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

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!":


Scientists Go Deep On Genes Of SARS-Like Virus

Sep 26, 2012
Originally published on September 28, 2012 2:51 pm

When an unknown virus emerges, disease detectives turn to gene sequencers — not magnifying glasses — to identify the culprit.

So when a new type of coronavirus killed a man in Saudia Arabia and hospitalized another in the U.K., investigators got cracking.

Both patients showed symptoms similar SARS. But thanks to fast and accurate gene sequencing, health officials quickly realized that this isn't SARS or even a known coronavirus that causes colds. Rather it's a totally new virus that needs to be handled with caution until more is known about it.

Yesterday scientists at Britain's Health Protection Agency partially decoded the new virus's genetic sequence. They've placed the virus on the family tree of coronaviruses. And even given it a temporary name, which I have to warn you is quite a mouthful: London1_novel CoV 2012.

The virus appears to be most closely related to a cluster of bat viruses, and "it is genetically very different than SARS," Ralph Baric, a microbiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tells Shots.

But the DNA sequence isn't just a tool for hanging the virus on the right branch of the family tree. It has helped health workers rapidly respond to the disease in ways they couldn't when SARS emerged in China in 2002.

With the virus's code at their fingertips, health workers alerted the WHO about the potential dangers of the virus just three weeks after the second patient showed symptoms.

With the SARS epidemic, it took over three months — and hundreds of infected people — before the WHO was contacted. That epidemic caused over 8,000 infections and killed nearly a thousand people.

This rapid detection of new viruses, Baric says, is due in part to a technology, called deep sequencing. The method allows scientists to differentiate closely related viruses and ones that are rapidly mutating. Deep sequencing decodes genes at a very high level of accuracy so even small changes are visible.

Since the SARS epidemic, virologists have used deep sequencing to discover dozens of new coronavirus in bats, badgers, birds and humans from around the world. They've built a family tree of coranviruses with these sequences showing how the viruses relate to each other.

When a new virus appears on the scene, like the London strain, scientists can quickly sequence it and figure out where it fits in. If it sits on top of a known pathogen, then doctors may have a good idea of how to counter it. If it's completely new, as in this case, health workers can alert the WHO and take extra precautions before it spreads.

The genetic code for the new coronavirus also gives doctors a tool for quickly finding new cases, Baric say. They can even go "back in time and see if the virus caused other strange respiratory illnesses over the past few months."

"It is fairly common for doctors to keep samples from fatal respiratory cases," Baric says. Doctors can now sequence the samples and look for the new virus's genes.

Baric thinks these types of tools make deep sequencing "one of the most important advances in public health."

"There's tremendous expertise and capabilities for identifying and tracking new viruses" he says. "This is a huge public health advantage and it's been put in place [since the SARS epidemic] to protect the global health."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit