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 U.S. Still Lead In Economic And 'Soft' Power?

Oct 22, 2012
Originally published on October 22, 2012 2:28 pm

At Monday night's foreign policy debate, the first round of questions for the presidential candidates will involve "America's role in the world."

The answers from President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney likely will focus on military readiness and anti-terrorism efforts. That's what most Americans would expect to hear, given that their country has been involved continuously in overseas combat since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

But the U.S. role in the world is shaped by much more than just its ability to project military might. Leadership also is defined by economic power, as well as "soft" power — for example, the country's ability to attract and persuade people to adopt American values, according to Joseph Nye, a Harvard professor.

In the early 1990s, Nye's book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power got people talking about the need to further develop economic and soft power. His ideas got traction because — with the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989 — many Americans were eager to explore new ways to lead in a post-Cold War era.

But after terrorists slammed airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, the conversation turned back to military strength. Drones and Humvees seemed far more important than the attractive powers of Hollywood movies or mobile phones.

A Shift Back To Economic Leadership?

Now, with the Iraq War over and U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, Nye says the focus may be shifting back to those other two pillars — economic and cultural leadership.

"In the 21st century, the Iraq War caused a big drop in American soft power," Nye said. That's because many people in other countries saw the United States as being too aggressive, he said.

And then in 2008, when the subprime mortgage crisis hit, U.S. economic power declined too. Before the financial crisis, "there was the idea that Americans really knew how to run an economic system," he said. After the crisis, not so much.

But now, the wheel is turning again because both China and Europe are struggling with economic growth.

"If you compare us with Europe's economic system, we're doing pretty well," Nye said. "The dollar is still the safe haven."

And U.S college campuses are bolstering American soft power. "Most Chinese leaders have a kid at a university in the United States," Nye said. At this point, America is again the soft-power global leader "in everything from Hollywood to Harvard," he added.

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight and author of Spin-Free Economics: A No-Nonsense, Nonpartisan Guide to Today's Global Economic Debates, agreed with Nye that U.S. economic and soft power are coming back.

"We still have the largest economy in the world; we are still the No. 1 export destination; we still have lots of innovative companies, like Apple; we have the world's reserve currency; we have a dynamic economy, with oil and gas production increasing," Behravesh said.

"We have a lot going for us," he said "We've got our problems, but others have problems that are as bad or worse, and I include China in that. They have had a huge deceleration in their growth."

Dealing With The Debt

But going forward, America's role in the world will be largely shaped by how well Congress handles the budget deficit problems in coming months, he said. As other countries, especially in Europe, grapple with the problem of too much government debt, people around the world are looking to the United States for moral leadership, he said.

If the United States shows that it's possible for democracies to discipline themselves and control their debts, then its economic and soft power may surge, Behravesh said.

As part of overall U.S. foreign strategy, "we need to tackle our domestic deficit problem," he said.

"If we deal with it in a constructive way, people will view us favorably," Behravesh said. "It's a manageable problem. We can do this."

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