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

1 hour ago

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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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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When Will Congress' Inaction Push U.S. Into Default?

Oct 16, 2013
Originally published on October 16, 2013 8:41 am



Now, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned Congress tomorrow, the 17th of October, is the day the government will likely have only about $30 billion on hand, which sounds like a lot. But sometimes, daily expenditures get a lot higher than that. This does not mean the government will default tomorrow if Congress does not act. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the U.S. could manage to get through the next few days. But without a deal, the threat of default rises sharply next week.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hedge funds, economic consulting firms and think-tanks have all been crunching the numbers, trying to figure out just how much time Congress really has before its lack of action could push the country into default, a default most believe would be catastrophic for markets and the economy. Paul Edelstein, an economist at IHS, a global consulting firm, says tomorrow probably is not the day.

PAUL EDELSTEIN: If we're talking about missing a debt payment, delaying a debt payment, you don't really have to worry necessarily about the 17th.

YDSTIE: That's because the next big payment of interest on the debt for $6 billion isn't due for two weeks, on October 31st. But that's a technical definition for default. Steve Bell, a veteran of Washington budget battles as a top Republican staffer on Capitol Hill, says technical default is not the key point. He says delaying the payment of any obligation of the government - whether it's interest on government bonds or Social Security checks - would have serious consequences.

STEVE BELL: The fact of the matter is if you don't pay the bills you owe in a timely fashion - and we do about $4 million bill payments a day over at Treasury - you are going to cause economic dislocation, and even before that, market dislocation. You are going to erode confidence.

YDSTIE: Bell is now senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think-tank. It's been tracking government revenues and expenditures for some time.

BELL: We've been doing this for three years, and we've learned one thing: every month, revenues come in kind of a unpredictable fashion. We are now saying somewhere between the 23rd and the 30th of this month, it is likely the Treasury will just run out of money.

YDSTIE: The reason it's difficult to pick a single specific date when the government might not be able to meet its obligations is that its revenues - the taxes and fees that fund the government - arrive at the Treasury in uneven and unpredictable daily amounts. But in the last eight days in October, there are close to $25 billion in scheduled payments, including interest on the debt.

BELL: It's extremely unlikely, in our belief, that they will be able to get to the first of November.

YDSTIE: And it's virtually certain they won't get past it. On November 1st, several huge expenditures - totaling about $55 billion - are scheduled, including Medicare payments, Social Security benefits and military pay. But, as Bell says, the failure of the government to meet its obligations could come earlier, on the 23rd, just a week from today.

BELL: The big thing is they have to pay Social Security on the 23rd. That's 12 billion.

YDSTIE: Already, says Bell, the bond markets are showing unprecedented signs of concern about holding U.S. government debt.

BELL: In the 42 years I've been doing this, I have never seen a major fund family like Fidelity announce publicly we will not hold anymore October and November maturing United States sovereign debt.

YDSTIE: Other financial firms are also shunning those U.S. securities. That's because they're afraid the securities will be hard to trade or use as collateral for loans until the Congress acts. And Bell says lenders in Japan, for the first time, are significantly marking down the value of U.S. securities being offered by borrowers as collateral. The warning from the rating agency Fitch that it could downgrade U.S. government debt only adds to the pressure. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington.


INSKEEP: OK, just a reminder on where we stand today: Our congressional correspondent Tamara Keith tells us that senators are being briefed on an emerging agreement to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government, brokered by Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, and Harry Reid, the Democratic leader. Many, many procedural hurdles still to go before that would become law, but the Dow is up sharply today. You are listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.