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

48 minutes 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

4 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Japanese Whiskey Teases U.S. Consumers By Playing Hard To Get

Sep 5, 2013
Originally published on September 5, 2013 7:31 pm

Scotland is the de facto king of whisky. But now an unlikely challenger — Japan — is making a name for its whiskey far beyond its borders. Unfortunately for Americans, this highly coveted Japanese whiskey is very hard to come by.

"I stock everything that's currently available," says Eddie Kim, beverage director at the Japanese izakaya Daikaya in Washington, D.C. "I'd take more [Japanese whiskey] if it was out there." Currently, he has on hand two Nikka and four Suntory whiskies — two big Japanese producers and the only ones that export to the U.S.

Japanese distillers have tried to emulate Scotch whisky production, so the flavors are similar. But you'll find that the whiskies from Japan are smoother and a tad sweeter than what you'll get from Scotland.

So why won't Japanese producers just send us more of their delightful spirit? For one, they aren't all that confident that Americans will drink their whiskey the "right" way. "Japanese whiskey distillers are very protective of their product," says Kim. "It's a made for Japanese palates, so it needs context."

In Japan, that means it has to be served with particular foods. "It could be bar nuts, something raw, or pickles," says Suntory brand ambassador Neyah White. "It doesn't have to be a full meal."

How the spirit is diluted is equally important. "There is reverence for water," says White. "It is not a casually added element. It's special ice or water, sometimes temple water that's never been in pipes."

Protecting this refined experience for Japanese consumers is a paramount concern for Suntory. "Every bottle that's sold here is a bottle that isn't sold in Japan," says White. "They need to take care of their customers who have been drinking Suntory for generations and make sure they have an uninterrupted supply."

Most Japanese whiskies aren't intended for export, "unlike the Scotch industry, which was selling to England, the rest of the British Empire, and Europe almost since it began," says Chris Bunting, author of Drinking Japan: A Guide to Japan's Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments. "Exports are a tiny, tiny part of what [the Japanese producers] do."

While they did attempt to break into the U.S. market back in the 1960s, it didn't go well. Then, in 2003, Suntory's 30-year-old Hibiki whiskey took home the top award at the International Spirits Challenge — the first time a whiskey produced outside Scotland won. This unexpected triumph was Japanese whiskey's big coming-out party on the global spirits stage.

After the ISC win, Suntory tried to reconnect with American tipplers. This time it exported its Yamazaki 12-year whiskey, a top-shelf single malt, which was received well at Japanese restaurants and elsewhere.

Since then, Suntory has added three more whiskies to its American offerings. Despite this growing presence and growing sales figures, the company says it's moving fewer than 15,000 cases a year in the U.S.

The company will launch two more vintages later this year — Yamazaki 25 and Hakushu Heavily Peated. It's slow progress for the growing group of Americans who enjoy Japanese whiskies.

Tiffany Soto, beverage manager for Pabu in Baltimore, stocks 10 Japanese whiskies that took her over a year to source. She says she sees a growing interest in the spirits. "Japanese whiskey sales account for more than 35 percent of our total cocktail sales, with demand increasing each month," she says.

For consumers who simply cannot wait, it is possible to bring in Japanese bottles by buying them online, through mail order or in a suitcase. But the regulations and the legality of these options vary widely around the U.S. In the meantime, it will be a while before Japanese whiskey is as ubiquitous as ramen.

Nevin Martell is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.