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/.

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Fitch Places U.S. Under Review For A Credit Downgrade

Oct 15, 2013
Originally published on October 16, 2013 5:58 am

Fitch Ratings, one of the big three credit ratings agencies, issued a warning shot today, saying that while it affirmed the United States' AAA credit rating, it was placing it on "rating watch negative."

In other words, it was placing the country's long-term credit rating under review for a potential downgrade.

The main reason? The debacle in Washington. Remember, the last time a debt ceiling debate got this hot and heavy, S&P downgraded the U.S.'s long-term credit rating to AA-plus.

"The prolonged negotiations over raising the debt ceiling (following the episode in August 2011) risks undermining confidence in the role of the U.S. dollar as the preeminent global reserve currency, by casting doubt over the full faith and credit of the U.S.," Fitch said in a statement. "This 'faith' is a key reason why the U.S. 'AAA' rating can tolerate a substantially higher level of public debt than other 'AAA' sovereigns."

Reuters reports the U.S. Treasury said the threat from Fitch is a reminder of just how close the country is from defaulting for the first time in history.

"The announcement reflects the urgency with which Congress should act to remove the threat of default hanging over the economy," a Treasury spokesperson told Reuters.

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a U.S. credit rating threat.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Fitch Ratings did not downgrade the United States, but took a step toward downgrading America's triple-A credit status, putting U.S. Treasury bonds on ratings watch negative - that's the term.

The Chicago-based company says this move was made over the threat of a government default. Here's the words from the statement: Although Fitch continues to believe the debt ceiling will be raised soon, the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default.

The government is expected to begin to run out of cash to pay its bills as early as tomorrow - possibly a few days later if a deal is not reached in Congress.

Now Moody's says it does not have plans to downgrade its triple-A rating on U.S. debt, while Standard and Poor's made the downgrade in 2011 the last time Washington flirted with not raising the debt ceiling. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.