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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.

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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!":


Vitamin D No Help For Colds

Oct 2, 2012
Originally published on October 4, 2012 9:53 am

Should you take Vitamin D supplements to prevent colds and shorten the misery?

Like other theories about the benefits of vitamin D, it seems like a reasonably good idea. After all, some lab studies suggest vitamin D might enhance immunity. And as everybody knows, people are more prone to respiratory infections during winter, when they cover up and get less vitamin D-generating sunlight.

The authoritative Institute of Medicine thought the notion was plausible enough to recommend more research on the possibility in its otherwise deflating report on vitamin D and health almost two years ago.

But a well-done study found zero difference in the incidence or duration of upper respiratory infections among 161 New Zealanders who took a hefty dose of vitamin D versus an equal number who took a fake pill. Participants were monitored for 18 months — longer than in previous studies.

The results appear in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Jeffrey Linder of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston says in an accompanying editorial that the findings suggests vitamin D should join the list of 13 other common-cold nostrums considered by the Cochrane Collaboration as ineffective, questionable or possibly harmful.

Those include Echinacea, zinc, steam inhalation, vitamin C, garlic, antihistamines, Chinese herbs, intranasal corticosteroids, intranasal ipratroprium (an asthma drug), extract of Pelargonium sidoides (a South African plant), nasal irrigation, extra fluid intake or antiviral drugs.

The vitamin D results are disappointing, Linder notes, since Americans suffer around a billion upper respiratory tract infections every year — three for every man, woman and child.

By the IOM's reckoning, the new study leaves a solid basis for vitamin D supplements only for bone health. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force earlier this year wasn't even convinced of that.

The IOM Report recommends most children and adults consume 600 to 800 international units of vitamin D a day and get their blood levels of the active form, 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25-OHD, to at least 20 nanograms per deciliter.

In the new study, volunteers who got the real vitamin D pills received 100,000 IUs per month, or about 3,300 units a day. That's more than five times the recommended daily allowance for adults.

The supplements increased volunteers' blood levels of 25-OHD from 29 (a near-normal level) to 43. Participants who achieved higher blood levels didn't do any better, in terms of frequency or severity of colds.

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