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 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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As Bear Population Grows, More States Look At Hunts

Feb 20, 2012
Originally published on February 21, 2012 8:48 am

Wildlife officials don't usually base hunting policies on how the public feels about an animal. But the black bear seems to be different. The revered king of the forest has bounced back from near-extinction to being a nuisance in some areas. Some states are trying to figure out if residents can live in peace with bears, or if they'd rather have hunters keep numbers in check.

In places like the Smoky Mountains, black bears have always been part of the landscape.

These days, visitors like Elizabeth Bryant of Ohio shoot video of encounters with bears. In one video, a trio of truly adorable cubs explores the back porch of a mountainside cabin while the Bryant family watches through a sliding door. As you can hear someone say in her footage, "It's so awesome."

But national parks are no longer the only places humans are running into black bears. Numbers from the Eastern seaboard to California have shot up in recent decades.

Tennessee, for instance, now has an estimated population between 4,000 and 5,000, up from a few hundred in the 1970s. The relatively shy creatures have sauntered into areas where they are less welcome.

"We are receiving complaints from the public that say they don't want the bears there, that we need to do something to get rid of them," says Daryl Ratajczak, the chief of wildlife for the state agency that oversees hunting. "And we understand their feelings."

Ratajczak says that, being highly adaptable, bears will continue to spread if left unchecked.

"Given enough time, bears will soon be found all throughout the state of Tennessee," he says. "And we need to determine whether or not the general public wants that."

Other nearby states of Virginia, West Virginia and even Maryland also have been gauging public tolerance of the black bear.

Like Tennessee, they've used telephone surveys through a company called Responsive Management. Founder Mark Damian Duda says there is still enough habitat for bears to survive. But his survey-takers are seeing if states have hit what he calls a "cultural carrying capacity."

"There's really biological carrying capacity — the number of bears that the land can support — versus how many bears are acceptable to people," he says. "And sometimes those are different."

Duda says black bears, while smaller than other species, are still viewed as dangerous, perhaps for good reason. There have been fatal attacks. But he says society is also protective of bears.

"While the public supports hunting in general," he says, "hunting black bears is still supported but not as strong as maybe hunting for deer or other species."

Controversy has come to states that are expanding hunting of black bears. Animal rights activists tried using the courts to block a weeklong hunt in New Jersey. In December, they confronted sportsmen as they checked in their kills.

Part of the opposition is related to the method of bear hunting, which historically depends on a pack of dogs.

On a recent hunt in Polk County, Tenn., where some bear hunting is already allowed each year, a nervous-looking bear has been chased 30 feet into a tree. More could soon be running for their lives. And conservationists aren't necessarily standing in the way.

Black bears have begun showing up in Ron Castle's neck of the Tennessee woods, which he helped to preserve. But he recognizes how much habitat his new neighbors need to survive.

"Hunting would be more humane than allowing the bears to destroy their habitat and have their population collapse," he says.

At this point, though, the concern is more about the human population — and whether people will put up with black bears in their backyards.

Copyright 2014 Nashville Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.wpln.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Wildlife officials don't usually base hunting policies on how the public feels about an animal, but the black bear seems to be different. The revered king of the forest has bounced back from near-extinction to being a nuisance in some areas. Blake Farmer of member station WPLN reports some states are trying to figure out if residents can live at peace with bears, or if they'd rather hunters keep the numbers of bears in check.

BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: In places like the Smoky Mountains, black bears have always been part of the landscape.

ELIZABETH BRYANT: Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, my God. That's so awesome.

FARMER: These days, visitors like Elizabeth Bryant shoot video of encounters. Here, a trio of truly adorable cubs explores the back porch of a mountainside cabin. The Bryant family watches through a screen door.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, the hot tub.

BRYANT: Where'd the mom go?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They're going to be in the hot tub now.

FARMER: But national parks are no longer the only places humans run into black bears. Numbers from the Eastern Seaboard to California have shot up in recent decades. Tennessee, for instance, now has an estimated population between four and 5,000, up from a few hundred in the 1970s. The relatively shy creatures have sauntered into areas where they're less welcome.

DARYL RATAJCZAK: We are receiving complaints from the public that say they don't want the bears there, that we need to do something to get rid of them. And we understand their feelings.

FARMER: Daryl Ratajczak is the chief of wildlife for Tennessee's agency that oversees hunting. He says bears are highly adaptable and will continue to spread if left unchecked.

RATAJCZAK: Given enough time, bears will soon be found all throughout the state of Tennessee, and we need to determine whether or not the general public wants that.

FARMER: Other states - Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland - have been gauging public tolerance of the black bear, as well. Like Tennessee, they've used telephone surveys through a company called Responsive Management. Founder Mark Damian Duda says there's still enough habitat for bears to survive, but his survey takers are seeing if states have hit what he calls a cultural carrying capacity.

MARK DAMIAN DUDA: There's really biological carrying capacity - the number of bears that the land can support - versus how many bears are acceptable to people. And sometimes, those are different.

FARMER: While black bears are on the small end of the bear family, Duda says they're still viewed as dangerous, perhaps for good reason. There have been fatal attacks. But Duda says society is also protective of bears.

DUDA: While the public supports hunting in general, hunting black bear is still supported, but not as strong as maybe hunting for deer or other species.

FARMER: Controversy has come to states that expand the hunting of black bears. Animal rights activists tried using the courts to block a week-long hunt in New Jersey. In December, they confronted sportsmen as they checked in their kills. Part of the opposition is related to the method of bear hunting, which historically depends on a pack of dogs.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOGS BARKING)

FARMER: In Polk County, Tennessee, where some hunting is already allowed, a nervous-looking bear has been chased 30 feet into a tree. More could soon be running for their lives, and conservationists, like Ron Castle, aren't necessarily standing in the way. Black bears have begun showing up in his neck of the Tennessee woods, which he himself helped preserve. But he recognizes how much habitat his new neighbors need to survive.

RON CASTLE: Hunting would be more humane than allowing the bears to destroy their habitat and have their population collapse.

FARMER: At this point, though, the concern is more about the human population and whether people will put up with black bears in their backyards.

For NPR News, I'm Blake Farmer, in Nashville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.