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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When You Waste Food, You're Wasting Tons Of Water, Too

Jun 6, 2013
Originally published on June 7, 2013 12:29 pm

Tossing out food is clearly a waste of money — and maybe even immoral, according to Pope Francis, who on Wednesday likened food waste to "stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry." And as we've reported, you also may be creating extra greenhouse gas emissions by sending food to a landfill.

Now comes yet another reason not to waste food: It also wastes a heck of a lot of water, a new report says.

According to the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank, inside the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year worldwide is 45 trillion gallons of water. This represents a staggering 24 percent of all water used for agriculture.

And agriculture is already the world's biggest user of freshwater: The sector accounts for 70 percent of all use around the world, according to the World Water Assessment Program. Those freshwater resources are diminishing fast, just as demand for them rises from millions of hungry and thirsty people joining the global population.

However, when it comes to water, not all food products are created equal. As WRI notes in its new working paper on food waste, a pound of wheat flour on average contains 12 percent water and 1,639 calories, whereas a pound of apples, on average, contains 81 percent water and 766 calories. Fruits and vegetables are the largest source of loss and waste on a weight basis — in part, because they contain more water than other foods.

Meat, of course, requires more water in its production than any other food, because animals devour so much feed that in turn has to be grown with water. Meat production requires between 8 and 10 times more water than grain production, according to the WWAP. Fortunately, we're better about eating the meat we produce. It represents only 4 percent of the total food wasted by weight, and 7 percent of the calories wasted, according to WRI.

If you'd like to know how your favorite foods stack up in terms of how much water they require, this chart from the Water Footprint Network is pretty handy.

As for all the water in wasted food, we wondered where it goes.

"It depends on where people dispose of the lost or wasted food," says Craig Hansen, director of WRI's People & Ecosystems program and a co-author of the report, in an email to The Salt.

"For instance," he says, "the moisture in food lost immediately post-harvest or during open storage will likely evaporate."

In other words, that water ends up back in the atmosphere. But that doesn't mean it'll return to the place from whence it came. Now that food is crisscrossing the globe, the water-stressed regions that produce fruits and vegetables aren't necessarily going to get their water back.

As for food that goes to a dump, the water could be locked in — so it's not available — if the dump is closed, Hansen says, or it could evaporate over time if the dump is open.

As Brian Lipinski, the lead author of the World Resources Institute report, notes, in arid North Africa and West and Central Asia, more than half of the fruits and vegetables in the food supply end up being lost or wasted. It works out to about 63 pounds of produce per capita in these regions, he writes.

In the developing world, farmers struggle with food loss long before it gets to the consumer. But greater access to simple equipment, like silos for airtight food storage and crates for delicate fruits and vegetables, would help a lot, WRI says.

In rich countries, by contrast, most food waste happens further along the food distribution chain — in homes and restaurants, for example. We need to do a better job of redistributing food we can't eat, and serving and ordering smaller portions, according to the report.

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