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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'Prisoners' Of A Story, Bound By That Devil Subtext

Sep 19, 2013
Originally published on September 20, 2013 10:37 am

If anyone thought Denis Villeneuve's attacks on his favorite targets might be tempered by his move from the art house to Hollywood-thriller territory, Prisoners should shut that line of thinking down in a hurry.

Though the setting is new — working-class Pennsylvania rather than Quebec and the Middle East — the issues at play in Villeneuve's Prisoners closely mirror those in the Canadian director's Oscar-nominated 2010 film, Incendies: the dangers of fundamentalism, the pliable morality of religion when it comes to violence and vengeance, and mankind's shocking capability for cruelty in the service of imagined righteousness.

The vehicle for the director's investigations is similar, too: a tense, many-layered, plot-heavy mystery that he uses to apply a vise grip to the viewer's attention while he hammers away at those themes. In Prisoners, it's the Thanksgiving abduction of two little girls, and the subsequent investigations into their whereabouts.

There's the official inquiry, led by the intense and idiosyncratic Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal). Then there's the unofficial one — a vigilante campaign waged furiously by Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and reluctantly by Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard), the girls' fathers.

Villeneuve is undeniably a master of slow-build tension. His patient deliberation is such that each time he pushes his camera in, he might as well be turning the crank on a jack-in-the-box, slowly, so slowly that the wait for the next note in the song seems like a breathless eternity. I spent the first hour and 45 minutes of the film nervous, uneasy, fearing the impending doom in my chest.

But Villeneuve's film runs another 45 minutes beyond that, and that's where the strings attached to the director's initially expert manipulations begin to show.

The film's moral and political issues share nearly equal footing with the machinations of the plot for much of the early going. That sometimes risks turning the film's subtext a little too much into the text; long shots held on, say, the cross hanging from Keller's mirror or the gas mask in his basement punch up his Christianity and his survivalist impulses, respectively, in a way that ties them tightly — unfairly? — to the lengths he'll end up going to in his effort to save his daughter.

Those lengths will eventually include some decidedly extralegal measures — vigilantism is too tidy a word for the tactics Keller employs — and it's no stretch to say that the abandoned small-town apartment building he uses as a kind of secret base of operations is an authorial stand-in for both Guantanamo and a CIA rendition site. But as unsubtle as both plotting and subtext are in this early part of the movie, it's as if they cancel each other out, the one distracting from the other just enough to make both work.

As we near the finish, though, the film grows less concerned with its moral conflicts and more with making the plot's too many puzzle pieces come together neatly. Now we notice plot conveniences like the fact that Loki is constantly showing up in dangerous situations without asking for backup.

It doesn't ruin the film, but it does undercut that stellar first two-thirds, as well as a pair of truly remarkable performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal. The former, an actor of nearly impermeable likability, manages to invoke feelings of both sympathy and antipathy — genuine sorrow for his plight, combined with a sense of being morally filthy just for having watched his actions.

Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal's Loki is a rich collaboration between the actor, wardrobe and makeup to create a character with enough back story to fill a few movies of his own. So much so, in fact, that it's frustrating how little of that background comes to light to inform this movie. As it is, Loki's tattoos, his buttoned-up but tieless sartorial inclinations, his slicked-back hair, his tics — they're all idiosyncrasies masterfully rendered, but weirdly lacking context.

Loki is a skilled creation, but lacking that sense of why, it's hard not to think of him as an artistic construct rather than a character. The same goes for Prisoners, a work of impressive craftsmanship that winds up making us think too much about how it was fashioned rather than what it has to say.

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