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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For A New Kind Of Commute, Some Eye The Sky

Oct 31, 2013
Originally published on October 31, 2013 2:21 pm

This story is part of a series on commuting in America.

Orangutans Kiko, Iris and Batang have a short commute — only about 500 feet between the buildings at the National Zoo where they sleep and pass their days. But it's a tricky trip.

They travel 50 feet above the ground on what's called the Orangutan Transit System — the O Line, for short. It's a series of eight towers connected by red cables, and helps Kiko and his fellow orangutans get from the Great Ape House to another building, constructed about 20 years ago, called the Think Tank.

"We knew the new exhibit was going to have orangs in it, and we wanted them to be able to go back and forth and not just be stuck in one area," says Laurie Thompson, a biologist at the National Zoo.

So the zoo decided to gamble that the orangutans would be willing to swing or shimmy their way along cables, strung high above the heads of human visitors. (In case you're wondering, electric wires on the towers keep the animals from clambering down mid-commute. Like human commuters, the strolling orangutans are creatures of habit, Thompson says, so they generally don't even try to deviate from their routines.)

Most mornings, Thompson or another keeper opens the door from one building to let the orangutans out so they can travel via the O Line. Some days they'll scoot back and forth five times, some days just once. "You never know," Thompson says. "It's totally up to them."

Michael McDaniel, at Frog Design in Austin, Texas, says we human commuters have something to learn from Kiko and the gang.

"Something as simple as a wire to connect two points, just like the National Zoo is doing, makes a whole lot of sense because you're not paying to build all that infrastructure between two points," McDaniel says.

McDaniel's dream is that Austin will make a human version of this system — which he calls The Wire. Think ski lifts.

"But we don't mean chair lifts, by any means," McDaniel says. "There would be way too many dropped iPhones." Instead he envisions "high-speed, detachable gondolas."

Each gondola would carry up to eight people and would be able to hop off the cable for loading and unloading. McDaniel says a system based on overhead wire would cost far less than more traditional streetcars. And the system he imagines could carry 3,000 people per hour in each direction. He's now trying to convince his fellow Austin residents to take the idea seriously.

"They generally think it's hysterical and laugh," McDaniel says. "Then as you starting talking more about it, they go, 'Oh, that would be a pleasant experience. Now is it practical?' And then you go into the numbers, and they realize this actually is a valid solution."

Medellin, Colombia, has three gondola lines, he says. So, why not American cities?

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