Obama Returns To Public Stage, Encouraging Next Generation To 'Take Up The Baton'

Former President Barack Obama on Monday gave his first public address since leaving office, moderating a panel with young people on community engagement while dancing around the turmoil surrounding his White House successor. "So, uh, what's been going on while I've been gone?" Obama deadpanned at the beginning of his opening remarks at the University of Chicago. The former president's re-emergence on the public scene comes just before President Trump's 100-day mark on Saturday. Since leaving...

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HUD

Rockford has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over potential Civil Rights Act violations.

Federal authorities launched an investigation in November 2015, when Rockford debated a plan to replace Fairgrounds Valley housing units with The Grove at Keith Creek, an 65-unit affordable housing development on South New Towne Drive.

Women from across Illinois are expected in Springfield today for a march and rally at the Statehouse.

The event is drawing a long list of Democratic officials and activists. Senate President John Cullerton and other state politicians will be joined by three gubernatorial candidates and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"170 - Typing" by Flickr User Hillary / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's information technology chief has contracted to spend $208,000 in tax dollars for two professional memberships despite the budget crisis, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Hardik Bhatt is Republican Rauner's $145,000-a-year secretary of the Department of Innovation and Technology. He has a $50,000 membership and $29,000 subscription to councils within the Virginia-based executive-assistance firm CEB Inc.

Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza has held up some payments, but the state is obligated to pay.

Malaria transmission in the United States was eliminated in the early 1950s through the use of insecticides, drainage ditches and the incredible power of window screens.

But the mosquito-borne disease has staged a comeback in American hospitals as travelers return from parts of the world where malaria runs rampant. In the early 1970s there only a couple hundred malaria cases reported in the entire U.S. but that number has steadily increased in recent years.

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced sanctions on 271 individuals it says are scientists working on weapons development for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The new sanctions are a response to the deadly April 4 chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, an attack the U.S. government accuses Assad of carrying out against civilians.

State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are returning to the Capitol this week to resume work on trying to end the budget stalemate that has eluded them for almost two years.

The State Journal-Register reports that, just before lawmakers' two-week spring break, the House approved another stopgap spending bill that would give more than $800 million to human-services programs and higher education.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.49. That's one cent more expensive than last week. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas is found in the City of Chicago, at $2.84 per gallon. In contrast, Decatur has the state's cheapest gas, at $2.21 per gallon.

Rockford's average price is $2.36 per gallon. That's three cents cheaper than last week's average. 

Diane Drake / WNIJ

About 100 Northern Illinois University students, faculty, and staff will have the chance to give direct feedback on their President.

The move is part of what President Doug Baker calls a “360-degree review” of his performance.  He's evaluated annually by the Board of Trustees but, this year, both Baker and university officials want more detailed feedback.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Some groups are bracing for the problems of a future Illinois state budget that doesn’t raise taxes high enough or cuts spending.

Flickr user Steven Damron / "woman driving and talking on cell phone" (CC V 2.0)

Illinois is observing its first-ever Distracted Driving Awareness Week, starting today.

More than 300 law-enforcement agencies in the state will focus on violations for distracted driving, along with providing general education about the problem. That includes departments like Sycamore and Carol Stream, which announced on their Facebook pages that they will focus on ticketing drivers for illegal cell phone use this week.

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News From NPR

For this week's show, Bob Boilen and I throw open the studio door to welcome a parade of guests from the NPR Music team, each sharing their favorite April releases. This includes Jake Witz, one of our fabulous Spring interns, who has some relatively restrained music from U.K. grime artist Mr. Mitch.

First daughter Ivanka Trump discussed female entrepreneurship, her father, and feminism at the W20 Summit in Berlin on Tuesday, joining a panel that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Netherlands' Queen Maxima.

Merkel invited Trump to the G20-linked event during her visit with President Trump last month in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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