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.

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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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Where's My Dinner? It Was Here A Second Ago — The Sandpiper's Dilemma

Jul 8, 2013

They scuttle, peck, scuttle, peck, then they dash up the shoreline, dodging waves, heads down, concentrating. What are they doing? They're "looking for something, something, something," writes the poet Elisabeth Bishop.

Sandpipers are the busiest folks on the beach because their food is hard to see and is coming and going in sloshfuls. It's delivered by waves landing on the beach. It's served on sand grains. As soon as these microscopic insects, copepods, ostracods, nematodes, protozoa, gastrotrichs and tardigrades slide in from the sea, after a very brief pause, hanging onto a bit of sand, they drain away into the mud, or back to the ocean. No wonder sandpipers always look frantic. "Poor bird, he is obsessed," Bishop writes in her wonderful poem "The Sandpiper." Imagine a dinner where each course gets whipped away before you can find it.

I just spent the last few days in the company of a hard-running gang of beach sandpipers, and reading Bishop's poem, she describes these birds as if she's one of them. Poets, like scientists, give living things intimate attention (and if you don't like poetry, I'm adding a video version that lets you see, line by line, what Bishop was talking about, shot through some imaginary binoculars, showing these crazy little shorebirds dashing beside the "roaring" ocean.

The Sandpiper

The roaring alongside he takes for granted,
and that every so often the world is bound to shake.
He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,
in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.

The beach hisses like fat. On his left, a sheet
of interrupting water comes and goes
and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.
He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.

- Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them
where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains
rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,
he stares at the dragging grains.

The world is a mist. And then the world is
minute and vast and clear. The tide
is higher or lower. He couldn't tell you which.
His beak is focused; he is preoccupied,

looking for something, something, something.
Poor bird, he is obsessed!
The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray
mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst.

The video version:


The video comes from filmmaker and Ithaca College professor John Scott; it's a draft, to be used in a full length documentary about Elizabeth Bishop. The original poem was written in 1956, and comes from Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems, 1927-1979. The reference to "Blake" refers to the poet William Blake who wrote the classic lines — applicable, I suppose, to a hungry little bird looking for sustenance from beach sand — about seeing "a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower."

"The Sandpiper" from THE COMPLETE POEMS 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.



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