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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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


What Obama's Picks Say About His Foreign Policy

Jun 5, 2013
Originally published on June 9, 2013 8:31 am



For more on Susan Rice and Samantha Power and the political calculations behind the president's choices, we turn to our national political correspondent, Mara Liasson. And Mara, let's start with Samantha Power. People might be familiar with her name from the White House, but tell us more about her background.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Well, Samantha Power actually began her career as a journalist and as a passionate human rights advocate. She went to Bosnia when she was 22 years old as a freelance war correspondent. She later won a Pulitzer Prize for her book on genocide and she has been a member of President Barack Obama's inner circle on foreign policy since 2005 when she worked on his Senate staff.

She actually had to step down from the 2008 campaign where she was an advisor after she got in trouble for referring to Hillary Clinton as a monster. She served as a human rights advisor on the National Security Council. More recently, she's been the director of the president's atrocities prevention board and you can be sure that all of her past writings and outspokenness will be reviewed at her confirmation hearings.

CORNISH: Now, what about Susan Rice? Scott Horsley just reminded us of the controversy surrounding her. Is this selection more or less a finger in the eye of Republicans?

LIASSON: Well, Republican reaction has been mixed. Senators like Bob Corker, who's the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, along with Kelly Ayotte, and Lindsey Graham and John McCain - all of who opposed Rice and that opposition led to her withdrawing her name from consideration as a successor for Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of State - today, all of them said they would put their differences with her aside and work with her.

Rand Paul, on the other hand, said that he couldn't imagine promoting Susan Rice. He said she misled the public about the Benghazi attacks. But the most important point here is, as Scott just pointed out, as the national security advisor, she does not need confirmation by the Senate.

CORNISH: Meanwhile, of course, Samantha Power does need to be confirmed by the Senate. So how do you think she'll be received?

LIASSON: White House officials say they do not expect any big problems, in the end, getting Power confirmed. However, that doesn't mean that her hearings are going to go smoothly. Republicans may see her as a surrogate for Susan Rice and for Hillary Clinton, and question her aggressively about the Obama administration's foreign policy controversies, particularly Benghazi, although Power had no involvement in that issue.

But when she was a journalist, she was outspoken. She did make some provocative statements about American power and about Israel, some of which she has already disavowed, including a 2002 statement that the United States might have to intervene to broker a peace agreement in the Middle East. Conservatives have been highlighting these statements today, saying they prove that she is anti-American and anti-Israel and the White House has been pushing back pretty strongly.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney making a point in his briefing today, saying that Samantha Power was a strong friend of Israel. And in his remarks, President Obama said she's been, quote, "fighting the scourge of anti-Semitism."

CORNISH: Looking more broadly, what do these two picks tell us about President Obama's foreign policy and his second term?

LIASSON: Well, first of all, this is more of a swap than a shakeup and that tells us a lot. Once again, President Obama has reached into his small closely held circle of confidantes. This is his pattern. There are very few outsiders in the Obama inner circle and brought into the administration in the White House. Outsiders who do come in don't last very long.

I think the picks also tell us that human rights will continue to be a priority, both women are associated with this issue. And the other point is that both are women, which, as the president rounds out his second term team, adds to the diversity that he wants. Both of them are mothers with young children. Susan Rice has teenagers. Samantha Power has a baby and a toddler.

I think the other thing this tells us is that this is a White House-centric administration when it comes to foreign policy. I think Rice will continue in that tradition. White House officials tell me that they expect her to follow in the model of national security advisors in the past who act as a broker and a coordinator between the competing viewpoints from all the different foreign policy power centers in the administration, State Department, CIA and Defense.

The president makes the final decision, but she's the one who's supposed to kind of mediate the debate.

CORNISH: That's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thank you.

LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.