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


White House Plans Major New Push On Climate Change

Jun 20, 2013
Originally published on June 20, 2013 6:42 pm



The White House is planning a major new push on climate change. The initiative may include rules to limit emissions from existing power plants. That's a controversial move that environmentalists wanted for a long time. For more, NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from the White House. And Ari, up until now, where has climate change been on the president's list of priorities, would you say?

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: You know, he's had a mixed record. The stimulus bill at the start of his first term put a lot of money into green energy research. The administration persuaded car manufacturers later in the term to agree to strict new fuel efficiency standards. But on the other hand, the White House did not persuade Congress to pass a cap and trade bill limiting carbon emissions.

Some say that's because they didn't make it a high enough priority. And to the frustration of the environmental community, climate was really not something the president talked much about during his first term or during his reelection campaign.

BLOCK: But he did redress climate change at some length in his second inaugural address.

SHAPIRO: Right. And he's been talking more about global warming lately in general. In his second inaugural, everyone was surprised he spend eight lines on climate change, more than on any other single topic. And since that speech, he's brought up global warming in moments when arguably he didn't have to. Just yesterday, he was at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, sweating in 90-degree heat and he said this about global warming.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is the global threat of our time and for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late. That is our job. That is our task. We have to get to work.

SHAPIRO: Of course, Melissa, the catch is that with the Congress that is not generally sympathetic to these ideas, President Obama can really only consider initiatives that he can take on on his own without any help from lawmakers.

BLOCK: Right. And we mentioned a major new push on this issue. What does the administration have in the works?

SHAPIRO: Well, according to the president's advisor on energy and climate change who spoke at a forum here in Washington yesterday, the president, as you said, is planning a major speech with a series of new initiatives and the most interesting new policy could be regulations limiting emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. This has been huge issue. As you said, these plants are America's single biggest global warming polluter.

And the White House has been working for a while on regulations for new power plants, but nobody's really building new coal-fired power plants anymore 'cause natural gas is so cheap. So a rule on existing plants would have a much bigger impact than a rule on new ones, but this is extremely controversial. Republicans and energy industry leaders argue that these regulations would kill jobs and slow economic growth.

And just a couple months ago, a Republican senator asked President Obama's EPA nominee whether the agency was developing existing power plant regulations and she said no. So if this happens, it would be a big change and also a very contentious one.

BLOCK: You know, Ari, we haven't mentioned one other issue that drums up a lot of passion on both sides and that's the Keystone XL Pipeline that the administration has to make a decision about, that would bring tar sands oil down from Canada.

SHAPIRO: Yeah, and that's one reason that environmental groups are still not totally thrilled with the president, even though they see this as a good development. The White House argues that both the environmental costs and the potential job benefits of the Keystone Pipeline are overstated. They have not come down on one side or the other of this project.

Just today, a group of former Obama campaign staffers wrote an open letter to the president urging him to reject the pipeline.

BLOCK: What do you make of the timing, Ari? If indeed the White House is going to be announcing new rules on power plants emissions, what's going on with the timing here?

SHAPIRO: Well, some of this just has to do with the second term when the handcuffs come off. President Obama does not have to run for reelection again and he's looking ahead to his legacy. He wants to be able to say that he did something significant to address this problem. And his first term, you know, included so many simultaneous crises - from the economic recession to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At this point, he has both the bandwidth and the political freedom to do some of these things that either he wasn't able to do or maybe he just chose not to do before now.

BLOCK: Okay. NPR's Ari Shapiro at the White House. Ari, thanks so much.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.