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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government*

Oct 18, 2013
Originally published on October 18, 2013 1:29 pm

Earlier this week, I bought a Treasury bill.

Everybody calls Treasury bills T-bills, and they work like this: The government promises to pay holders of T-bills a specific amount on a specific day in the near future. For the T-bill I bought, the government promised to pay $1,000 on Oct. 31.

I bought the T-bill on Tuesday, before Congress had made the debt-ceiling deal, so it was unclear whether I would get paid back on time.

If people are worried about a bond, the price tends to fall. But, despite all the news about about possible default, my T-bill — which promises to pay a total of $1,000 — was selling for $999.78 on Tuesday. I stood to make exactly 22 cents on my big investment.

The immediate default danger has now passed, of course. But one of the fears was that the mere fact that the U.S. was flirting with default would drive up the interest rates the government had to pay to borrow money.

Default fears did drive up interest rates a little — and those higher rates probably cost the government somewhere around $50 million, and possibly as much as $100 million, according to Francis Longstaff, a finance professor at UCLA. In the context of the U.S. debt, that's a small number, he says.

Since Congress passed the debt-ceiling deal, investors' small fear of default seems to have gone away. That boring T-bill I bought has become even more boring. At the end of the day Thursday, it was selling for $999.99. If you bought it at that price, your profit in two weeks would be one penny.

*Technically, I didn't lend money directly to the government. I bought the T-bill from someone else. The person who bought the T-bill when it was first issued was the one who actually loaned the money to the government.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm David Greene. Earlier this week, David Kestenbaum with our Planet Money team did something that seemed a little risky. He called up a broker and made an investment.


PETER: Hey David. How are ya?

DAVID KESTENBAUM, BYLINE: Hey. How are ya? Good.

PETER: Very well, thanks. Been waiting for your call. You were looking to buy a treasury bond I understand?

GREENE: That's David talking with an employee at the online brokerage firm Etrade. Now, the reason buying a treasury bond might have seemed dicey is that at the time it looked like the government might default on its debt, which meant people who owned Treasury bonds might not get paid back. David now has the story of what happened to that bond and what it tells us about our brush with default.

KESTENBAUM: The thing I bought is technically called a T-bill. It's a short term loan to the U.S. government. The way T-bills work is that if you have one, the government is supposed to pay you a specific amount of money on a specific day. If you own this Tbill the government is promising to give you $1000 in a couple weeks, on October 31st. I told the guy at Etrade - his name is Peter - that's the one I want.

PETER: We're going to preview the order. We are going to buy one $1000 face value of...

KESTENBAUM: If people are worried about a bond. You see it reflected in the price. If, for instance, people are really worried they might not get that $1000 on the 31st of October they won't pay as much for the bond. And the price will drop. So with all the fear about U.S. default - what was this $1000 bond selling for — $800, $900? Nope. I had to pay I had to pay $999.78.

Meaning I stood to make exactly 22 cents on my big investment. This had to be the most boring thing Peter had helped anyone buy all day.

PETER: Does that all sound good to you, the one you wanted?

KESTENBAUM: I'm not going to make a lot of money on this.

PETER: Definitely not.

KESTENBAUM: What this means is yes, some investors were worried that the U.S. might not be able to pay this thing on time, but not that many.

PETER: All right. I'm putting the order through for you right now. You'll see it in your account shortly.

KESTENBAUM: The immediate danger of default has now passed, of course. But one of the fears was that the mere fact that the U.S. was flirting with default might cost the U.S. and taxpayers money. Francis Longstaff is a finance professor at UCLA. I asked him to calculate how much the standoff in Congress had cost the U.S. and taxpayers through higher interest rates on our debt.

He looked at all the treasury bills the government issued since the beginning of October. And the answer? The additional damage from our flirting with default?

FRANCIS LONGSTAFF: A very wide upper bound on the potential impact is going to be on range of $75 to $100 million.

KESTENBAUM: In the scheme of things, he says, that is a very small number. The U.S. debt is trillions of dollars. Since the debt ceiling deal that small fear investors apparently had about certain treasury bonds seems to have gone away. That boring bond that I bought has become even more boring. At the end of the day yesterday it was selling for $999.99 Meaning your profit in two weeks' time would be one penny. David Kestenbaum, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.