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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Medical Magic Leads To Terror In 'Parasite'

Oct 30, 2013
Originally published on October 30, 2013 2:37 pm

Welcome to SymboGen, your friendly neighborhood medical company; have you stopped by for your tapeworm implant? Fair warning: There have been some unusual side effects ...

Health care has swallowed American headlines in recent years; besides the arguments over who deserves treatment to begin with, issues are emerging in pharmaceutical brand ethics, anti-vaccination activism, and the overuse of antibiotics. The war against disease is spreading against the smallest enemies of all.

In Parasite, Mira Grant imagines a near future in which genetically modified tapeworms are a universal health-care solution. Once implanted, the worm provides immune-system support, making its human host healthy for the duration of its life — though like any good piece of commodified progress, the worms have planned obsolescence and need to be replaced regularly.

Sal Mitchell owes her life to her parasite, which brought her out of a coma after a serious car accident. Unfortunately, her memories vanished, and her current personality is only 6 years old. She lives a life that's half lab rat and half surreal puberty, living at home, dating a doctor (though not one of hers), and relearning language and social idiosyncracies in a treading-water existence. Something's got to give — and does; people start contracting a bizarre sleepwalking sickness just as Sal starts getting cryptic messages about what she already suspects. This pandemic is no accident.

Though technobabble trips off everyone's tongues, Grant is most interested in the ethical implications of that technology, so advanced it really is indistinguishable from magic. She presents government and corporations not as monoliths, but as flawed systems whose participants are only as trustworthy or greedy as the individual in question. Those individual personalities are revealed in interludes (such as an interview with SymboGen's co-founder and the notes of their vanished head scientist) that suggest public perception as the true arena in which wars are fought — though they offer diminishing returns as the story unfolds.

But as the first of a series, Parasite often feels like groundwork: characters are dutifully introduced, horrors steadily unrolled, and ethical arguments sedately hashed out, so that even increasingly frequent zombie outbreaks can't stir up real urgency. An Everyperson can be a compelling center for a conspiracy story — but Sal's so slow on the uptake that we figure out plot twists far ahead of her. The suspense often stretches thin, and some of the most promising thematic parallels fizzle out in service of the plot. (It's telling that of the many horrors Sal faces, her tipping point comes when her parents ground her; it suggests a parallel with the parent state medical technology has become, but the full impact of the setup gets pushed aside by another burst of action.) And though it's a refreshing change for a thriller heroine to have a trustworthy boyfriend, many others in the supporting cast — the awkward family, the stalwart dog, the mysterious CEO, the mysterious scientist, the quirky girl — never quite come into focus.

Parasite succeeds most in capturing the frustration and administrative dread that's part and parcel of recovering from a traumatic medical incident. Being exposed to a zombie pandemic seems less dangerous to Sal than having to undergo the subsequent poking and prodding by indifferent doctors; it's a well-grounded medical wariness that gets at the heart of what the Parasitology series will be asking: What happens when the cure is worse than the disease?

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