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.

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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/.

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San Francisco BART Transit Workers Strike

Oct 18, 2013
Originally published on October 18, 2013 1:36 pm

It's going to be a frustrating Friday commute in San Francisco after the workers for the region's largest transit system, known as the BART, went out on strike.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

"Just after midnight, union leaders picked up picket signs and said they would not go back to work until they reach a contract agreement with management, stranding 200,000 people who ride BART roundtrip each day. Although workers had threatened strikes five times in the past week, this time they had finally reached their breaking point."

And SFGate:

"After a marathon bargaining session that lasted nearly 30 hours, Roxanne Sanchez, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, walked out of the Oakland negotiations late Thursday afternoon and said the talks were over and that union workers would walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

"SEIU spokeswoman Cecille Isidro confirmed shortly after midnight that the unions were on strike.

" 'We made concessions, but you can only bend so far before you break,' Sanchez said. 'This is the way they want to solve the conflict, in a fight, a street fight.'

"The unions' position was that 'we'll take more money but won't even talk to you about work rules,' Tom Radulovich, president of BART's Board of Directors, said after the talks ended. 'We need to be able to manage the district.'

"While the unions offered to settle the unresolved issues through binding arbitration, union officials said BART management rejected that suggestion."

Member station KQED reports:

"The California Republican Party marked the beginning of the strike by renewing its call for a law to stop BART workers from walking out. That idea was first floated last month by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who asked Gov. Jerry Brown to call a special session of the Legislature to pass the bill. Brown declined, citing opposition from most legislators, unions and even BART. He has signaled some interest in legislation that would submit transit disputes to binding arbitration."

And, by way of background, The Associated Press offers:

"Talks began in April, three months before the June 30 contract expirations. The unions initially asked for 23.2 percent in raises over three years. BART countered with a four-year contract with 1 percent raises contingent on the agency meeting economic goals.

"The unions contended that members made $100 million in concessions when they agreed to a deal in 2009 as BART faced a $310 million deficit. And they said they wanted their members to get their share of a $125 million operating surplus produced through increased ridership.

"The unions, which also include Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1555, said one of the work rules that BART wanted to change was employees' fixed work schedules. Mark Mosher, a communications consultant with SEIU Local 1021, said some workers work 4-day, 10-hour shifts while others work 5-day, 8-hour shifts."

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