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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Why Brain Surgeons Want Help From A Maggot-Like Robot

Sep 27, 2013

Brain surgery is a dicey business. Even the most experienced surgeons can damage healthy tissue while trying to root out tumors deep inside the brain.

Researchers from the University of Maryland are working on a solution, and it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. They're developing a tiny, maggot-like robot that can crawl into brains and zap tumors from within.

The idea first came to Dr. J. Marc Simard, a neurosurgeon and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, while he was watching TV.

He saw plastic surgeons use sterile maggots to remove damaged tissue from a patient. "It sounds strange, but it's a real thing," Simard says. And that's when he had the idea. "If I could train maggots to resect brain tumors I would," he says. "I can't do that, so robotic maggots are the next best thing."

He teamed up with Jaydev Desai, a roboticist at the University of Maryland in College Park, and radiologist Rao Gullapalli to create a working prototype. They call it MINIR — Minimally Invasive Neurosurgical Intracranial Robot. The wormy, multijointed prototype is about a half-inch wide, which Simard says is half as the size of tools he uses now.

But Simard says what really sets MINIR apart is that it works while the patient is inside an MRI scanner. The surgeon can look at what's happening inside a patient's brain without having to open it wide.

It's difficult for the naked eye to discern cancerous tissue from healthy tissue, so surgeons depend on MRI scans to locate brain tumors. So, surgeons usually take a scan before operating. But things can shift around as they work.

That's where a robot that worked inside an MRI could help.

A surgeon might someday insert a small tube leading to the site of the tumor, then send a robot crawling in. The doctor would control the robot remotely while watching its progress on MRI scans.

This approach would be less invasive that traditional surgery and makes it easier for surgeons to avoid harming parts of the brain that control essential functions like speech and vision.

The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health. So far, Simard says, they've successfully tested the device in pig cadavers. The researchers says they'll be ready test on humans within three to five years, if all goes well.

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, who isn't involved in research, says the project looks promising. "Ideally, you want to minimize the collateral damage" with brain surgery, he says. A neurosurgical robot is one way to do it.

Deep-seated tumors are the hardest to treat. "By the time you get down to the tumor, you've already injured the patient," Quinones says. And once you're there, he says, it's hard to tell the difference between normal and pathological tissue.

"I compensate with the use of a microscope," he says. He also takes MRI scans intermittently throughout the surgery. But for the surgeon, nothing beats being able to operate while the patient is inside an MRI.

Desai, the team's engineer, is experimenting with different materials and technologies to balance cost and function in the robot. He expects that the final product will be disposable.

His biggest challenge is finding materials that are compatible with the strong magnetic fields of the MRI. Some materials equipment can distort images. Others pose safety hazards. "An electromagnetic motor will get pulled toward the MRI" and could slice through brain tissue along the way, Desai says. "That's why we're looking at alternative solutions."

Desai's latest prototype uses a system of pulleys and cables, but he's also looking into using a special type of nonmagnetic motor.

With the current prototype, the surgeon can control the robots pulleys from outside the MRI. But once he pins the mechanics down, Desai says he'll focus on developing a simpler system surgeons can use to make the robot do their bidding.

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