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 http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Nobel Winners Decoded How Neurons And Cells Talk To Each Other

Oct 7, 2013
Originally published on October 7, 2013 12:01 pm

The three scientists who shared this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine all made discoveries that illuminate how the body's cells communicate.

The research has sweeping implications for our understanding of how nerves in the brain transmit signals, how the immune system attacks pathogens and how hormones, like insulin, get into the bloodstream.

Bioengineers have already harnessed the discoveries to manufacture new vaccines and improve the quality of insulin for diabetics.

The winners include two Americans — James Rothman of Yale University and Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley — and the German-born Thomas Suedhof of Stanford University. Both Schekman and Suedhof are also investigators at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Their discoveries took place over the course of 30 years. The work got its start with a few simple experiments in cells of yeast – the same organism that leavens bread and brews beer.

In the 1970s, biologists already knew that cells weren't just sacks of fluid. Rather, they contain sophisticated highway systems that shuttle material from one compartment to the next. This cargo moves around cells in bubble-like compartments called vesicles.

In a healthy cell, some of these vesicles make their way to the cell's surface, where the material is released outside the cell. That's one way that cells communicate with each other and with organs in the body.

In 1976, Schekman, a new professor at the University of California, Berkeley, had recently found mutant yeast cells that had faulty transport systems. The cargo just piled up at the cell's surface, like cars stuck in a traffic jam.

By figuring out which genes were defective in these yeasts, Schekman discovered dozens of components that built and controlled the cell's transport system.

But there were still many pieces missing. In particular, it wasn't known how a cargo vesicle knows where to go on the cell's surface and then when to dump out its contents.

"Imagine hundreds of thousands of people who are traveling around hundreds of miles of streets. How are they going to find the right way? Where will the bus stop and open its doors so that people can get out?" Nobel committee secretary Goran Hansson said Monday. "There are similar problems in the cell, to find the right way ... and out to the surface of the cell."

Take for instance two neurons in your brain. One neuron communicates with another by secreting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. But a neuron must release the neurotransmitter at a particular place — and at the right time. Otherwise the message will never make it to the second neuron, or the signal will get scrambled.

That's where Rothman and Suedhof's research comes in. In the 1980s and 1990s, Rothman, now 62, figured out that a signal on the vesicle's surface that helps it dock at just the right place on the cell's surface. The process works a bit like a zipper: A protein on the vesicle zips up with another one on the cell's membrane to position the cargo in the correct location.

Then a few years later, Suedhof, who is now 57, identified the trigger mechanism that dumps the neurotransmitter outside the cell at just the right time by unzipping the two proteins.

This transport system has served as the foundation of modern cell biology and neuroscience.

And breakdowns of the process is involved in a vast range of diseases, including Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophies and some autoimmune disorders.

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