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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 arbitration at 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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Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

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5 Things You May Not Know About Rick Perry

Dec 14, 2011
Originally published on December 15, 2011 11:36 am

The eyes of Texas have been upon James Richard "Rick" Perry ever since he boot-scootin' boogied onto the public-service stage. Now political observers are watching Perry's fortunes fluctuate as a Republican candidate for president.

Political junkies have followed the career of Perry — an Eagle Scout, veterinary student and son of a farmer and a bookkeeper — from his initial election as a Democrat to the state House of Representatives in 1984. They have studied his endorsement of Al Gore for president in 1988. They watched him as he changed parties in 1989.

Perry was successful on the Republican side of the aisle as well, going on to win elections as head of the Texas Department of Agriculture in 1990, and lieutenant governor — under Gov. George W. Bush — in 1998. When Bush became president, Perry two-stepped in as governor in 2000 and has been re-elected ever since.

The Lone Star cognoscenti will tell you that Perry is pro-gun, anti-abortion and an opponent of same-sex marriage. He believes in cutting taxes, rolling back regulations, balancing the budget and increasing domestic energy production. Here are a few other things folks will tell you about Perry that you might not know:

1. He helped build the annual Aggie bonfires. As a college student at Texas A&M University, Perry was on the construction crews of the traditional bonfires built each season before the rivalry football game with the University of Texas. When a 40-foot tower of logs collapsed in 1999 and killed 12 people, Texas A&M stopped sanctioning the yearly event. At the time, Perry — then lieutenant governor — was asked about the tragedy. He explained the tradition to The New York Times: "This is an extraordinary coming together of the student body to build this bonfire. ... It is very much a part of Aggie lore and traditions and values. It represents great teamwork. It represents friendship."

2. He once made lawn mower safety a campaign issue. When incumbent Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower cut his finger on a lawn mower blade in 1990, challenger Perry told The Associated Press: "This incident fully emphasizes his total lack of common sense. ... It's probably a good thing Hightower is not a farmer, because there are machines much more dangerous than lawn mowers on the farm, like shredders and bush hogs and balers."

3. He had to settle for just being governor. "Texas constitutional and statutory law give more formal power to the lieutenant governor than to the governor," says Harvey Tucker, a political science professor at Perry's alma mater, Texas A&M. In times past, Tucker explains, "a Texas lieutenant governor who became governor — when that position became vacant — might want to retain the title and power of lieutenant governor while serving as governor." But in November of 1999, the Texas Constitution was amended to prevent anyone from serving as both lieutenant governor and governor. Tucker adds: "Rick Perry was the first lieutenant governor affected by this change."

4. He loves The Wizard of Oz. "During our interview," wrote veteran Perry watcher Paul Burka in a 2002 Texas Monthly profile, Gov. Perry "mentioned that his 'favorite movie of all time' is The Wizard of Oz. For him it has lessons that translate to politics. (No, no, it's not that you can get along without a brain.) To Perry, political power is often an illusion, a little man behind a curtain projecting an image."

5. He is a record-setter. According to Harvey Tucker, Perry holds state records for a) total time serving as Texas governor and b) consecutive time serving as Texas governor. He has been governor since Dec. 21, 2000. The previous record for total served, eight years, was held by Republican William P. Clements, who was in office January 1979 to January 1983, and January 1987 to January 1991. To boot, Tucker says, Perry continues to extend both records.

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