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 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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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!":


Holy Bat Virus! Genome Hints At Origin Of SARS-Like Virus

Sep 28, 2012
Originally published on September 28, 2012 2:50 pm

On the surface, the new coronavirus detected in the Middle East this month looks quite similar to SARS. It apparently causes severe respiratory problems, and can be lethal.

But with viruses, the devil is in their details — the genetic details.

Dutch virologists have just published the whole genome of the new coronavirus — all 30,118 letters of its code. And, the sequence reveals that the mystery virus is most closely related to coronaviruses that infect bats in Southeast Asia.

In fact, the pathogen is more similar to two bat viruses than it is to the human SARS virus that sent the world into a panic when it infected nearly 8,000 people in 2003.

Virologist Ron Fouchier, who has done controversial work on bird flu viruses, led the sequencing effort of the SARS-like virus. He tells Shots the results suggest that the new coronavirus virus came from bats. "Bats harbor many coronaviruses, so it's logical to assume that bats are the natural reservoir" of the new pathogen, he says.

"But this doesn't mean the Saudi man contracted the virus from bats," says Fouchier.

When viruses jump from animals to humans, there's usually a second animal that connects the natural carrier with humans. This species is called the amplifier because it increases the number of viral particles that can hop over into people.

With SARS, Fouchier says, it probably started off in bats and then jumped into an exotic animal, such as a civet cat, before it made its way to people.

This type of infection trajectory fits with what epidemiologists have seen, so far, for the new coronavirus.

In the past few weeks, John Watson and his team at Britain's Health Protection Agency have tracked down about 60 people who recently came in contact with one of the men infected with the virus. "None of these contacts have become seriously ill or shown any sign of being infected with the virus," Watson tells Shots.

Plus, there's nothing special happening where the sick man lived, such as an uptick in cases of respiratory illnesses. This is strong evidence that the virus came from an animal and that it probably can't yet move between people.

But to know for sure, Watson says, scientists need to find more cases of the new virus.

The genome sequence will be a big help on this front. Fouchier and his team just published a diagnostic test for the new virus, which doctors around the world can use to verify suspected cases of the disease.

Fouchier says that the genome may also give clues to drugs that may be effective against the virus.

Companies can also begin to design vaccines for the virus, Fouchier adds. "There are experimental vaccines for SARS, and these could be updated to work on the virus," he says. "All knowledge that we built for SARS is not lost."

So what's he doing next? First, taking a few steps backward. "We still need proof that the virus is the cause of the disease," he says. "We are currently starting animal experiments with macaques and ferrets to show that this virus actually makes animals sick. Many viruses don't."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit