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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 veggies 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.

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After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


In A French Confection, A Hollywood Aftertaste

Aug 23, 2012
Originally published on August 23, 2012 8:32 pm

It's summer in France, time for stressed urbanites to head to the beach and forget their problems. For the circle of friends featured in Little White Lies, however, this year's problems are a little more memorable than most.

Writer-director Guillaume Canet's moderately engaging ensemble piece begins in Paris, where coked-up charmer Ludo (The Artist's Jean Dujardin) leaves a club, climbs on a motorcycle and zooms into the path of a truck. His close friends gather at the hospital, where Ludo is in intensive care. Then they decide that tragedy or no, they must nonetheless make their annual trip to the upscale, scenic Cap Ferret home owned by one of their number, Max (Francois Cluzet).

The host, a Euro-pinching hotel and restaurant operator, is always a little uptight. Now he's even jumpier than usual, because he's just gotten some disconcerting info from another member of the gang, chiropractor Vincent (Benoit Magimel). He's not gay, the married-with-child Vincent insists, but he has developed a crush on Max.

Two of the other men are madly in love, yet arrive alone. Antoine (Laurent Lafitte) shares with everyone his obsession with his ex; Eric (Gilles Lellouche) keeps to himself the end of his latest relationship, suggesting that his girlfriend will be arriving soon.

Amour seems easier, but maybe isn't, for Marie (Marion Cotillard), a world-traveling bisexual who was once paired with Ludo. She has lovers, but not romances; in an early scene, she kicks her current beau out of bed so she can enjoy her post-coital contentment alone.

Less central roles are assigned to Max and Vincent's wives, Vero (Valerie Bonneton) and Isabelle (Pascale Arbillot); the two couple's children; and various locals. One of the last contingent who makes a large impression is Joel Dupuch, a real-life oysterman who plays a version of himself.

Canet's previous film, Tell No One, was a taut thriller with a romantic allure; it became one of the few recent foreign-language hits in American arthouses. Little White Lies might seem capable of similar success, since it boasts a strong box-office showing at home, actors who are known in the U.S. and a far-from-coincidental resemblance to The Big Chill — complete with a soundtrack full of Anglo-American rock and soul tunes, mostly circa 1966-1972. But this two-and-half-hour movie is far from taut, and its mix of laughter and tears feels forced.

In its defense, the film needs to be somewhat baggy. Tightening it would have only emphasized the plot's contrivances, while losing the lazy summer vibe that provides much of the appeal. After seeing Cotillard in the one-note roles of Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, it's a pleasure to watch her unfold a complicated characterization over time — even if some of the developments are cliched.

Yet while the film's overall vibe convinces, individual notes ring false. Tell No One star Cluzet overplays his heterosexual panic, which is sublimated into various near-slapstick routines. (Max even wages a Caddyshack-like war on the weasels that have infiltrated his vacation cottage.) And the soundtrack's lineup of Isley Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival and David Bowie songs may have nostalgic appeal in France, but just sounds motley over here.

Little White Lies simply tries too hard. What works are its offhand moments and gentle insights, not its comic shtick and overwrought grief. Rather than crafting a French film that will appeal to Americans, Canet has made one that's altogether too Hollywood to stand out in stateside cinemas.

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