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

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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.

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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/.

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Elizabeth Smart: My Faith And 'My Story'

Oct 11, 2013
Originally published on October 11, 2013 4:56 pm

Elizabeth Smart was just 14 years old when she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City home in 2002. She was held captive for nine months and forced to act as Brian David Mitchell's second wife. He raped her nearly every day and told her that the ordeal was ordained by God.

Smart says there were moments when she felt there was no one to turn to — except God. She writes about how her Mormon faith played a key part in her survival in her new memoir, My Story.

"When I was kidnapped and he was telling me all of these things, I remember what my parents said: 'You'll know a person by their actions.' And so even though he was sitting there telling me that he was a prophet, that I should be thankful for what was happening to me, I was really a lucky girl — I realized that he wasn't a good person. He was hurting me. He made me feel terrible," Smart tells NPR's Michel Martin. "And growing up believing that I have a kind and loving heavenly father, I couldn't believe that God had called him to do what he was doing to me."

Even when she feared for her life, Smart says, she never lost faith. "You don't just take what's given to you and say, 'OK, this is what we're supposed to do.' But you pray about it, you think about it, and you find your own answer. That's what true faith is."

A central question for people of faith is why God allows bad things to happen. Smart says her experience gives her a unique perspective on the issue. "Although I never asked to be kidnapped or for something like that to happen to me, I can find that goodness can still come out of it, and that I can be grateful for the opportunities that it's opened up to me that otherwise wouldn't have been."

Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, have been sentenced to long prison terms without parole. Smart says she's not focused on what happens to them anymore, but that she forgives them.

"I have let go of the past. I have let go of what they have done to me. And I've let go of them," she says. "They no longer have a part in my life, and I have no desire to see them. I have just moved on."

Smart says that one lesson she wants people to take from her story is the importance of treating sexual assault victims with compassion. "After being raped, I felt completely worthless. I didn't even feel like I was human anymore," she says. "And it is just so important to let these survivors know that they are not any less of a person. You don't love them any less. And that to pretend like it never happened, or to pretend like rape doesn't exist or that it only happens in the wrong parts of town — you're doing that survivor a disservice."

The kidnapping is not the final chapter of Smart's story. She is now married and working as an advocate for children's issues. Smart says writing the book was a healing experience that helped her realize how far she has come.

"All of us have the potential inside us to reach so much further and grow so much more than any of us think we can," she says.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.