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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!":


Out-Of-The-Ordinary Animation In 'ParaNorman'

Aug 16, 2012

Even if most fans of hand-drawn animation have made peace, to a degree, with digital technology, the pleasures of old-school stop-motion animation are still rare and precious. There's something elemental about watching a movie that's been made by moving small figures around and filming them, frame by frame; even though there's always some digital technology involved in the making of a contemporary stop-motion film, the human touch always sings through the finished product.

That's certainly the case with Sam Fell and Chris Butler's ParaNorman, the story of a misfit New England kid who hears the voices of the dead — and who finds himself having to appease a group of zombies who, in their incarnation as human beings some 300 years ago, were responsible for sentencing a young "witch" to death.

Norman (whose voice is provided by Kodi Smit-McPhee) feels out of place everywhere: At school he's tormented by brainless, oversized bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin'). At home his bubblehead sister (Anna Kendrick) wants nothing to do with him, and his father (Jeff Garlin) grouses about Norman's love for zombie movies and the fact that he insists he can communicate with his dead grandmother, voiced by Elaine Stritch; Norman can see her, as we can, sitting grouchily on the family sofa, working away at a piece of knitting.

Norman's mom (Leslie Mann) feebly tries to defend her son, claiming that he's "sensitive." Dad is having none of it: " 'Sensitive' is writing poetry and being bad at team sports," he claims. In his eyes, Norman is something worse than a sensitive kid: He's a weirdo.

Norman, it turns out, has the ability to save his town, even if its miserable, insecure inhabitants don't exactly deserve saving. Of course, you've heard this one before: The story ParaNorman tells isn't a new one, and it doesn't have to be. (Butler, in addition to co-directing, wrote the script.)

But the movie is packed with too many characters and weighed down by superfluous plot details — the storytelling keeps wriggling out of Fell and Butler's grasp. That drains some of ParaNorman's potentially supernatural powers; it isn't nearly as enjoyable as Henry Selick's 2009 shivery work of genius Coraline, which, like ParaNorman, was produced by LAIKA, a collective of filmmakers, designers and animators working in 2-D computer-generated and stop-motion animation. (Butler served as a storyboard supervisor on Coraline.)

Yet in terms of its overall design and execution, ParaNorman doesn't disappoint: Even when the story goes all noodly, there's always something to look at, some detail or visual gag that tickles or delights. Norman is a beautifully designed character, a wispy kid with wheat-grass hair and sugar-bowl ears — he looks like an exceedingly depressed Jared Leto rendered in miniature. The bags under his eyes speak of heavy thoughts and sleepless nights; his special gifts are more like a sack o' woe.

The town's forefather-zombies are similarly sympathetic: They limp through the streets looking for salvation, not trouble, dragging parts of their rotting carcasses behind them. Their eyeballs bulge; their mouths hang open helplessly. The living misunderstand them completely, pursuing them with guns, cutlery and even toilet plungers.

Indeed as pleas for tolerance go, ParaNorman is a wickedly funny one. And its climactic moment is both gorgeous and terrible, a ghostly howl of disappointment and grief that, thankfully, settles into a shimmering, translucent sense of peace and well-being.

The spirit of great stop-motion animators like George Pal and Ray Harryhausen lives on in ParaNorman, and not just as a ghost: It's so real you could almost reach out and touch it.

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