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 27, 2013

It's been a full week of U.S. Supreme Court rulings.  The High court essentially nullified the Defense of Marriage Act paving the way for legally married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.  Alabama is one of 35 states that have laws banning same-sex marriage, but the state's first openly gay public official, Democratic State Representative Patricia Todd says, in light of the ruling, she and her partner will file lawsuits challenging the law. 

Photo ID Law

Alabama officials say voters apparently will have to present identification at the polls in the next election.  Officials including Gov. Robert Bentley, Attorney General Luther Strange and Secretary of State Beth Chapman said the Supreme Court's ruling Tuesday throwing out part of the federal Voting Rights Act means the state does not have to submit for preclearance a new law requiring voters to have photo identification.  But Democratic state Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery said he feels the voter identification law needed to be reviewed by the Justice Department.  He fears it will be used to intimidate blacks and keep some elderly people from being able to vote. 

Criminal Cases Backlog

State officials say funding cuts and the closure of several drug investigation labs has led to a backlog delaying more than 30,000 criminal cases from going to court.  Montgomery Regional Laboratory Director Katherine Richert says that nearly 30,400 are unresolved because of understaffing and a spike in cases after the closure of several regional laboratories.  Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Director, Michael Sparks, says forensic labs in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Dothan and Auburn are also struggling to keep up with processing drug cases after the closure of three regional laboratories.  Sparks says the state will likely catch up when newly-hired chemists finish an 18-24 month training program and are cleared to examine evidence.