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.

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Scientists Win Nobel For Work On How Cells Communicate

Oct 7, 2013
Originally published on October 7, 2013 6:50 pm



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

Three scientists will win this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their role in figuring out how cells talk to one another. They do that by releasing and soaking up molecules. This basic knowledge also helps explain diseases, from mental illness to immune disorders.

NPR's Richard Harris has our story.

RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: Jim Rothman started his career studying physics and when he changed course and decided to go to medical school, he says he still tended to think of living things as machines. One day, he heard a lecture that started to get into the basic mechanics of how living cell manages to package up and secrete chemicals such as hormones.

JIM ROTHMAN: It was a complete mystery how that could happen at a molecular level. And so, when I had the opportunity and was prepared to take the risk, that's what I decided to focus on.

HARRIS: These secretions are everywhere you look; pancreas cells secrete the hormone insulin to help you digest and nerve cells in the brain secrete chemicals called neurotransmitters to talk to one another.

ROTHMAN: One of the less heralded but absolute secretory products are the endorphins, which cause a good mood. Now, everybody has commented on how my mood has been very good today.


HARRIS: At a Yale University news conference celebrating his Nobel Prize this afternoon, Rothman credited his great mood to the endorphins his cells are secreting, along with dopamine, which is secreted in the brain's reward circuitry. His point, of course, is that our bodies rely on all these secretions. When something goes awry, diseases can often result, as varied as autism, Alzheimer's and even our body's toxic reaction to botulism.

Rothman says he's very grateful he started this work in the early 1970s, back when the federal government was willing to take much bigger risks in handing out funding to young scientists.

ROTHMAN: I had five years of failure, really, before I had the initial sign of success. And I'd like to think that that kind of support existed today, but I think there's less of it. And it's actually becoming a pressing national issue, if not an international issue.

HARRIS: And while Rothman attacked this problem by trying to understand the mechanics of secretions, Randy Schekman decided to see what he could understand by studying the genes. He picked a simple organism, yeast, to study. Today, he's a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UC Berkeley.

RANDY SCHEKMAN: One starts off just interested in basic science. I had no inkling that this would have any practical application. But more often than not, what one does in the laboratory can be applied.

HARRIS: In fact, once Schekman started to understand how these yeast genes worked, he helped a pioneering biotech company called Chiron to custom-make yeasts to secrete medications.

SCHEKMAN: The world's supply of vaccine for hepatitis B is actually made in yeast. And then they harvest yeast cells to manufacture and secrete insulin, which is now one-third of the world supply of human insulin is made by secretion in yeast.

HARRIS: Schekman and Rothman, working independently, gradually started to realize that their two stories were coming together. The genes in yeast were very much like the same genes in animals, so it was two complementary ways of uncovering the same basic story.

SCHEKMAN: We were comparing notes all along, sometimes collaboratively, we actually published papers together, sometimes competitively.

HARRIS: And the whole line of research started building huge momentum. Among the scientists attracted by this problem was German-born Tom Sudhof. He has dedicated his career to learning how nerve cells in the brain fine-tune their secretions in order to communicate with one another.

TOM SUDHOF: It is absolutely crucial to understanding diseases such as Alzheimer's disease on the one hand and autism on the other hand.

HARRIS: He's now a Howard Hughes scholar at Stanford University and he will share the $1.2 million prize with Schekman and Rothman.

Richard Harris, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.