire system has never been shut down since."

But what if he's wrong? Scientist David Eagleman has imagined four ways the Internet might be severely compromised. The first threat on his list is a powerful solar flare, knocking out multiple satellites simultaneously. That's the scenario you'll see here, in this short French video, directed by Francois Ferracci.

It's Oct. 10, 2020. A couple is on a date. They've only recently met, he's crazy about her, and he's snapping (or digitally producing) thousands of pictures — of her, of them, of Paris; he's the kind of lover who wants to record everything all the time. She's a little put off by his techie ardor, but he's obsessed — until, all of a sudden, his gadget freezes. He can't take pictures any more. The images he got start — they start to fade.

He's more than alarmed; he's paralyzed. She, however, she is going to teach him a lesson. With one simple gesture, she shows him something more permanent than the Internet. Something small and portable.

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