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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Who Knew? Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke Is A Funny Guy

Jun 3, 2013
Originally published on June 3, 2013 10:15 am

Hearing that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered Princeton graduates "10 suggestions" at their commencement ceremony Sunday, we had visions of those in caps and gowns nodding off during a treatise on the fine points of investing in municipal bonds.

Well, count us as surprised to read what he had to say. Bernanke's not quite ready to do stand-up. But he did display a sense of humor and didn't engage in the hard-to-understand "Fed speak" made famous by his predecessors. Here are some excerpts:

-- "In regard to politics, I have always liked Lily Tomlin's line, in paraphrase: 'I try to be cynical, but I just can't keep up.' We all feel that way sometime. Actually, having been in Washington now for almost 11 years, as I mentioned, I feel that way quite a bit."

-- "Economics is a highly sophisticated field of thought that is superb at explaining to policymakers precisely why the choices they made in the past were wrong. About the future, not so much."

-- "Call your mom and dad once in a while. A time will come when you will want your own grown-up, busy, hyper-successful children to call you. Also, remember who paid your tuition to Princeton."

Bernanke was a professor at Princeton before becoming Fed chief in 2006. His second term as chairman expires Jan. 31, 2014. It's thought Bernanke does not want to stay on and that President Obama will be looking for a new chairman.

During his Princeton address, the Fed chief of course also had some more serious things to say, including:

-- "The only way for even a putative meritocracy to hope to pass ethical muster, to be considered fair, is if those who are the luckiest in all of those respects also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others. As the Gospel of Luke says (and I am sure my rabbi will forgive me for quoting the New Testament in a good cause): 'From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded' (Luke 12:48, New Revised Standard Version Bible). Kind of grading on the curve, you might say."

-- "Who is worthy of admiration? The admonition from Luke--which is shared by most ethical and philosophical traditions, by the way--helps with this question as well. Those most worthy of admiration are those who have made the best use of their advantages or, alternatively, coped most courageously with their adversities. I think most of us would agree that people who have, say, little formal schooling but labor honestly and diligently to help feed, clothe, and educate their families are deserving of greater respect--and help, if necessary--than many people who are superficially more successful. They're more fun to have a beer with, too. That's all that I know about sociology."

Having interviewed past Fed chairmen and covered many of their appearances at Congressional hearings, this blogger can confirm that Bernanke's address was not your usual kind of public comment from a chief of the central bank.

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