Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

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

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

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Atheists Start PAC To Elect Nonreligious Candidates

Sep 18, 2013

Americans who count themselves among the "nones" — as in atheists, agnostics or those of no definite religious affiliation — have launched a new political action committee.

The goal? To support the election of like-minded lawmakers or, at a minimum, candidates committed to upholding the constitutional separation between church and state.

"The Freethought Equality Fund will work to elect the nones ... in addition to those who will work for our rights so we can finally have the representation in Congress we deserve," said Maggie Ardiente of the American Humanist Association, at a Washington news conference Wednesday where the new PAC was rolled out.

Besides giving the growing percentage of Americans who identify as "nones" an opportunity to elect more candidates who share their values, the new political action committee's creators hope it will help stiffen the backbones of lawmakers who they believe are too afraid to openly state their skepticism and doubts about the existence of a divine author of the universe.

"We already know of more than two dozen closeted atheists serving in Congress today," Ardiente said. "The fact that they're in the closet about their nonbelief says a lot about why this PAC is greatly needed. The time to come out is now and the Freethought Equality Fund will help make it happen."

Humanists believe cultural trends are ever more favoring them. The percentage of Americans identifying as nonreligious has grown to about 20 percent of the population.

Of course, the flip side is that the vast majority of Americans still subscribe to religion. Despite setbacks, like the ban on prayer in public school classrooms or the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision in which a federal court determined that intelligent design could not be taught as science to public school students, those who like their government with a lot of religion have had many victories. Among them: getting "In God We Trust" added to U.S. currency and the wall of the House chamber, and "under God" attached to the Pledge of Allegiance.

The uphill slog to elect a more secular Congress has to start somewhere, so the new PAC's creators have chosen to begin by supporting five congressional candidates. The group includes two sitting House members: Reps. Bobby Scott of Virginia and Rush Holt of New Jersey, both Democrats.

While their first endorsement list has a decidedly Democratic Party tilt, the PAC's organizers hope to support Republicans, too.

"We're actively looking for all candidates regardless of their affiliation who will protect the separation of church and state and defend civil liberties," said the ironically named Bishop McNeil, the Freethought Equality Fund PAC's coordinator. "[But] based on our 2013 scorecard that we just completed, there are currently no Republicans in the House that would fit that."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.