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

1 hour 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.

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When Is the Right Time To Give?

May 17, 2013
Originally published on December 16, 2013 5:26 pm

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Giving It Away.

About Mark Bezos' TEDTalk

Volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos tells a story of an act of heroism that didn't go quite as expected — but that taught him a big lesson: Don't wait to be a hero. Give now.

About Mark Bezos

Mark Bezos works at Robin Hood, a poverty-fighting charity in New York City. Bezos is also the Assistant Captain of a volunteer fire company in Westchester County, New York, where he lives with his wife and four children.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit



It's the TED Radio Hour from NPR. I'm Guy Raz and our first story today comes from a man named Mark Bezos. We caught up with him ...

MARK BEZOS: ... in Scarsdale, New York.

RAZ: Scarsdale. Isn't that where all the characters from Mad Men lived and then they would commute down to Manhattan?

BEZOS: That is correct. That is what many of us do here in Scarsdale, yes.

RAZ: You smoke cigarettes and sleep around?

BEZOS: (Laughing) I do not, but I am a fan of scotch.

RAZ: Oh I see, okay, got it.


RAZ: Which is where the comparisons with Don Draper end because Mark ...

BEZOS: ... I'm standing at the firehouse.

RAZ: He's a firefighter.

BEZOS: Watching Engine 56 go by, as a matter of fact.

RAZ: Actually a volunteer firefighter and we called him up to hear a story he told on the TED stage about his very first fire. So tell me the story.

BEZOS: It was in the middle of the night. It was probably 3:30 in the morning and ...


BEZOS: ... the pager went off and I leapt out of bed and just started spinning around in circles because I wasn't quite sure what the noise was. My wife let me know that it was, in fact, the fire pager going off.


RAZ: Okay so the way it works in Scarsdale, which is the way it works in a lot of smaller towns, is that professional firefighters are always on duty and they respond first. So if you're a volunteer, like Mark, you get a call or a text or a page at home. So Mark rushes to the fire scene.

BEZOS: So we arrive on the scene. You put on the gear.

RAZ: And there're flames jumping out of the second story of the house.

BEZOS: It happened to be terrible weather. Rain was coming down horizontally. It was just a really bad night.

RAZ: And Mark sees the homeowner, she was standing with the fire captain, barefoot in the rain, watching her house burn.

BEZOS: And she was pretty excited when she was talking to the captain, and come to find out that her dog was in the house. And she was very concerned about the dog.

RAZ: So Mark rushes to the captain for his orders, but there was one other volunteer on the scene who had arrived just a few minutes before Mark.

BEZOS: The captain called him over and asked him to go inside and get the homeowner's dog.

RAZ: And you were right behind him and what did you think?

BEZOS: To be honest, I was jealous. You know, you do an awful lot of training and you have these visions of, you know, the opportunity to go in and do something heroic. Save an animal, save a dog, save somebody who's in a burning building and so I thought this was my moment. I'm going to end up coming back home and my kids are going to look at me like I'm 10 feet tall and bulletproof.

RAZ: Now maybe you can see where this is all going. This is not what happened.


RAZ: What happened instead was the captain called Mark over.

BEZOS: And he asked me to go into the house to get the homeowner a pair of shoes, which was not exactly what I was hoping for.

RAZ: So Mark goes inside the house, he grabs the pair of shoes - they weren't in a particularly dangerous part of the house - and he brings them back outside to the homeowner.

BEZOS: I just handed them to her. I said, you might be more comfortable if you put these on or something like that. But, you know, she was very focused on the dog at that moment, so I don't know that our eyes ever met over the handoff of the shoes.

RAZ: And then Mark headed home feeling kind of disappointed.

BEZOS: I went from hero to zero at that point, at least... (Laughing)

RAZ: But a few weeks later the fire department received a letter in the mail.

BEZOS: The letter was, you know, it was very effusive, thanking everybody for, you know, all of the effort in saving her house and her property and obviously the dog. And then she noted that someone had even taken the time to go into the building and get her a pair of shoes, which had touched her greatly.

RAZ: What did you think when you read that?

BEZOS: It's one of those things that it's so easy to dismiss the opportunity to do something good because you're hoping to do something great. There are opportunities, dozens of times a day, to make a difference in somebody's life as small as, you know, returning a smile or offering the first smile. I mean, there's just so many opportunities. That's, I think, the big lesson for me.

RAZ: Here's how Mark ended his TED Talk.


BEZOS: So as I look around this room at people who either have achieved or are on their way to achieving remarkable levels of success I would offer this reminder, don't wait. Don't wait until you make your first million to make a difference in somebody's life. If you have something to give, give it now. Serve food to a soup kitchen. Clean up a neighborhood park, be a mentor. Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody's life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one. So get in the game. Save the shoes. Thank you.


RAZ: Mark Bezos, he works for Robin Hood. It's an anti-poverty group in New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.