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

57 minutes 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.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
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A Check On The Housing Industry

Sep 12, 2013
Originally published on September 12, 2013 6:51 am



There is, of course, a lot of attention being paid about what's happening in Richmond because millions of other American homeowners around the country are also underwater - again, homes that are worth less than their mortgages. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold, who's been following all of this. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: How many homeowners are still underwater? I gather with the housing market coming back, this is changing - for the better.

ARNOLD: Yes. Absolutely. There's a lot of changing and, you know, during the worst of the housing crash there were close to 20 million Americans who were underwater, but over the past year, with home prices rising, that certainly has been helping. We're down to about 10 million underwater borrowers as of March, 8.5 million as of June.

Now, that's still a lot of people. It's actually 15 percent of all homeowners with mortgages, so it's not a small number. But the trend is moving in the right direction. Now, according to one firm, Moody's Analytics, about two-thirds of that trend is due to rising home prices, but the other third of the trend is just due to the fact that, look, we've been foreclosing on a lot of people and if you lost your house, you're no longer considered an underwater homeowner.

MONTAGNE: Underwater. Okay. Well, let's talk about foreclosures. Are we getting through the worst of the housing crash in that area as well?

ARNOLD: It's a mixed bad. Some things are improving. You know, we talk about home prices rising, that's good. And the story we hear most often right now is about how the housing market's coming back and more people are getting construction jobs and all that's a very good thing and all that's true. But it's also true that upwards of 2.5 million Americans are still facing foreclosure, and many of those homeowners, they do not have to get foreclosed on.

They should qualify for a federal program to modify their loan and lower their payments so they can stay in their houses, and you know, that would help neighborhoods like Richmond, which we just heard about in Richard Gonzales's piece - that is, if the programs that have been put in place to help were working as well as they could be.

MONTAGNE: Well, talk to us about that. I mean how well are they working? We've heard lots of stories that they're not.

ARNOLD: Yeah, this has been really messy. We've done stories at NPR about people who absolutely should have qualified for that federal program to keep their house, but their bank forecloses on them anyway, and that kind of stuff is still happening. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this year said in too many cases the banks are still foreclosing improperly. There's also now a federal monitor that oversees the banks, and this came out of lawsuits from state prosecutors from - I think it was just about every single one of the 50 states sued the banks.

And now there's this federal monitor. And he came out in June and said, look, Bank of America, JP Morgan, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, all the biggest banks that deal with mortgages, they're all failing to comply with key provisions of the settlement that was aimed at preventing foreclosures and now the attorney general of New York says he's threatening to sue the banks all over again, so arguably this is still a very big mess.

MONTAGNE: Although, Chris, on balance, looking ahead, it sounds like things are improving generally.

ARNOLD: Yes. This is not to say that everything is completely terrible. You know, with home prices rising, that helps. With people getting more jobs, that's going to get them out of tough situations. And another thing we haven't talked about is that when banks do loan modifications now, those modifications are much higher quality. That means there are lower defaults.

And when a homeowner's actually able to get their loan modified by the bank, they can afford the new payment. They can stay in the house. They can become a responsible home owner again, and that's good for the whole financial system. Regulators say that we should just be seeing more of that.

MONTAGNE: Chris, thanks very much.

ARNOLD: Thanks, Renee.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR's Chris Arnold. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.