"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!":

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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In Washington, Leaking As A Way Of Life

Jun 15, 2012
Originally published on June 15, 2012 2:27 pm

A leak — in a pipeline, at a nuclear plant, within a top-secret agency — can be dangerous, disastrous, deadly. But sometimes a leak can also be a good thing — drawing attention to a larger systemic problem.

The debate over news leaks bubbled up again this week after reports that The New York Times relied on information from top-tier and unnamed U.S. officials to reveal details about the U.S. cyberbattle against Iran.

Some suggest that the leaks came from the White House, but President Obama publicly denies it. Some believe that releasing such sensitive information compromises national security; others maintain that the public's right to know trumps security concerns.

This week also marks the 40th anniversary of Watergate, a political scandal driven by leaked information. President Nixon was so concerned about leaks that he put together a group of "plumbers" whose mission was to seal the leaks. But the seal — and the scandal — broke, and Nixon was forced to resign.

In Washington, leaking has long been a way of life. And, certain people argue, leaks are necessary outgrowths of an open society. Bad or good, leaking in Washington is part of the landscape.

Mark Leibovich, a political reporter at The New York Times and author of a forthcoming book on the inner workings of Washington, says, "Leaks have acquired a pejorative, even sinister connotation, mostly because the people inside big, important organizations are always cursing, condemning them — or prosecuting people for them."

In fact, Leibovich says, "leaks are the pressure valves of democracy. They are outlets, sprung randomly — and sometimes rampantly — through which information escapes."

Leibovich explains that in most cases, "proper channels" communications amount to salesmanship and propaganda.

That, he says, "is the government's bodily waste."

A Brief Look At Leaks

From earliest America, the artful leak has led to scrutiny — and occasionally revision — of government. To quote Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: A small leak can sink a great ship.

In fact, as noted on the History.com website, Franklin himself was involved in a pre-Revolution leak scandal. While in England in 1772, Franklin was in receipt of more than a dozen private letters that revealed the anti-colonial sentiments of a royal governor. Somehow excerpts of the correspondence found their way into a Boston newspaper. The governor was chased out of the colonies, and Franklin was reprimanded by the Brits and returned to America, where he helped draft the Declaration of Independence.

More recent decades have brought Watergate and the Pentagon Papers case that saw The New York Times publish top-secret documents chronicling how the U.S. government misled the public and Congress about the Vietnam War; and the Valerie Plame affair, in which Plame's husband alleged that the George W. Bush administration let it leak that Plame worked for the CIA.

The mother lode of all leaks, of course, has been the WikiLeaks dump — a data drop of more than 1 million secret and classified items, including more than 250,000 documents from the U.S. State Department. WikiLeaks, which went online in 2008, has led to a fair number of stories and investigations.

The master leaker behind WikiLeaks is Julian Assange, whom some see as an e-hero and others an e-goat. On his site, Assange solicited under-the-table submissions of off-limits documents. Leakers came from out of the woodwork.

Leakers Among Us

Leaks can come from many sources, including:

  • Whistle-blowers: dismayed insiders who reveal essential, often sensitive information because they feel it is the right thing to do;
  • Ax grinders: disgruntled folks who use information as a weapon to inflict harm on another person or group;
  • Gossips: motormouth people who can't keep a secret and desire to be perceived as in-the-know about the story behind the story;
  • Cowards: those who render "inside" opinions in exchange for our indulgence of their cowardice (aka "anonymity");
  • Innocents: those who possess and speak of insider information but may not realize its import or the intent of the listener.

Leaks of sensitive information can be inadvertent or on purpose.

And, according to Mike Riley, the same is true about the leaks plumbers must confront day in and day out.

Owner of He-Man Plumbing in Palo Alto, Calif., Riley specializes in sewer and drain cleaning. He has a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University, so he understands the nature of leaks.

"There are two kinds of leaks that plumbers deal with," Riley says. "The first is the accidental leak" — those that come from burst pipes and dripping faucets.

"Then there is a second type of leak that is on purpose," he says. "Those come from fail-safe trip valves and other kinds of valves that are designed to provide relief when too much pressure builds up." The proliferation of those blowoff valves has virtually eliminated explosions of boilers and water heaters, Riley says.

Extolling the virtues of beneficial leaks — those that activate when too much power builds up in an enclosed environment — Riley sounds like a reporter.

And when reporter Leibovich talks, he alludes to the plumbing. "As reporters," he says, "we rely on leaks as nutrients for our stories, allowing us to flush away the bodily waste of 'proper channel' spin."

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