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.

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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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Surveillance Controversy: NSA Versus Tech Companies

Jan 13, 2014
Originally published on January 13, 2014 12:18 pm



President Obama is expected to announce Friday how he wants to reform surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency. Those previously secret programs were exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. American technology companies are among those pushing hardest for change. Having been caught up in the surveillance controversy, they are braced for battle. NPR's Tom Gjelten dubs that battle the NSA versus the techs.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: Here's the conflict. Technology companies want to protect their users' data, so they encrypt it, using secret codes, so snoopers can't read it. But the NSA wants access to that data, to keep track of people who threaten U.S. security. If the data's encrypted, the NSA will want to break the encryption. The result: a race between the techs' efforts to encrypt and the NSA's efforts to decrypt. And both sides think the other is ahead in this technology competition.

In an interview last fall, NSA chief information officer, Lonny Anderson, told NPR the tech companies have the research advantage.

LONNY ANDERSON: As a matter of fact, IBM spends more on research than our budget. Cisco spends more on research. Intel spends more on research, Google, Amazon - you pick all those companies. They spend more on just research, what they're doing next, than our entire budget.

GJELTEN: So you don't want to get in an arms race with them.

ANDERSON: We won't win. We can't win.

GJELTEN: The tech companies, on the other hand, say whatever little advantage they may have is offset by the NSA having all the authority of the U.S. government behind it.

James Lewis, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, puts his money on the NSA in this race.

JAMES LEWIS: NSA has been in the business a long time. They've got 300 of the best mathematicians in the world. They've got the world's most powerful computer. Hmm, that's a hard hand to beat.

GJELTEN: Lewis says the tech companies actually thought they were holding their own in this competition, until recently. When Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had managed to undermine the companies' secret codes, he says, they were shocked.

LEWIS: You know, companies assumed that they were the ones who were the tech wizards and the government was sort of bumbling. That whole world view has been stood on its head.

GJELTEN: At stake here, is the entire tech business model. Customers use these companies only if they think the data they share with the companies will be kept private. But now people hear the NSA can break the companies' encryption. Plus, it turns out some companies have been secretly ordered to share data with the NSA. When customers no longer trust the companies, they're less inclined to do business with them.

Next month, the tech security firm RSA holds its big annual conference. Tech industry analyst Richard Stiennon says the NSA-tech conflict will get a lot of attention.

RICHARD STIENNON: The NSA's encroachments on our security technologies should be the number one topic. That should be the theme. And I think that's actually going to be the case. Everybody will be discussing how to technologically thwart the sorts of things the NSA is doing and what position the industry should take.

GJELTEN: Of course, there's only so much the tech industry can do. Allan Friedman, a senior cyber security fellow at George Washington University, says it's up to the U.S. government to be more transparent in its surveillance.

ALLAN FRIEDMAN: We want to move from an environment which really feeds the conspiracy theories: The NSA is reading everything we do, to an environment where it's, OK, there is law enforcement but we trust that it's not being abused.'

GJELTEN: The tech companies in this case would be able to give their customers a better idea of when and why they do work with the NSA.

FRIEDMAN: It would allow them to say: Listen, we're cooperating but we don't cooperate that much - we only do it for bad guys.'

GJELTEN: NSA leaders are moving to address their issues with the tech companies. In an interview last week with NPR's MORNING EDITION, the agency's outgoing deputy, Chris Inglis, acknowledged that relations with the companies have been strained, in his words, and need to be repaired.

CHRIS INGLIS: As those companies have been described as being inappropriately in collusion with various governments, not least of which this government, they've taken some, I think, unfair hits. I think when you look into it, those companies are responsible. They're a source of benefit to anyone who would avail themselves of their services. And they therefore deserve to have the record set straight.

GJELTEN: President Obama has not yet signaled how he'd change NSA surveillance programs, but officials say he is likely to say they should operate more openly.

Tom Gjelten, NPR News, Washington.


INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.