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

2 hours ago
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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.

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

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What Makes Rituals Special? Join Us For A Google+ Conversation

Jun 20, 2013
Originally published on June 20, 2013 12:30 pm

Click play on the video player above to watch my Google+ conversation with Harvard behavioral scientist Francesca Gino and Slate's Human Nature correspondent William Saletan about the role of ritual in human life.

All over the world, people employ rituals. For millions, it's as simple as making a cup of coffee the same way, every day. Books and movies are filled with characters who employ lucky charms and superstitions. And some works explore the darker side, when ritual spills into obsession and psychiatric disorder.

Surprisingly, though, there has been little effort to examine rituals quantitatively. A study slated for publication in the journal Psychological Science attempts to rectify that: Harvard Business School researcher Francesca Gino and colleagues focused on the way rituals influenced adults' experience of eating.

People who employed rituals before eating savored their food more and found it tastier, the researchers discovered. That was true for chocolate and even carrots. Steve Inskeep and I explore why that might be true on Thursday's Morning Edition.

Along with the science, during Thursday's online conversation, we'll talk about some of the rituals that NPR listeners have been sharing with us via Facebook. Here's a small sampling:

I walk the same path to class between two buildings because it has pretty trees that bloom and brighten my day. When it rains there are 3 puddles where the concrete has broken. When I pass those puddles I touch the surface of each one with the tip of my shoe to make it ripple. It is the prettiest part of campus. -- Rhea Bumpass

Every evening when I prepare for bed, I use the exact same face cream that my mother did. I used to think this had something to do with going to bed with a clean, moist face. Now that she is gone, I know that I have done this for 30 years, rubbing my cheeks, closing my eyes and staring into the mirror. The smell, the lighting, my own eyes; and there, I have been with her for five minutes. The same thing — every night. -- Margaret Rhodes Stinnett

Every morning I give our golden retriever, Jake, a drink from his favorite fountain: the bath tub faucet. Then I open the front door and say "Paper!" and he retrieves the newspaper, and we go in the kitchen for coffee and dog treats. It's an idyllic existence, so soothing and joyful, and such a wonderful partnership. It's pretty much a perfect way to start the day. -- Claudia Finseth

Everyday, I light a tealight and let it burn 'til it goes out on its own. It is very comforting. -- Richard Savedra

What sort of rituals do you employ throughout the day? We're eager to hear, and you can share them in the comments section below.

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