Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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.


5 Years Later: Calderon's War On Cartels

Dec 9, 2011
Originally published on December 9, 2011 10:35 am



This Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of Mexican President Felipe Calderon declaring all-out war against the drug traffickers in his country. On December 11th of 2006, he vowed to use all the powers of the state to bring the druglords to heel. The narco-war of Calderon´s presidency has left a stunning casualty toll - more than 40,000 people dead.

NPR's Jason Beaubien joins me from Mexico City to talk about the Calderon administration's battle with the cartels. Good morning, Jason.

JASON BEAUBIEN, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: So, how bad is it for regular people? Has the drug war changed Mexico or the way Mexicans have to live?

BEAUBIEN: I think this is going to be remembered as a historic moment in Mexico. You've had some incredibly dramatic moments all across the country. You've had massacres in which 72 migrants were killed in Tamaulipas. There's been a spread of kidnappings, a spread of extortion in this vacuum of security as the security forces battle these cartels.

So it really has permeated society. People are very aware of it and very afraid, even if they aren't directly involved in these shootouts between cartel members or cartel members and the state.

WERTHEIMER: Jason, I understand that this was not a prominent issue during Calderon's presidential campaign. So how and why did this become the defining action of his presidency?

BEAUBIEN: His critics have basically said that after a really contested election in 2006 in which he barely won the election that he went forward and took a very dramatic move to sort of distract people from this contested election. To give him credit, he said that this was a cancer that was growing inside of Mexico, that he had to go after them.

He came in on December 1st of 2006 and then two weeks later he sent thousands of federal troops into Michoacan to take on the cartels there. So it was a bit of a surprise, and then it came to dominate his presidency.

WERTHEIMER: Now, one of the things that I've found so interesting looking from the outside is that there are places like the border city of Juarez and increasingly Vera Cruz and other cities where civil order has completely broken down, and then there are other places where life seems to be going on relatively normally.

BEAUBIEN: Even in places that have been heavily affected by this war life goes on. I mean I was in Monterrey just this week and, you know, this is a major city in Mexico. It's basically the industrial capital, but it's also a place that's been really hard hit by this drug war.

You had 52 people killed in a casino when an extortion attempt went wrong and they torched the casino. It's a place where this war has really had an impact. But I was also struck by – you've got tractor trailer trucks heading up towards the border, the airport was really humming full of people, kids in school uniforms, you know, heading off to school every morning. And very much a sense that life goes on amidst this social problem which has spread across much of Mexico.

WERTHEIMER: Is anybody winning?

BEAUBIEN: At this point certainly you cannot declare a winner, and President Calderon would say that no one is going to win this war until the demand for drugs in the U.S. stops. And that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. He has taken down some major figures. I think one of the most significant things of this is he's managed to break up some of the smaller cartels.

But what's happened is that you've basically got two super cartels that have sort of grown up: the Sinaloa Cartel, run by Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, the most wanted man in Mexico; and then you also have the Zetas Cartel, has grown up and they're formed by this group of former Mexican special forces. So these two cartels have basically really grown in power while a lot of other cartels have splintered into really tiny pieces.

WERTHEIMER: NPR's Jason Beaubien reporting from Mexico City. Jason, thank you.

BEAUBIEN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.