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.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

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.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

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.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

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.


Can China's Legal System Change?

Nov 4, 2012

China's Communist Party will introduce a new slate of leaders this month to run the world's most populous country for at least the next five years. Their to-do list will include dealing with the nation's opaque and politicized court system.

"China's judicial system urgently needs to be reformed, improved and developed," a government planning paper acknowledged last month.

Few Chinese know this better than Chen Guangcheng, the self-taught, blind lawyer who made a stunning escape from government custody last spring.

After his release from China, Chen settled in New York, where NPR spoke with him at length about China's rule of law — or lack thereof.

Chen, who is studying law at New York University, is fiercely critical of China's legal system, but also surprisingly optimistic about the potential for change.

The rule of law in China is crucial to addressing many of China's most pressing problems and keeping peace in a sprawling, fractious country. The lack of an independent judiciary allows officials often to operate with impunity: detaining citizens without charge, approving environmentally dangerous projects and stealing public money with both hands.

Perhaps the judiciary's greatest problem is that it is ultimately controlled by the Communist Party. Chen says the party refuses to give up that power because it is so politically useful.

"It's very much against their interests," says Chen, speaking in a conference room at the New York University School of Law in Manhattan. "The implementation of a law would rule out the possibility of foul play on their part."

Challenging State Power

Chen's personal story is a case study in how the party uses the law for political ends. Chen got his start as a lawyer advocating for the rights of disabled people, like himself.

In 2005, he took on one of the country's most politically sensitive issues: the one-child population policy. Chen learned officials in east China's Shandong Province were forcing women to undergo sterilization or abortions.

"Women were forcefully dragged out of their quilts and taken away by hired thugs," Chen recalls. "They were not even allowed to put on clothes."

Li Qun, the mayor of Linyi, a city in Shandong, led a crackdown in which an estimated 130,000 people were beaten and held hostage to force their friends and loved ones to submit to abortions or sterilization.

Forced abortion and sterilization is illegal under Chinese law, so people asked local police to stop it. They did nothing, so Chen decided to sue.

The central government evaluates local officials on how well they meet population targets, regardless of how they do it. So, the local justice system didn't punish those officials, it punished Chen.

He was sentenced to more than four years for destroying property and organizing a mob to disrupt traffic — charges widely seen as trumped up.
Li, the mayor who lead the forced abortion campaign, fared much better.

"Well, he got promoted," Chen says dryly.

Li is now the Communist Party secretary of Qingdao, a city of more than 7 million on the Yellow Sea. Why did the government reward him with a better job?

"It's because he was bad enough," Chen says.

Risks To Chen's Family

The upside-down aspects of the Chinese justice system continue to take a toll on Chen's family.

The day after he escaped from house arrest in April, 20 of Chen's former guards stormed the home of his nephew, Chen Kegui, and took revenge.

Chen Kegui said the guards did not wear uniforms and did not show a search warrant. When they tried to apprehend him, Chen Kegui said he grabbed a kitchen knife in defense. His mother said the men attacked with one saying, "Beat him to death."

Chen Kegui slashed at the men with a knife. He's been in custody largely since then and is expected to face indictment for "intentional infliction of injury."

"If Chen Kegui didn't fight back, he would probably have been killed," says Chen Guangcheng. Under Chinese law, as written, resistance would be viewed as self-defense, he said. "But the reality is if they beat you up, it isn't against the law, even it happens in your home. If you fight back, you are guilty."

If all this seems as if it would make Chen despondent over China's legal system, it doesn't. China has an extensive code of laws and Chinese lawyers continue to press for reform. Chinese people — everyone from farmers to factory workers — are increasingly sophisticated and aware of their legal rights.

Chen says eventually Chinese people will demand rights from their leaders and the party will have little choice but to change.

"Even China's current leaders know very well that steps toward rule of law and the historical trend that societies move toward constitutionalism, rule of law, democracy and freedom, are inevitable," says Chen. "No power can stop that."

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