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.

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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.

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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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Seattle Suburb Considers Setting $15 'Living Wage'

Oct 22, 2013
Originally published on October 22, 2013 6:53 am



Minimum wage workers in a tiny suburb of Seattle may soon get a big pay raise - a big raise - if voters approve a controversial ballot initiative there next month.

NPR's Martin Kaste reports.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: This is SeaTac - it's a smallish suburb halfway between Seattle and Tacoma - hence the name - and the site of the international airport. Tucked behind the long-term parking lots is a low-rise apartment building that's home to some of the airport's workers.


KASTE: People like Ahmed Jama.

AHMED JAMA: Currently, I'm a dispatcher for a wheelchair company. And my second job is a push wheelchairs for a second wheelchair company.

KASTE: He earns an average of about $10 an hour. But if SeaTac voters approve an initiative called Proposition 1 next month, his pay may jump to $15 - plus sick leave. Jama's all for it.

JAMA: I'm working anywhere between 13 to 16 hours a day, four to five times a week just in order to cover my bills. If this were to be passed, it would allow me just to work one job, pursue my dream of finishing my education, and better overall quality of life, basically.

KASTE: Fifteen bucks would not be the universal minimum wage in SeaTac. This proposition targets the bigger companies that support the airport - specifically, non-unionized hotels, food service, rental car agencies and the contractors who work for the airlines.

The spokeswoman for the Proposition 1 campaign, Heather Weiner, says the wage floor would apply to more than 6,000 people.

HEATHER WEINER: Many of them work many overtime hours, and yet they still qualify for public assistance.

KASTE: Weiner is a lawyer who's worked in the past for organized labor. And in fact, this initiative is very much the unions' baby. They've been trying to get back at Alaska Airlines - that's the hub airline here at SeaTac - since it laid off its unionized baggage handlers in 2005. That work was outsourced, and wages fell. But Weiner says there's broader principle here.

WEINER: We, as the taxpayers here in King County, pay property taxes to help maintain the airport. We should have good jobs at a publicly subsidized facility like this.

KASTE: Similar wage floors are already the rule at airports in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It makes strategic sense for higher-wage campaigners to focus on airports, since they can't just pick up and move to cheaper cities.

But that's cold comfort to Rick Forschler. He's a member of the SeaTac city council who opposes the initiative. He worries about what it'll do to labor costs outside this airport.

RICK FORSCHLER: If other people are making $15 an hour, you're competing with them for employees, whether or not you're required to pay them that.

KASTE: That sentiment is echoed by national conservative groups who are now weighing in, here, with both talking points and money. In fact, the SeaTac vote seems to be part of a broader, national debate.

DAVID NEUMARK: There's a lot of these isolated fights going on now, pretty remarkable, the last year, year and a half.

KASTE: David Neumark is an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, and he studies minimum wages. He points to the recent protests about low pay at fast food restaurants and the attempt to force higher wages on Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C. He regards these minimum wage fights as a strategic move by America's embattled unions.

NEUMARK: They need to, and they have, started to organize in the low-wage sector, or to do things that will in some sense give them higher and more positive visibility in the low-wage sector.

KASTE: If the $15 wage passes, Neumark predicts there will be some job losses, though he says it's hard to say for sure in a jurisdiction as small as SeaTac. One thing's for sure. The workers who keep their jobs should be pleased.

Martin Kaste, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.