"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 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 made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Pages

Time To Trade The Lease For A Mortgage?

May 1, 2012
Originally published on May 9, 2012 10:44 am

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that in the first quarter of 2012, the American homeownership rate hit its lowest level in 15 years. During the housing boom, millions more Americans bought homes, bumping the rate to nearly 70 percent. Now, that buying spree has been replaced with millions of foreclosures, and most of those gains have been lost.

As the homeownership rate keeps falling, it has also become a very good time to buy a house. Very low interest rates, courtesy of the Federal Reserve, and falling prices are making it even cheaper to buy a house these days. Meanwhile, rents are rising around the country.

Ibeliz Rosa, 34, says she's been noticing the prices. Rosa works for a state adoption agency in Boston and her husband is a police officer. She says her landlord is raising her rent again this summer, up to around $1,600 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, and with two young kids, it's starting to get crowded.

"Our rent is like a mortgage right now," Rosa says, "so that also motivated us to get the goal that we wanted, which is a single home."

The couple has been approved for a loan through the nonprofit housing lender NACA and is in the process of buying a three-bedroom ranch house in a suburb outside Boston. Rosa says the house has a nice big backyard.

"I had a yard when I was growing up and I loved it," she says. "So I wanted a yard for the girls to be able to run free."

The American dream of owning a home appears to be alive and well, and, in most places, it's a good time to buy again.

"For big swaths of the United States, it now makes sense to buy and not rent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.

Nobody wants to see a return to the reckless lending days of the housing bubble, which boosted homeownership to an unnatural level, but the question going forward is this: Must the country return to its 1995 pre-bubble rate of around 64 percent homeownership? The rate has already fallen back to 65.4 percent.

NACA CEO Bruce Marks doesn't think so. He says lending standards have gotten too tight since the housing crash. "We've gone too far to the other extreme," he says.

According to Marks, millions of renters who are able to afford rental payments — especially as they've risen — should be able to qualify for home loans. So far, though, foreclosures are outnumbering first-time homebuyers, so the homeownership rate keeps falling.

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The rate of home ownership in the U.S. is at its lowest level in 15 years. That news from the Census Bureau this week. During the boom, home ownership rose dramatically to nearly 70 percent, but millions of foreclosures have erased most of those gains.

NPR's Chris Arnold reports on what may be next for the housing market.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: One thing that's striking is that, yes, the home ownership rate keeps falling, but in most of the country it's actually a very good time to buy a house.

IBELIZ ROSA: I noticed the prices. I'm like oh, my God. And everybody kept telling me that it's the time to buy.

ARNOLD: Ibeliz Rosa works for a state adoption agency in Boston. She's 34 years old. Her husband is a police officer.

ROSA: He just said, honey, we're ready.

ARNOLD: Thanks to the Federal Reserve, interest rates are very low right now. So combined with falling prices, that makes it even cheaper to own a house. Meanwhile, around the country, rents are rising. Rosa's landlord is raising her rent again this summer, up to around $1,600 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment.

ROSA: Our rent is like a mortgage right now. That also motivated us to get the goal that we wanted, which is a single home.

ARNOLD: The couple has been approved for a loan through a non-profit housing lender called NACA. And they're in the process of buying a 3-bedroom ranch house in a suburb outside Boston. She says the house has got a nice, big backyard.

ROSA: I had a yard when I was growing up and I loved it. So I wanted a yard for the girls to be able to run free and have them know what it is to be, you know, out there like that. So...

ARNOLD: So the American dream of home ownership appears to be alive and well. And in most places it also makes good financial sense again. Mark Zandi is chief economist of Moody's Analytics.

MARK ZANDI: For big swaths of the United States, it now makes sense to buy and not rent.

ARNOLD: Of course, nobody wants to see a return to the reckless lending days of the housing bubble to boost home ownership to some unnatural level. But the question going forward is must the country return to its rate of around 64 percent home ownership before the bubble? It's already fallen back to 65 and a half.

Do we have to go back to 64?

BRUCE MARKS: Absolutely not.

ARNOLD: Bruce Marks heads up NACA, the non-profit lender who is making the home loan to Ibeliz Rosa. He thinks that lending standards have gotten too tight since the housing crash.

MARKS: We've gone too far to the other extreme.

ARNOLD: Marks says basically millions of renters who are able to afford their rental payments - especially as those payments have risen - he says they should be able to qualify for home loans, too, if they want to. So far, though, foreclosures are outnumbering first time homebuyers and so that keeps pushing the home ownership rate lower.

Chris Arnold, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.