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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Budget Watchdog To Candidates: Back Up Tough Talk

Feb 23, 2012
Originally published on February 27, 2012 4:39 pm

Republican presidential hopefuls have had a field day attacking President Obama for the federal government's trillion-dollar deficits and promising things will be different when the GOP is in charge.

But while the candidates talk a good game about stemming the tide of red ink, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says their proposals don't necessarily add up.

"So far what we have is four candidates who are all serious about cutting spending, but are also very serious about cutting taxes," says Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan organization. "And in most cases they would cut taxes by more than their spending cuts, which would make the overall deficit situation worse."

The lone exception is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, whose plans would actually shrink the debt by more than $2 trillion over the next decade.

"He tops the group in terms of the kinds of spending cuts he's talking about — at over $7 trillion in cuts, which is by far the greatest amount of any specific cuts that anybody has offered," MacGuineas says.

Specific is the operative word there. The budget watchdogs give more credit to candidates who spell out specific cuts than those who offer vague targets, like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who pledged to limit government spending to 20 percent of the overall economy.

"Gov. Romney puts forth cuts in spending and cuts in taxes," MacGuineas says. "Neither of them kind of drastically change the budget, but overall the effects of those tax cuts would outweigh the spending cuts, from what he's offered so far."

The committee estimates that Romney's proposals would add $250 billion to the debt over the next decade.

That's nothing, though, compared to the red ink that would be spilled by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Santorum wants to cut personal income taxes while preserving costly deductions and tripling the tax break for children. So far, he has offered little to balance those cuts, except $5 trillion in unspecified spending reductions.

"This is the big wild card for Sen. Santorum so far," MacGuineas says. "He has said he'll cut $5 trillion. That would have a significant effect on the overall fiscal effects of his plan. But he has yet to say where that $5 trillion would come from."

The committee also dings Gingrich for his optional 15 percent flat tax; because everyone would have the option of paying less, government revenues would take a big hit.

"Who's going to be the person who says I'll take the system where I'll pay more?" MacGuineas says. "So in the end, it might be a more desirable tax system for a number of other reasons, but it usually winds up losing revenues, and significant revenues in this case."

The committee estimates that over 10 years, the Gingrich plan would add $7 trillion to the federal debt.

MacGuineas says this report is not intended to be the last word on GOP proposals, but to illustrate the challenge of backing up tough fiscal talk and to encourage the candidates to get specific.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Republican presidential hopefuls have offered their own plans for tax cuts at the same time that they are promising to balance the budget. Here's Mitt Romney yesterday, for example, campaigning in Chandler, Arizona.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

MITT ROMNEY: We're going to lower our spending. We're going to preserve our long-term viability by fixing our entitlements. And that way, we will restore the American dream. And that's exactly what I'll get done.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

INSKEEP: But a report out today warns that is not what Romney's economic proposals would actually get done. An independent budget watchdog warns that Romney's approach would likely worsen the nation's debt problem. And it comes to the same conclusion about plans by his fellow Republicans Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

NPR's Scott Horsley has more.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Republicans have had a field day attacking President Obama for the federal government's trillion-dollar deficits and promising things will be different when the GOP is in charge.

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL: The main problem we have is the government is too big and the debt is too big and you have to cut spending, so you have to get...

RICK SANTORUM: We're going to cut programs. We're going to spend - under my administration, we're going to spend less money every year, every year, year to year to year.

NEWT GINGRICH: My goal is to shrink the government to fit the revenue, not to raise the revenue to catch up with the government. And I'd be happy...

HORSLEY: But while the candidates talk a good game about stemming the tide of red ink, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says their proposals don't necessarily add up. Committee President Maya Macguineas and her colleagues have been studying the candidates' ideas, and they're out today with a preliminary assessment.

MAYA MACGUINEAS: So far, what we have is four candidates who are all serious about cutting spending, but are all also very serious about cutting taxes. And in most cases, they would actually cut taxes by more than their spending cuts, which would make the deficit situation overall worse.

HORSLEY: The lone exception is Ron Paul, whose plans would actually shrink the debt by more than $2 trillion dollars over the next decade.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Department of Education? Gone. Interior? Energy? HUD? Commerce? Gone. Later, bureaucrats. That's how Ron Paul rolls.

MACGUINEAS: He tops the group in terms of the kinds of spending cuts he's talking about at over $7 trillion in cuts, which is by far the greatest amount of specific cuts that anybody has offered.

HORSLEY: Specific is the operative word, here. Macguineas and the budget watchdogs give more credit to candidates who spell out specific cuts than those who offer vague targets, like this one from Mitt Romney.

ROMNEY: As president, I pledge to reduce spending to 20 percent of the GDP by the end of my first term.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MACGUINEAS: Governor Romney puts forth cuts in spending and cuts in taxes. Neither of them kind of drastically change the budget. But overall, the effects of those tax cuts would outweigh the spending cuts, from what he's offered so far.

HORSLEY: The Committee estimates Romney's proposals would add $250 billion to the debt over the next decade. That's nothing, though, compared to the red ink that would be spilled by Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich. Santorum wants to cut personal income taxes, while preserving big deductions and tripling the tax break for children. So far, he's offered little to balance those cuts, except $5 trillion in unspecified spending reductions.

MACGUINEAS: This is the big wildcard for Senator Santorum so far. He has said he would cut $5 trillion. That would have a significant effect on the overall fiscal effects of his plan. But he has yet to specify where that $5 trillion would come from.

HORSLEY: The Committee also dings Gingrich for his optional 15 percent flat tax. Because everyone would have the option of paying less, government revenues would take a big hit.

MACGUINEAS: Who is going to be the person who says, oh, I'll take the system where I would pay more? So, in the end, it might be a more desirable tax system for a number of other reasons, but it usually ends up losing revenues - and significant revenues, in this case.

HORSLEY: The Committee estimates over 10 years, the Gingrich plan would add $7 trillion to the federal debt. Macguineas says this report is not intended to be the last word on the GOP proposals, but to illustrate the challenge of backing up tough fiscal talk and to encourage the candidates to get specific.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

INSKEEP: We'll take a close look at all the candidates' plans throughout this election year. You can hear them here on MORNING EDITION, and you can follow us online on Facebook and on Twitter. We're @MORNINGEDITION and @nprinskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.