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.

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Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

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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.

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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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Banks Ease Purse Strings On Luxury Home Loans

Oct 16, 2013
Originally published on October 16, 2013 5:58 am



And for the first time in decades, interest rates for loans on jumbo homes are lower than rates for a typical mortgage. And because of that, the luxury market is the fastest growing home loans sector.

From member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Peter O'Dowd reports.

PETER O'DOWD, BYLINE: Sales of homes costing over half million dollars in the Phoenix market are up 64 percent compared to last year around this time. Mike Metz says demand is up because it's easier to get a so-called jumbo loan. He works for the mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate.

MIKE METZ: For the first time in my 25-year career, I've seen jumbo rates dip below the conforming 30-year fixed rate.

O'DOWD: Now that's odd, because historically conforming loans - ones below $417,000 - had been a much better deal. These days, fees tacked on by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have made those smaller loans less attractive.

Mike Fratantoni of the Mortgage Bankers Association says another reason big loans are getting more competitive is that banks have a lot of cash. They want to lend it to people with good credit.

MIKE FRATANTONI: These tend to be borrowers with higher income, more stable employment. A lot of aspects make those loans very attractive so there's been a bidding war to get those jumbo loans.

O'DOWD: Fratantoni says nationally jumbo loans make up a sliver of the market but represent the industry's fastest-growing sector. In turn, private investors are starting to buy these loans from the banks.

FRATANTONI: It just adds to the banks' desire to do more of these loans.

O'DOWD: Of course, doing more with these loans - securitizing them - is what brought the country to its knees during the housing crisis.

For NPR News, I'm Peter O'Dowd in Phoenix. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.