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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.

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.

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!":

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A Leap Of The Imagination Across The 'River Of Bees'

Sep 20, 2012
Originally published on September 20, 2012 11:09 am

Ursula Le Guin comes immediately to mind when you turn the pages of Kij Johnson's first book of short stories, her debut collection is that impressive. The title piece has that wonderful power we hope for in all fiction we read, the surprising imaginative leap that takes us to recognize the marvelous in the everyday.

"It starts with a bee sting," Johnson opens, as a woman named Linna leaves Seattle to take her dying dog on a salutary road trip through the intermountain West and finds the road is blocked east of Missoula by a bizarre phenomenon, which Johnson describes in perfectly metaphorical terms. "The air above the road," we read, "truly is flowing darkness, like ink dropped in moving water." Linna asks the driver of the Montana state police SUV parked at the side of the road about the nature of the delay.

"The Bee River is currently flooding east- and westbound lanes of 94, ma'am," he explains. He suggests some alternate routes to some other drivers stalled there along with Linna and Sam. She chooses, instead, to follow the river to its mouth, and off on this quest she goes, dog beside her.

Alongside the straightforward realism of her travels, we read of her sightings of the river, which Johnson gives us in more lovely lyric sentences whenever it appears. When she first gets on the trail of its source, the "sky lightens," turning from pearl to lavender to blue, while the river remains "a dark mist like the shifting of a flock of flying starlings, like a pillar of gnats over a highway in hot August dusk, like a million tiny fish changing direction. South to north, the river runs like cooling lava, like warm molasses. It might be 8 feet deep, though in places is much less, in others much more. It changes as she watches ... "

There's an attractive, even compelling variation on this motif of following or crossing mysterious waters in the novella-length "The Man Who Bridged the Mist." In this long and consistently delightful piece of story-making, Johnson reverses the polarities and sets the tone of her tale — about a mythical empire divided nearly in half by a river composed of a constantly shifting and evolving skein of mist — much more as fantasy than real. The effect is, again, quite lyrical.

In the story called "Fox Magic," which Johnson created out of her research into the nature of the fantastic in Japanese culture, the unfolding of the story — about a vixen who falls in love with a feudal nobleman and bewitches him into thinking she is a royal personage who has fallen in love with him — comes in bursts of events that I found bewitching in themselves, as when the she-fox first begins her campaign to cloud the man's mind and win his love:

"The fox-path was long and wandering. We walked along it until we saw lights. 'Home,' I said, and took his hand and led him the last few steps. He was lost in the magic then, and didn't notice that he had to enter my beautiful house by lying belly-down in the dirt and wriggling under the storehouse."

I was just as bewitched by this story as by the way Johnson handles the science-fiction material. In "Dia Chjerman's Tale," she delivers an entire space epic in a few masterly pages. "Spar" gives us the rush of a sexual escapade between a human woman and an alien that doesn't just push the envelope — it seals it, and sends it off into the mail. But it's "The Horse Raiders" that reminded me most of Le Guin, with its deeply imagined sense of distant other-planetary culture, its powerful female narrator, its vital sense of life, wherever we happen to live it, on Earth or in some distant constellation that's dying in a corner of the sky.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.