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 http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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 http://www.npr.org/.

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WVAS Local News

Jun 18, 2013

State education officials today released a list of 78 public schools that are failing under the Alabama Accountability Act.  The new law will allow parents with students in those schools to receive tax credits if they want to transfer their children to private academies or public schools that aren't considered failing.  State Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice has previously voiced misgivings about the formula being used to identify 'failing schools,' but says the new law could prove to be a springboard for improvement.  The list includes many schools from the state's Black Belt region and city or county systems around Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.  Dr. Bice says it will likely be early August before it is known how many students will be taking advantage of the new law. 

Pay Raise

Alabama state employees are going to get their first pay raises in five years.  Governor Robert Bentley says he plans to reinstate merit raises starting January 1st.  State workers got their last merit raises and cost-of-living raises in 2008.  The governor signed a letter saying state employees have been asked to do more with less for several years and it's time to resume merit raises. 

MPD Investigations

The office of Montgomery City Investigations has launched an internal probe into allegations made by a woman arrested for prostitution.  The inquiry centers around statements made by a 22-year-old woman after she was arrested May 31st at a Montgomery hotel.  The City Public Safety Department declined to discuss the allegations or the investigation.