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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Ex-U.S. Army Sniper Instructor Nabbed In Thai 'Hit Squad' Sting

Sep 27, 2013
Originally published on September 27, 2013 6:53 pm

Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.

Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.

Accomplices Dennis Gogel and Michael Filter are from Germany, according to The Associated Press. Another alleged accomplice, Slawomir Soborski, is from Poland. All are former soldiers, according to the charges filed in New York.

Hunter, who was a sergeant first class when he left the Army, had served as an air-assault and airborne-infantry squad leader, a sniper instructor and a drill sergeant, the charges say. Vamvakias attained the rank of sergeant after having served in South Korea and Puerto Rico. Both left the Army in 2004.

Since then, the charging documents say, "Hunter has acted as a 'contract killer'; for pay, he has succeeded in arranging for the murder of a number of people."

The charges say the defendants "joined a conspiracy to import large volumes of cocaine into the United States. As part of this conspiracy, the defendants put their military skills to use."

In a statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the alleged plot "bone chilling" and said the "indictment read like they were ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel."

"The charges tell a tale of an international band of mercenary marksmen who enlisted their elite military training to serve as hired guns for evil ends," Bharara said.

Informants working for the DEA posed as Colombian cartel members purporting to hire Hunter and two others for $700,000 for two killings. Hunter was to get an additional $100,000 "for his leadership role," according to the indictment.

The AP says:

"In late 2012, according to the indictment, Hunter 'collected resumes via email for prospective members of the security team.'

"Hunter told the informants that 'he himself had previously done "bonus jobs" ' — code for contract killings, and that his team 'wanted to do as much "bonus work" as possible,' according to the indictment.

"Hunter and his accomplices were 'willing and eager to take cold hard cash to commit the cold-blooded murders of a DEA agent and an informant,' Bharara said. 'Thanks to the determined, skillful and intrepid efforts of the DEA's Special Operations Division, an international hit team has been neutralized by agents working on four continents.' "

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