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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!":


Neil Gaiman Posts Note From Actress With A Role In 'Innocence Of Muslims'

Sep 17, 2012

Details are still emerging about the people who made Innocence of Muslims, a purportedly feature-length film whose online trailer has ignited anti-U.S. protests and violence in Egypt, Libya and other nations. Some of the actors involved have publicly rejected the film — and that list now includes actress Anna Gurji, who asked writer Neil Gaiman for help in making her story public.

As Mark wrote earlier today, the family of the man behind the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, seems to have joined him in hiding. And Nakoula, who is on probation for fraud, is "a naturalized U.S. citizen of Egyptian descent and a Coptic Christian," as describes him.

This morning, Gaiman posted "A Letter from a Scared Actress," which he introduced by explaining that he met Gurji a few years ago, when she contacted him before she moved to the United States from the Republic of Georgia. She later auditioned for a part in a film that the writer will be in.

"So I've acted with Anna and spent time with her," Gaiman writes. "She's a good sort."

The actress recently sent Gaiman a note saying that "something very bad happened" — and she needed help and advice.

"Last summer I auditioned for an indie low budget feature movie and I landed a supporting role," Gurji wrote, according to Gaiman. "The movie was about a comet falling into a desert and ancient tribes fighting over it for they thought that the comet had some magical powers."

"A year later, the movie was dubbed (without the actors' permission), the lines were changed drastically and the movie was morphed into an Anti-Islam film. Even the names of the characters were changed. And the character I had scenes with GEORGE became MUHAMMAD."

You'll likely recognize the film at Innocence of Muslims. And the actress's story matches details provided by Cindy Lee Garcia, a California actress who told Gawker, "It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago.... It wasn't based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn't anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything."

Both actresses say their voices were dubbed at various points in the film — for instance, the word "Muhammed" was inserted into the audio as they spoke.

Responding to Gurji, Gaiman suggested she write a letter explaining her participation in the film. She responded with a highly personal account of the production, and her own life.

After auditioning for the part of "Hilary" in the summer of 2011, Gurji writes, she got the job. Filming took place in August of the same year. And while she never received a full script, Gurji says that she never had any reason to doubt the project was anything other than an indie film called "Desert Warrior."

"The director Alan Roberts even had plans that with this low budget product he would be able to get some more money to make a good quality version," she writes.

Time passed without word of a premiere; then the extended trailer for the film appeared online, meeting a violent reaction in the Middle East.

"I feel shattered," Gurji wrote. She later added, "I want to send my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. Everything happens for a reason, they say. I believe this is a trap of evil to separate us from our humanity. We must stray strong and not forget that violence has not been able to get us anywhere spiritually and has not been able to make the world a better place."

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