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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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That's The Spirit: Why Indians Prefer Strong Beer, Liquor

Sep 25, 2013
Originally published on October 8, 2013 9:59 am

Sometimes we at Parallels see a story that's so compelling, we make an extra effort to chase down the facts. So it's in that spirit, this story from Reuters caught our attention:

"Strong beer, with alcohol content of 5-8 percent, accounted for 83 percent of all beer sold in India last year, according to research firm Mintel, a figure industry players say is the biggest strong beer share of any major market. Brewers expect that to grow to 90 percent over the next three to five years."

Alcohol consumption isn't high in India, mainly for religious and cultural reasons. Only a third of the country's 1.1 billion people drink regularly. And when people do drink, Samar Singh Shekhawat, senior vice president of marketing at United Breweries, told Reuters, it's to get buzzed.

That explains why strong beer outsells its low-alcohol counterpart; it also helps explain why spirits — like whiskey — are still the drink of choice in India, as this chart shows.

Of course, India isn't the only country where the consumption of spirits outpaces that of beer.

Russian vodka, French wine and rum in Caribbean nations outstrip the consumption of beer in those places.

Alcohol consumption in India remains low — but it's growing fast. That makes it an attractive destination for Western brewers and distillers.

Diageo, which makes Johnnie Walker, has a $2 billion stake in United Breweries, the world's largest liquor company by volume. As The Wall Street Journal noted in November 2012:

"Sales of such local whiskeys — which are dominated by United Spirits — doubled India's whiskey consumption to 1.2 billion liters between 2005 and 2010, making India the world's largest whiskey market by volume. Meanwhile, the market for imported liquors such as Diageo's Johnnie Walker has remained tiny because of India's high alcohol import taxes."

India's locally made whiskies dominate global whiskey sales, though few people have heard of them outside the country. For example, United Spirits' McDowell's No. 1 lives up to its name; it's the world's top-selling whiskey.

But India isn't the only country where local drinks dominate the market — and the world.

As NPR's Tom Dreisbach reported on weekends on All Things Considered, the the best-selling spirit in the world is one you probably haven't heard of: It's South Korea's Jinro soju, a rice-based drink that's about 20 percent alcohol.

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