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 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 http://www.npr.org/.

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.

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Honey, The Americans Shrank The Apple Trees

Oct 8, 2012

When Zarrina Mulloboeva got invited to go apple picking the other day, she thought it would be a taste of home. She's an exchange student from Tajikistan, in central Asia — a country close to the ancestral homeland of apples. Her uncle has a small orchard. In fact, when Mulloboeva came to the United States six weeks ago, she brought with her a large bottle of homemade dried apple slices.

But when Mulloboeva arrived at the orchard, she was startled to find that in America, this land of skyscrapers and super-sized portions, the apple trees are midgets. Back in Tajikistan, apples hang on trees that are big as houses, and it takes real work to get at them. Here, she didn't even need a ladder.

Actually, American apple trees used to be big, too. So what made them shrink? Very simple: Dwarfing rootstocks.

"It all began a hundred years ago," says Gennaro Fazio, a geneticist with the USDA's Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, New York. In 1913, Fazio says, a scientist named Ronald Hatton went to work at a new agricultural research center in the small town of East Malling, in England. There, he started to catalog the "rootstocks" being used by apple growers across Europe.

Apple growers have known for centuries that they can graft together the roots of one tree variety with the fruit-bearing branches of another. That way, they can create a tree that combines the best of both: strong, disease-resistant roots with branches that yield delicious apples.

Hatton was intrigued by "a group of rootstocks that will dwarf the tree and make it more productive," says Fazio. Essentially, those roots channel the tree's energy away from making wood and toward growing fruit. He published information about them and distributed several of the most promising ones to apple growers.

But it took a long time for the industry to come around to more petite trees, Fazio says. Most growers couldn't believe that small trees could be more productive than big ones. With time, though, growers realized that if they used dwarfing rootstocks and planted their trees closer together, they could increase their harvest of apples per acre by 200 to 300 percent.

And they also discovered it's a lot easier to pick the fruit from dwarf trees and spray them, too (if you are inclined to spray your trees).

By now, smaller trees are the rule in the United States and Europe. In many other places, though — including the central Asian homeland of apples — you'll still need a tall ladder to get your hands on the fruit.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.