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 http://www.npr.org/.

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!":

Pages

Yet Again, Congo Faces The Specter Of Civil War

Sep 9, 2012
Originally published on September 9, 2012 1:43 pm

For years, armed militias have been stalking the lush forests in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, committing all sorts of atrocities against villagers. And now one of the most war-ravaged countries in the world has another looming problem: an emerging rebel group.

"A notorious group of human rights violators" is how the U.N. human rights commissioner describes the group, known as the March 23 Movement, or M23.

Reportedly led by a Tutsi warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court, M23 has been accused of rape, murder and child-soldier recruitment.

The group controls a chunk of eastern Congo larger than Delaware that's full of clear plunging rivers, endless arbors of banana plants and desperately poor villagers. The U.N. accuses neighboring Rwanda of backing the rebels, a charge Rwanda denies.

Seeking A New Image

The M23 is working hard to create a kinder, gentler image of itself through a website, daily press releases and invitations to journalists to come see for themselves.

On a Sunday morning, a Catholic congregation sings hosannas, while militiamen shouldering assault rifles and an oboe-shaped grenade launcher patrol the main street of Rutshuru, a town near the borders of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

The rebels are trying to show that they can administer this and other settlements in neglected North Kivu Province better than the central government in Kinshasa, which is far away on the western side of the huge country.

"When you look at the whole of [Congo], there are high [levels] of corruption, no proper leadership, no proper governance of people," says M23's spokesman Vianney Kazarama.

"In this territory they've taken, they want to stop issues of corruption, they want to govern the people within the law, that's what they're intending to do," Kazarama says.

But many are skeptical of such claims.

Similarities To Previous Rebel Group

M23 is made up of soldiers and officers who deserted the Congolese Army earlier this year over a variety of grievances.

Human rights investigators say the insurgents are a retread of an earlier rebel band that operated in this same sector a few years ago. They extorted shopkeepers, abused civilians and answered to Gen. Bosco "the Terminator" Ntaganda — a fugitive who's wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Kazarama vehemently denies Ntaganda is the rebels' commander.

What do the residents of the region say about M23?

It depends on where you talk to them.

A stationery shop owner named Emanuel on Rutshuru's main street says in the month since M23 took over, the rebels have repaired the town water tank and its generator. A half-dozen store owners interviewed said the rebels are not mistreating people.

But the story is rather different in a transit camp across the border in Uganda run by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees. Forty-thousand people fleeing North Kivu have passed through.

Evacuees sleep in big white tents. They cook pots of corn mush on firepits of volcanic rocks. And to a person, they condemn M23.

A group of young men say they ran away because M23 forcibly recruits fighting-age youths into its ranks. One shows the identify card of his dead older brother and says he was shot in the head when he ran.

A short distance away, a fleshy woman in a blue headscarf named Nyira speaks up.

"They go to a man's home and ask him for money, and if he does not have it, they beat him up and rape the woman. That's what they do," she says.

A Ravaged Region

The weary villagers of eastern Congo have a long history of abusive treatment.
From 1998 to 2003, the country descended into a civil war in which nine African nations and some 20 armed groups fought each other.

The war is believed to have killed millions, not just from fighting, but from disease and malnutrition. Despite a peace accord in 2003, the conflict never really ended in the east.

The fear today is that the emergence of the M23 will reignite a wider regional conflict.

Frederick Golooba, a Ugandan political scientist with expertise in the African Great Lakes region, says it's simplistic to say M23 is motivated by power and brigandry.

"The M23, at least from the claims they make, and this is backed up by some historical evidence, are motivated by a desire to protect their community," he says. "Because they are Tutsis."

Much of the violence that continues to convulse eastern Congo has its roots in Tutsi-Hutu hatred that led to the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

M23's command is largely composed of Tutsi officers who seized this territory to protect the interests of their ethnic group, says Jason Stearns, an author and analyst who studies armed groups in the region.

"But certainly in private, they're telling people the only way we can maintain our interests — economic, political and security — is to have our own country," he says.

Despite its public relations, M23 will have a hard time building international sympathy for an autonomous Tutsi state within the DRC. Human Rights Watch is releasing a report on M23 that documents cases of civilian executions, rape and torture — mainly against Hutus.

What's more, the U.N. reports that M23 has made alliances with other renegade militias far outside of its territory to create a united rebel front against the Congolese government.

Regional security ministers are meeting in Uganda this week to decide a course of action to try to avert a widening war in eastern Congo.

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now, to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the most war-ravaged regions in the world. Armed militias stalk the lush forests committing all sorts of atrocities against villagers in the name of this or that ideology. Now, the DRC is in the midst of more mayhem. A rebel group known as M23 has carved out a kingdom for itself.

And NPR's John Burnett paid them a visit.

JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: A notorious group of human rights violators is how the U.N. human rights commissioner describes them. Reportedly led by a Tutsi warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court, the M23 Movement has been accused of rape, murder, and child soldier recruitment. They control a piece of eastern Congo larger than Delaware, full of clear plunging rivers, endless arbors of banana plants and desperately poor villagers. The U.N. accuses neighboring Rwanda of backing the rebels, a charge Rwanda denies.

The M23 is working hard to create a kinder, gentler image of itself through a website, daily press releases and invitations to journalists to come see for themselves.

CROWD: (Singing) Hallelujah...

BURNETT: On a Sunday morning, a Catholic congregation sings hosannas while a column of militiamen, shouldering assault rifles and an oboe-shaped grenade launcher, patrols the main street of Rutshuru. The rebels are trying to show that they can administer this and other settlements in neglected North Kivu Province better than the central government in Kinshasa.

M23's spokesman is Colonel Vianney Kazarama.

COLONEL VIANEY KAZARAMA: (Through Translator) When you look at the whole of DRC, there is high stakes of corruption, there's no proper leadership, there's no proper governance of the people. So for them, in this territory they have taken, they want to stop the issues of corruption. They want to govern the people within the law. That's what they're intending to do.

BURNETT: Which is a mouthful coming from this particular group of men with guns. M23 is made up of soldiers and officers who deserted the Congolese Army earlier this year over a variety of grievances. Human rights investigators say the insurgents are a retread of an earlier rebel band that operated in this same sector a few years ago. They extorted tradesmen, abused civilians and answered to the now-fugitive General Bosco "The Terminator" Ntaganda, who's wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

KAZARAMA: (Foreign language spoken)

BURNETT: Kazarama vehemently denies Ntaganda is their commander.

What do the locals say about M23? It depends on where you talk to them.

EMANUEL: (Foreign language spoken)

BURNETT: A stationery shop owner named Emanuel, on Rutshuru's main street, says in the month since M23 took over, the rebels have repaired the town water tank and its generator. A half-dozen store owners interviewed said the rebels are not mistreating people.

The story is rather different here in the transit camp across the border in Uganda, run by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Forty thousand people fleeing North Kivu have passed through here.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONVERSATIONS)

BURNETT: Evacuees sleep in big white relief tents, cook pots of corn mush on fire pits of volcanic rocks and, to a person, they condemn M23.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

BURNETT: A group of young men say they ran away because M23 forcibly recruits fighting-age youths into its ranks. One shows the identify card of his dead older brother he says was shot in the head when he ran.

A short distance away, a fleshy woman in a blue headscarf named Nyira speaks up.

NYIRA: (Through Translator) They go to a man's house and ask him for money. And if he does not have it, they beat him up and rape the woman. That's what they do.

BURNETT: The weary villagers of eastern Congo have a long history of abusive treatment. From 1998 to 2003, the DRC, then Zaire, descended into a civil war in which nine African nations and some 20 armed groups fought each other. The war is believed to have killed millions, not from fighting, but from disease and malnutrition. Despite a peace accord in 2003, the conflict never really ended in the east. The fear today is that the emergence of the M23 will reignite a wider regional conflict.

Frederick Golooba, a Ugandan political scientist with expertise in the African Great Lakes region, says it's simplistic to say that M23 is motivated by power and brigandry, as other militias are.

FREDERICK GOLOOBA: The M23, at least from the claims they make, and which can be backed up by some historical evidence, are motivated by a desire to protect their community. Because they are Tutsis.

BURNETT: Much of the violence that continues to convulse eastern Congo has its roots in Tutsi-Hutu hatred that led to the Rwanda genocide. M23's command is largely composed of Tutsi officers who seized this territory to protect the interests of their ethnic group, says Jason Stearns, an author and analyst who studies armed groups in the region.

JASON STEARNS: But certainly in private, they're telling people the only way we can really maintain our interests - economic, political, security - is to have our own country.

BURNETT: Despite its public relations, M23 will have a hard time building international sympathy for an autonomous Tutsi state within the DRC. Human Rights Watch is releasing a report on M23 that documents cases of executions of civilians, rape and torture whose victims are mainly Hutus.

What's more, the U.N. reports that M23 has made alliances with other renegade militias far outside of its territory, to create a united rebel front against the Congolese government. Regional security ministers are meeting in Uganda this week to decide a course of action to try and avert a widening war in eastern Congo.

John Burnett, NPR News, Nairobi.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.