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

53 minutes 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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Purple Sweet Potato A Contender To Replace Artificial Food Dyes

Sep 9, 2013
Originally published on September 9, 2013 4:25 pm

We've grown accustomed to choosing our food from a spectacular rainbow — care for an impossibly pink cupcake, a cerulean blue sports drink or yogurt in preppy lavender?

But there's a growing backlash against the synthetic dyes that give us these eye-popping hues. And now scientists are turning to the little-known (and little-grown) purple sweet potato to develop plant-based dyes that can be labeled as nonthreatening vegetable juice.

Stephen Talcott, a food chemist at Texas A&M University, leads the research into extracting the pigments from purple sweet potatoes to dye foods.

"Our work with purple sweet potatoes has been going for a couple of years, partially in response to a trend within the food industry to move away from synthetic colors — primarily shades of red," Talcott said Sunday at a press conference at the American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition. "Purple sweet potatoes are a great alternative."

Talcott says purple sweet potato pigments are unique because they have "tremendous" color stability. In other words, they have more intense color and a wider color range — from raspberry red to grapelike purple — than other deeply hued fruits or vegetables. They're also well-suited for food products because they have a neutral flavor — unlike grapes, which have good color but bitter tannins. The sweet potato pigments even boast slight health benefits — they are mildly anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic, Talcott notes.

But these pigments aren't exactly easy for scientists to extract, one reason there isn't more of this dye around. The hard texture of the potato makes the pigment hard to get to, which is what Talcott's lab has been trying to crack.

Another problem is the supply. Few farmers grow purple sweet potatoes, and the dye currently costs about $136 per pound.

But Talcott argues that as consumers learn to scrutinize their food labels more carefully, they'll push the food industry to grow the natural food coloring market.

Some parents are increasingly seeking out natural food coloring, out of fears about how the lab-made dyes affect children — though there's little scientific evidence to back such fears up. Back in 2011, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel found that the current scientific data did not show that artificial food dyes cause hyperactivity in most children.

Still, food advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest asked the FDA to require that the label of a food containing color additives read "Artificially Colored" on the package next to the product name — something the agency already requires of many artificially colored products.

Even some "natural" dyes, like a red dye made from the cochineal bug, don't make the cut for some consumers. Back in 2012, we reported that Starbucks was ditching the dye — which is made from crushed bugs — after vegetarians and others protested that they had no idea their Strawberries & Creme Frappuccinos were tinted with bug extract.

Other companies continue to use cochineal, however, and CSPI is lobbying Groupe Danone, which makes Dannon yogurt, to replace the bug-based dye with more of the fruit advertised on the yogurt's label.

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