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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Ottoman Dream Come True: Train Links East And West In Istanbul

Oct 30, 2013
Originally published on October 30, 2013 9:04 pm

The Marmaray Project, Turkey's new underwater rail link between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, is open for business. It's the first of its kind, a modern feat of engineering that realizes the 150-year-old dream of an Ottoman sultan.

Before we get to the politics behind it, though, a bit of practical information. Abandon any romantic notions about well-appointed coaches and china clinking in the dining car. This is a subway: plastic seats, fluorescent lighting, incomprehensible announcements. It will never be mistaken for the Orient Express.

It is, however, an undeniably impressive route, nearly 200 feet beneath the dangerous currents of the Bosporus. Riding the first train open to the public Tuesday evening, I met Turgut, a professor of mechanical engineering. He interrupted an underwater cellphone call to say he wouldn't have missed this for anything.

"And using the technology, I'm speaking to England now from the underground — under the sea, actually," he said. "I am here just to make history."

Speaking of history, why did Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan open the tunnel on Republic Day, the 90th anniversary of Kemal Ataturk's secular, pro-Western Turkish Republic?

In past years, Erdogan and other top officials of the ruling party, with its roots in political Islam, found excuses to be traveling on Republic Day, thus avoiding ceremonies honoring Ataturk. This year, however, Erdogan had the perfect counternarrative, thanks to an Ottoman sultan who dreamed of a tunnel connecting Asia and Europe long before Ataturk was born.

Sultan Abdulmecid ruled the Ottoman Empire in the mid-19th century. In an interesting parallel with Erdogan's early years, the sultan was known for his reforms and friendly approach to Europe. The tunnel, however, proved too great an engineering problem. It took Erdogan, modern technology and a big assist from Japan to make the tunnel a reality.

In his speech at the tunnel's opening ceremony, Erdogan did mention Ataturk, but he mainly focused on the fulfilling of an Ottoman dream, saying this project not only connects continents but "reunites history with today."

To secular Turks already anxious about Erdogan's virtually unchecked power and soaring ambition, reuniting with history is a less than inviting prospect.

Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was on hand to mark the opening of the tunnel, in which Japanese engineering and financing played a major role. Abe was modest and gracious, but somehow his praise for Erdogan kept coming back to the same theme: What a good sport Istanbul had been in losing the 2020 Olympic Games to Tokyo last month.

It remains to be seen whether this historic tunnel does transform itself from a small commuter subway line into the linchpin of a vast rail network linking London and Beijing. It also remains to be seen whether Erdogan and his colleagues can tear down the authoritarian instruments of Ataturk's republic without destroying the human and civil rights that came with it.

So far neither project is off to a perfect start: The first morning commuter trains beneath the Bosporus suffered delays due to electrical problems. That had some Turks joking darkly about bad omens for the next big Turkish-Japanese partnership: building a nuclear power plant on the Black Sea.

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