Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

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The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

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At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

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How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


With An Army Of Vaccinators, India Subdues Polio

Oct 18, 2012
Originally published on October 18, 2012 8:31 pm

All this week, we've been examining the world's last remaining pockets of polio, a disease for which there is no cure. India marked a milestone when the World Health Organization struck it from the list of polio-endemic countries in February after no new cases were reported for more than a year. From Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports on how, despite poverty and poor sanitation, the world's second-most populous country is eradicating the disease.

The humanity of India washes up at its train stations. Passengers sprawling among vagrants wait for trains, while sweepers halfheartedly shuffle brooms in the heat.

It's Sunday, Day 1 of Immunization Week. During national campaigns, which occur twice a year, 2 million volunteers fan out to India's train stations, bus depots, temples, churches and mosques, armed with vials of polio vaccine.

Checking progress at a city slum, Delhi's Polio Eradication Program chief, Dr. C.M. Khanijo, says the vaccine must be kept at around 35 degrees Fahrenheit — even when the temperature outside is 109 degrees.

"The quality of the vaccine remains better if it is maintained in the cold chain," he says. "And the cold chain is maintained by keeping ice or ice packs."

Khanijo says that in just 30 minutes, enough vials to cover a large area of Delhi's old, walled city are distributed and in place. By 9 a.m., an army of vaccinators is dropping medicine into little mouths.

Families bring their squirming children to the booths, where they are given oral polio drops, containing a weakened form of the wild polio virus, which only humans carry.

A Massive Challenge

India has 175 million children aged 5 and younger, and all of them are tiny targets in this massive national immunization project that, since January 2011, has made India free of a disease that has afflicted it for millennia.

It must remain polio-free for three years before the WHO will certify that India has eradicated polio.

"This is kind of a mission. But ultimately the purpose is that we need to reach each and every child," says Dr. Ajay Khera, the deputy commissioner of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, who directs the country's polio eradication program.

"In 1995, when we started the program, we used to get roughly around 50,000 polio cases every year. And every village, everywhere, people used to find a polio child," Khera says. "So people ... imagine kind of a disabled child, and nobody wants that disabled child to be there in the community."

Trucks blast messages encouraging families to vaccinate their children, part of India's mass public-awareness campaign. The nation's polio chief says the aim is to vaccinate as many children as possible on Sunday, the first day of the campaign, and then have vaccinators go house to house for the next five days.

Dr. Kiran Kathuria oversees 127 teams that go house to house in central Delhi during National Immunization Week and during supplementary or "Sub-National" weeks. The poorer, less developed north of India, which includes Delhi, is more prone to polio than the richer south, and so vaccination weeks are more frequent there.

Kathuria recalls working as a young doctor in the country's disease-afflicted slums. The suffering she saw made eradicating polio her passion.

"Every second house had a ... polio-affected child. They were roaming around on the road, limping legs — I have seen lots of deaths due to polio," says Kathuria, who has been working against the disease since 1986.

Back then she mapped the slums for the vaccinators, noting down any "landmark" she could find — from temples to pigsties.

"I had put in my map that from [this] pigsty to this mosque, the team will travel and cover 300 houses in two days. That's how I made my maps. That was the beginning," she says with a laugh.

Fear That Polio Will Jump The Border

Today, Kathuria calls herself a "general" in a war on polio. One of the biggest worries health officials have is that the virus will jump across the border from Pakistan, where the disease is endemic. Extending her war analogy, Kathuria compares India's polio campaign to the 1999 fighting between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

"That time we did not allow [the] Pakistani army [into India]. This time we will not allow [a] Pakistan virus to come to India. In fact, I call all my team members, I call them soldiers," she says.

Her troops — mainly women — cover a middle-class district where families have just one or two children, and she closely monitors their work. Santosh Sharma, a stout 52 year old, has gone door to door in Delhi since the program began in the 1990s.

At this door she's told that the mother of the house is bathing. Santosh says she'll be back and moves to the next apartment. This immunization in September was the sixth this year for Delhi, and like most of the ones preceding it, Santosh finds 4-year-old Jasmit Singh at home with his mother, Rupinder.

When Rupinder says her child was not vaccinated Sunday, the veteran volunteer reaches for the vaccine. Santosh has administered many of the polio drops young Jasmit has had, which amount to dozens over the years.

Kathuria translates for Rupinder, saying the mother is proud that India is now gaining a good name in the world because it is polio-free.

Kathuria translates for Rupinder, saying the mother is proud that India is now gaining a good name in the world because it is polio-free. Santosh, a foot soldier in that effort, interjects: "A dangerous disease is being thrown out of the country. A dangerous disease attacking our children is being eradicated."

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has advised India's polio program, providing money and expertise. (The foundation also supports NPR.) Bill Gates notes that with India's success, the world has never been closer to eradicating polio, and he says that the remaining hot spots should draw on India's experience.

"India's success is really phenomenal," Gates says. "You probably would've guessed they would be the toughest country because of size, the number of kids who move around, the sanitation challenges up in the north, migratory populations. And so absolutely, the lessons from India can now be applied in the two toughest countries that remain — Pakistan in Asia and Nigeria in Africa."

Pakistanis Take Notes On India's Success

When a Pakistani delegation traveled to India this summer to see how its archrival had defeated polio, it saw a level of detail and logistics it had not seen before.

The presence of Pakistanis in India usually sparks a media buzz, and this was no exception. When a zealous minder steps in to end an impromptu news conference, the Pakistani delegation leader, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, gently brushes him aside.

"We appreciate what you are doing," Shahnaz Wazir Ali tells him before turning back to the reporters. "We have also greatly appreciated the monitoring system that [the Indians] have. Monitoring and monitoring of monitors. And the surveillance system."

It is polio as diplomacy: two foes that have fought three wars finding new common ground.

Michael Galway, Gates Foundation senior program officer, says bridging India and Pakistan over polio knits together not just program strategies but the chance to seize a historic moment for global health.

"Polio eradication is not going ... to keep coming back as many different opportunities. This is our time. The world has only ever really gotten rid of one disease that affects human beings, and that's smallpox," he says.

Back in her clinic, Dr. Kathuria expresses the belief that India's success will spur Pakistan.

"I'm sure Pakistan will have the courage that they can eradicate polio, after seeing us," she says. "'If India can do it, why can't we?' I'm sure they will have that feeling."

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