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

2 hours 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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Why You're Clapping: The Science Of Applause

Jul 6, 2013



We've all been to concerts and performances that bring us to our feet in wild applause.


WERTHEIMER: But what makes us clap more for some performances than others? You'd think it's obvious: the better the show, the more applause. Think again. New research at Uppsala University in Sweden has revealed that applause spreads through a crowd more like a contagion than a reaction to a performer. Researchers watched audience members respond to academic talks - talks even as dull as this one.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Put your hand down somewhere on this board, calculate from that the probability that you'll put the pen down in some set of points on this board. This gets you into horrible mathematical complications and paradox.

WERTHEIMER: And they found there's little relation between the quality of a performance and the amount of applause that follows it. It's more a question of what everyone around you is doing. Richard Mann is the lead researcher at Uppsala University.

RICHARD MANN: Our principal finding was that clapping is indeed socially driven so people feel the social pressure to begin clapping if others in the crowd are already clapping. And likewise to stop clapping if others have stopped.

WERTHEIMER: In short, the more people you hear clapping the more likely you are to clap.

MANN: One of the surprising findings we had was that the clapping doesn't spread spatially. So, people aren't mimicking what their direct neighbors are doing in the crowd. Instead, it seems to be the volume of the clapping in the room that spreads the applause. So, as soon as people can hear that other people in the audience are clapping, they begin to clap themselves. So, often you are feeling social pressure from audience members you couldn't directly see.

WERTHEIMER: But what about that first person who puts their hands together? The study found someone that initiates applause in one talk was likely to start it again in the next.

MANN: There are some individuals who are more naturally bold or eager than others, so they tend to be the ones who clap first and often that feeds the future clapping of everyone else.

WERTHEIMER: But most of us just follow what we hear.


SHIRLEY ELLIS: (Singing) Three-six-nine, the goose drank wine, the monkey chew tobacco on the streetcar line. The line broke, the monkey got choked and they all went to heaven in a little rowboat. Clap-clap, clap-clap, clap-clap, clap-clap. Clap-clap, clap your hands, pat it on your partner's hand, the right hand. Clap-clap, clap your hand, cross it with your left arm, pat your partner's left palm. Clap-clap, clap your hand, pat your partner's right palm with your right palm again. Clap-clap, clap your hands, slap your thigh...

WERTHEIMER: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.