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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!":


Insurance Costs Rise, But More Slowly

Sep 11, 2012
Originally published on September 12, 2012 7:44 am

If you get health insurance on the job, chances are it cost more again this year.

Annual family health insurance premiums rose about 4 percent to $15,745 in 2012, according to the latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust.

Now that's a fairly modest increase by historical standards, and well down from last year's 9 percent. Still, it's more than double the 1.7 percent increase in average wages and way above the 2.3 percent rate of general inflation this year.

"In terms of employee insurance costs, this year's 4 percent increase qualifies as a good year, but it still takes a growing bit out of middle-class workers' wages, which have been flat or falling in real terms," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.

Why the slowdown? One big reason may lie in a general decline in health care use. As the economy sputtered, people tended to be more reluctant to use health care services. At the same time, employers passed more of the costs to workers — in the form of higher premium and cost sharing, making them more reluctant still.

One new finding in this year's survey is that firms that employ mostly lower-wage workers (those earning $24,000 annually or less) are more likely to offer coverage with high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs than firms that have mostly higher-paid (more than $55,000 annually) workers. At the firms with many lower-paid workers, 44 percent of those with coverage face an annual deductible of $1,000 or more, compared to only 29 percent of those at higher-paying firms.

Given that the survey comes in the midst of a presidential election campaign, the natural question will be what impact President Obama's Affordable Care Act has had on the better-than-expected results.

The answer: Not much.

"We're still waiting for a lot of the important provisions to take effect for small firms," said Kaiser's Gary Claxton. That won't happen until 2014.

That didn't stop opponents of the law, however, from blaming it for the increases — or rather, blaming it for not stopping the increases altogether.

"Candidate Obama said repeatedly his bill would CUT premiums by an average of $2,500 per family — meaning premiums would go DOWN, not merely just 'go up by less than projected.' The campaign also promised that that those reductions would occur within Obama's first term," said a release from the Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee.

But the survey did point out at least one clear — and popular — result of one of the health law's early benefits. It found 2.9 million young adults (up to age 26) are currently covered on their parents' plans who otherwise wouldn't have employer coverage. That's up from 2.3 million a year earlier.

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