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.


Nobel Winners Unlocked Cells' Unlimited Potential

Oct 8, 2012
Originally published on October 8, 2012 3:28 pm

The two scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine discovered that cells in our body have the remarkable ability to reinvent themselves. They found that every cell in the human body, from our skin and bones to our heart and brain, can be coaxed into forming any other cell.

The process is called reprogramming, and its potential for new drugs and therapies is vast. If neurons or heart cells are damaged by disease or aging, then cells from the skin or blood potentially could be induced to reprogram themselves and repair the damaged tissue.

The winners — John Gurdon of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, England, and Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan and the Gladstone Institute in San Francisco — made their discoveries more than 40 years apart.

In 1962, Gurdon proved that a cell from a frog's stomach contained the entire blueprint to make a whole frog. When he took the cell's nucleus and popped it into a frog egg, the egg developed into a normal frog.

This method eventually was used to clone all sorts of animals, including cats, dogs, horses and, most famously, Dolly the sheep — the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. Gurdon, 79, continues to study reprogramming and was working in his lab when he received the call from the Nobel committee.

But a major obstacle stood in the way of further development of these stem cells: Getting the frog's stomach cell to strip away its specialization and turn into one of the 200 or so cell types known to exist in animals always required the use of an egg.

A question hung over the field for decades: Could a specialized cell reprogram itself all on its own?

In 2006, Yamanaka and graduate student Kazutoshi Takahashi found the answer, and it sent shockwaves through biology and medicine. They demonstrated that any cell could be reset and induced to develop into another cell type. And, even more remarkably, that it took little to get the job done.

Yamanaka and Takahashi took some cells from the skin of a mouse and then switched on four specific genes. After a few weeks, the cells stopped looking like skin cells and starting looking more like embryonic stem cells. That meant the cells could then be manipulated to develop into just about any cell Yamanaka wanted. He could even get the cells to form heart muscle that beat inside a Petri dish.

Yamanaka, 50, had essentially unlocked a cellular genie in the bottle. The discovery meant that a cell wasn't necessarily trapped in its fate to be, say, a skin, liver or heart cell. Rather, with the right instructions, a cell had the ability to strip away its specialization and become whatever cell the scientists chose. They called these new cells "induced pluripotent stem cells."

The landmark finding triggered thousands of studies. Researchers quickly wanted to learn how these new stem cells could be used to treat a vast array of diseases, such as Alzheimer's, muscular dystrophy and diabetes.

Although stem cell treatments for these diseases are still quite far away, the induced pluriopotent stem cells are turning out to be invaluable tools for studying hundreds of diseases. They can serve as a platform for screening drugs or for even simply testing how a patient will respond to a particular medicine.

The discoveries by Gurdon and Yamanaka have opened up a new era in personalized medicine, where each person's own cells may one day serve not only as a reservoir for fixing damaged tissue, but also as research tools for deciphering how diseases work inside each person's unique body.

Induced pluripotent stem cells also offer a possible alternative to human embryonic stem cells, which are controversial because they are obtained from embryos.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.