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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

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!":


'Persona 4 Arena' Digs Deep Into The Teenage Heart Of Battle

Aug 21, 2012

Persona 4 Arena
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on PlayStation 3

The quirky, the odd and the eerie. As a videogame publisher, Atlus has become the expert in making the strange into the popular. It released Demon's Souls, a horror-filled role playing game that was so unrepentantly unforgiving, even hard core gamers complained (even as they continued playing). Last year, Atlus' Catherine was a long meditation upon the nightmarish angst and fear that can emerge when trust fails a young relationship.

Last week, the company released a peculiar spinoff of its 15-year-old Persona role playing game series. Persona 4 Arena is a fighting game that takes place in suburban and rural Japan, not in the glitz of Tokyo. Often, a fighting game relies on superheroic characters like the vituperative, blade-wielding Nightmare in the SoulCalibur series. Or they can be caricatures of human types like the superpowerful Ryu in the Street Fighter series.

But Arena substantially sets itself apart from these other games of pugilism because the Persona series has rarely relied upon the more well-worn stereotypes of heroes or humans in its games. Instead, the Japanese franchise features a passel of teens who can reach into their burgeoning brains to summon their alternate beings. The Persona games' inspiration is partly derived from Jungian psychology, including the idea of collective unconscious and of archetypes.

When you begin Arena's story mode, you feel as though you're reading a graphic novel that's occasionally animated. The text-filled tale, as complex as it is long-winded, revolves around one of the four high schoolers you choose to become in the game. I became Chie Satonaka, a tomboy-ish high school junior, because I was drawn to the quirky description below her name on the main menu. It says she loves justice, kung fu ... and steak.

As the teens come together for a reunion, Chie, who wants to join the police force when she grows up, begins to investigate a re-emergence of something called "The Midnight Channel." Within the channel is a TV network that's also a portal to a world where Chie's Persona can be called upon as she battles very close friends who have unexplainably become enemies. "The Midnight Channel" is made into the weirdest of Twilight Zone episodes by Teddie, an anthropomorphic, cross-dressing bear who's been transformed into a cigar-smoking general. (I told you the game was curious.)

So when a character like Chie constantly second-guesses herself and within moments pumps her ego up to the point of swagger in Story Mode, it works because you expect anything and everything to happen. And when you finally play her character within a TV show co-hosted by what can only be described as the Japanese version of Gossip Girl, you understand fully her motivations, her weaknesses and her strengths.

Before each match, each character uses the nastiest of psychological throwdowns to get a leg up in the coming round. The battles that ensue are rife with speedy action. Chie becomes kind of a mash-up of Gabby Douglas and Claressa Shields, flipping and spinning and dragon kicking, punching, bouncing, double jumping. It's an amusement park of acrobatics. Then with the press of a button, she turns into her Persona, Tomoe, a samurai who wields something that looks like an oar with blades on either end. All the while, there's beauty in the strangeness, in the rendering of the protagonists, in the wide-ranging story and in the gameplay.

Persona 4 Arena features hundreds of fighter moves and eight spirited fighting modes, including online battles with a broadband connection. But it's the Story Mode that compels you to continue, because Chie and her cohorts feel real even when their world is at its wackiest. Chie makes you remember the gnawing ache of learning to grow and mature in a world that seems to be against you. And she makes you happy that you don't have to relive that particular bout of teenage mishegas. After an hour or so of play, you can leave the story and the arena for an adult world that is only sometimes rife with indecision, self-doubt and pain.

Harold Goldberg is the author of All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How 50 Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture.

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