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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 Tuesday on how he would go about reforming 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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Can Congress Really Compromise On Extending The Payroll Tax Cut?

Dec 5, 2011

Congress returned to Washington Monday with a pile of unfinished business, and no clarity on a path to getting it done. At the top of the congressional to-do list this week is extending a payroll tax holiday that meant about $1,000 in extra take-home pay for the typical family this year. It is set to expire at the end of the month.

Congressional leaders from both parties say the payroll tax cut is a must-pass measure. It's just not entirely clear how it's going to happen.

Economists say that if the payroll tax holiday isn't extended, the economy would take a hit with millions of Americans seeing a little bit less money in every paycheck.

"There aren't many folks, either in the middle class or those trying to get into the middle class, who can afford to give up $1,000 not right now," said President Barack Obama in the White House briefing room just as the Senate was beginning work for the day. "That's why Congress must act."

Senate Republicans voted down two bills to extend the tax holiday last week — one from Democrats and a Republican alternative. Democrats and President Obama see this as a winning issue and are taking every opportunity to hammer Republicans on it.

"How can you fight tooth and nail to protect high end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and yet barely lift a finger to prevent taxes going up for 160 million Americans who really need the help?" Obama asked.

Monday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unveiled what Democrats are calling a "compromise" measure.

"Republicans need to be prepared to meet us partway," said Reid on the Senate floor.

The Senate Democratic proposal would include an expanded payroll tax cut for workers. But it drops an earlier proposal to extend that cut to employers as well. It includes an idea Republicans proposed last week: banning millionaires from receiving food stamps and unemployment benefits. It also includes a surtax on income over $1 million a year, though it is smaller than past proposals and would sunset after a decade.

"The scaled-back temporary tax on the richest Americans, a group with an average income of $3 million a year, is also a sincere attempt to get Republicans on board to pass what they say they want to do," said Reid.

Republicans aren't so sure it's sincere. An aide to Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell says the Democrats' new plan included no input from Republicans, who continue to object to using a tax hike to pay for the tax holiday.

"The only thing bipartisan about their tax hike — is the opposition," says Don Stewart, McConnell's spokesman.

On the House side, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner implied that any measure that includes tax hikes isn't a credible compromise proposal.

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