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.

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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Government Shutdown Will Add To VA's Backlog

Oct 3, 2013
Originally published on October 3, 2013 12:53 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All right. The partial government shutdown could take an especially painful toll on American veterans. The most serious consequences will not come unless the shutdown continues for weeks. Those consequences would include cutting off disability and education benefits. Politicians on both sides have scrambled to show their support for vets, but as NPR's Quil Lawrence reports, veterans applying for new benefits may already be suffering.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: VA hospitals and clinics are still open and the 24-hour Veteran's Crisis Suicide Hotline is still staffed. VA benefits checks are still going out, but that's where things get a little foggy. The money allocated for disability payments or for students on the GI bill, that runs out in a few weeks. Vets don't know what will happen if the shutdown lasts that long, which is pretty unnerving, says Verna Jones at the American Legion.

VERNA JONES: Veterans are at a loss and they're affected. And they come to the American Legion for answers, and we've made calls and asked leadership and we're getting bits and pieces of answers because nobody knows.

LAWRENCE: A lot of public outreach programs are shut down already, so it's hard for vets to find out what's going on and Jones points out that some severely disabled vets and their caregivers live from VA check to VA check. That's how the shutdown affects people already getting veterans benefits. For veterans waiting to find out if they're eligible for benefits, the damage may have already begun.

TOM TARRANTINO: It's sort of a forehead-slapping here-we-go-again.

LAWRENCE: Tom Tarrantino works with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He says veterans had just started to believe that the infamous VA backlog was shrinking. In part because the VA had its staff working mandatory overtime, the backlog is down 30 percent since March. But when the government shut down, the overtime stopped and all appeals were suspended.

TARRANTINO: And while they've been seeing progress and they've been seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, a government shutdown just puts that light farther away and it's disheartening that the United States Congress can't do their job, and it is an affront to the service and sacrifice of millions of Americans who count on the government for services and care.

LAWRENCE: Some in Congress have proposed funding veterans benefits separately, but Tarrantino points out that the VA can't process a claim without getting information from the Social Security Administration or the Pentagon, where the offices they need to call may well have been shut down. Quil Lawrence, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.