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

4 hours ago
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Who Was Aaron Alexis? Records Offer Clues Of Instability

Sep 17, 2013
Originally published on September 17, 2013 4:13 pm

Focusing only on public documents and on-the-record statements paints a complicated picture of the man police say walked into a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday and shot dead 12 people before being killed himself.

Thirty-four-year-old Aaron Alexis, as we reported Monday, "was a former full-time Navy reservist who had obtained a concealed-carry permit in Texas and was arrested three years ago for illegally discharging a weapon."

But he was also an aviation electrician's mate third class in the U.S. Navy Reserve who received an honorable discharge in January 2011.

The honorable discharge, however, came despite a "checkered four-year career ... a period marked by repeated run-ins with his military superiors and the law ... according to documents and Navy officials," says The Washington Post.

Media reports also paint a picture of a man potentially struggling with mental illness. A police report obtained by NPR, offers a narrative of a disturbing incident in which Alexis complained of "hearing voices."

Still, Alexis was able to get that honorable discharge and "received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, awards of minor distinction," the Post adds.

Friends, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, say he "regularly meditated at a local Buddhist temple, was unfailingly courteous and never showed signs of the violence that is now his legacy. ... 'When he lived at my house, I never saw him get angry about anything,' [said a former landlord, Somsak Srisan]. 'My feeling is, if he was angry about anything, he didn't show that to me.' "

But he was also, as The Seattle Times writes, arrested in 2004 "for shooting out the tires of a construction worker's car in what Alexis later described as an anger-fueled 'blackout.' "

Then four years later, in DeKalb County, Ga., Alexis spent two nights in jail after being cited for disorderly conduct following a disturbance at a nightclub. As the citation (online here) shows, the arresting officer wrote that even though he told Alexis "several times" to stop swearing, the F-bombs and other profanity continued.

Another friend in Fort Worth, however, has fond memories of Alexis "sitting at one of the tables at Happy Bowl [a restaurant] trying to teach himself Thai."

Alexis' family, CNN notes, is in disbelief:

"What I do know is he wasn't that type of person," Anthony Little, who identified himself as Alexis' brother-in-law, told reporters outside his Brooklyn, New York, home. "I didn't really hear anything that would make me feel, as a newcomer to the family, that somebody should be watching him. ...

"You know, they didn't see it coming," said Little, who is married to Alexis' sister Naomi. "Their hearts are going out more to the victims and the people that got hurt because, you know, there's more lives lost and we don't need that right now. We really don't."

Note: We are aware there are many other, anonymously sourced, stories out today about Alexis. For now, as we said, we're focusing on what's in the public record and what's being said on-the-record. We'll add more as solid information comes in.

Update at 3:33 p.m. ET. Hearing Voices:

According to a police report obtained by NPR's Emma Anderson, Alexis called Newport (R.I.) Police on August 7, 2013 from his hotel room saying three men had been sent to harass him.

Alexis "believes that the individual that he got into an argument with has sent 3 people to follow him and keep him awake by talking to him and sending vibrations into his body," the report reads.

The men, Alexis told police, were sent by an "unknown party" whom Alexis allegedly had a verbal altercation with "while getting onto his flight from Virginia to Rhode Island."

According to the report, Alexis told the officer that he had moved from one hotel to a Navy base and then to a third hotel because the voices were following him.

Alexis told police that the individuals were using "'some sort of microwave machine' to send vibrations through the ceiling, penetrating his body so he cannot fall asleep."

Alexis told police that he did not have a history of mental illness and he had never felt this way before.

Police advised him that if he saw the people in question, he should call police again. According to the police report, Sgt. Frank C. Rosa Jr. reported the contact with Alexis to the Navy base. He told the base that Alexis was "hearing voices."

We've embedded the full report below:

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