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

2 hours 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

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

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Why The Fed Decided Not To Change Course

Oct 30, 2013

Look around. Do you see much inflation?

Gas prices are down more than 7 percent from last year. Grocery costs haven't budged lately. And — just in time for Halloween — the price of candy is down 2.3 percent from last year, according to the government's consumer price index released Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Federal Reserve policymakers concluded that amid tame inflation and slow growth, they see no need to change direction in their approach to helping the economy. They will continue their program of buying bonds to help put downward pressure on the cost of borrowing, which is intended to help boost the battered housing market. The policymakers said the housing recovery "slowed somewhat in recent months" and "the unemployment rate remains elevated."

They "decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases" of bonds, the Fed said in its statement.

The Fed's bond-buying efforts helped tamp down mortgage rates to historic lows. While everyone agrees that effort has made mortgage refinancing and homebuying easier, it also has worried many economists who fear that such prolonged intervention in markets will lead to trouble down the road. Trouble is spelled i-n-f-l-a-t-i-o-n.

Fed officials themselves have stated they will have to "taper down" bond purchases eventually to allow rates to return to higher, more normal levels. But as of the end of Wednesday's meeting, that time hasn't come.

The central bank policymakers are worried that without their intervention, lending would get tighter and that would slow the economy.

So what do the latest data tell us about the current state of the economy? Because of the federal government shutdown earlier this month, many key reports have been canceled or delayed, so economists have been working with fewer numbers than usual.

But still, they have enough information from industry and government sources to be able to estimate what is happening. Here are some of the things we know:

  • Jobs are growing, but at a disappointing rate. On Wednesday, payroll processing firm ADP said private sector employment rose by 130,000 in October, lower than September's gain of 145,000. "Hiring slowed in October with the government shutdown and debt limit debate, but did not stall," PNC Financial Services Group chief economist Stuart Hoffman said in his assessment.
  • The consumer price index shows food prices are flat, and inflation generally is tame. "Soggy demand, weak energy prices, reversal of post-drought price gains in food, and relatively high unemployment rates are all slowly cooling price pressures," IHS Global Insight economist Chris Christopher wrote in his analysis.
  • Gasoline in particular has taken a dive, at least compared with last year. Gasbuddy.com says the average gallon of regular gas costs $3.29. At this time last year, it was $3.55.
  • Middle-market companies — businesses with annual sales between $10 million and $1 billion — saw revenues grow by 5.5 percent over the past year, but nearly half say government dysfunction is a drag going forward, according to a new survey. "Markets have been roiled by the uncertainties arising out of fiscal cliff, sequestration, government shutdown, and the threat of default," said Anil Makhija, director of the National Center for the Middle Market. In that environment, midsize companies are "intending to create 200,000 less jobs over the next 12 months," he said.
  • Consumer confidence, as measured by the Conference Board, a business group, showed a sharp plunge in the past month, with the index falling 11 percent. Lynn Franco, the group's director of economic indicators, said: "Consumer confidence deteriorated considerably as the federal government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis took a particularly large toll on consumers' expectations."
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.