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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U.S. Drone Strikes Violate International Law, Reports Allege

Oct 22, 2013
Originally published on October 22, 2013 12:07 pm

Two reports released on the eve of a White House visit by Pakistan's prime minister allege that the U.S. has "violated international law with top-secret targeted-killing operations that claimed dozens of civilian lives in Yemen and Pakistan," as McClatchy Newspapers writes.

In one of the reports, Amnesty International says that:

"Based on what officials from the [Obama] administration have stated publicly, and what has been reliably reported by news media, current U.S. policy and practices for the intentional use of lethal force against terrorism suspects and other people who happen to be near such suspects appear to go far beyond what international human rights law permits. Indeed, from what has been publicly disclosed, the policy and its implementation seem simply to disregard international protections for the right to life and the prohibition of the arbitrary deprivation of life. In at least some cases, the policy appears to allow for unlawful killings referred to in human rights terms as 'extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions' or 'extrajudicial executions.' "

NPR's Philip Reeves reports from London that Amnesty International examined 45 drone strikes on targets in Pakistan from January 2012 through September of this year. The organization focused particularly on nine incidents, Phil added, including one in which "18 laborers were killed when a missile crashed into their tent and a second missile struck those who came to help."

The other report comes from a similar organization, Human Rights Watch. It concludes that U.S. airstrikes "against alleged terrorists in Yemen have killed civilians in violation of international law ... creating a public backlash that undermines US efforts against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula."

The organization says that "during six weeks in Yemen in 2012-2013, Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed more than 90 people about the strikes including witnesses, relatives of those killed, lawyers, human rights defenders, and government officials. Human Rights Watch reviewed evidence including ordnance and videos from attack sites. Security concerns prevented visits to four of the attack areas."

As McClatchy writes, President Obama "and senior U.S. officials have defended targeted killings as legal under U.S. and international laws." The targets, officials say, have been terrorists who pose threats to the U.S. or its allies, and others who support the terrorists.

Still, the newspaper group adds, "in a speech last May, the president outlined a broad legal 'framework' for continuing the operations, while asserting that he wanted to scale them back amid an outcry that civilian casualties have fueled anti-U.S. extremism."

In August, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. hopes to soon end drone strikes on targets in Pakistan. "The program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it," Kerry told Pakistan TV. "I think the president has a very real timeline and we hope it's going to be very, very soon."

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is due at the White House Wednesday.

On Morning Edition, NPR's Reeves said the prime minister is expected to "use this occasion to press for an end" to the drone strikes. But, he added, "there's a difference between the public and the private positions of senior Pakistani government officials on this issue. Some senior figures in government and in the army are known to have in the past privately supported drone strikes. And, indeed, a certain element of the Pakistani public actually feels the same way."

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