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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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Climate Panel: More Extreme Weather On The Way

Nov 18, 2011
Originally published on November 18, 2011 4:55 pm

Brace yourself for more extreme weather. A group of more than 200 scientists convened by the United Nations says in a new report that climate change will bring more heat waves, more intense rainfall and more expensive natural disasters.

These conclusions are from the latest effort of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a consensus statement from researchers around the world.

And since this is a consensus, the conclusions are carefully couched. Take, for example, the issue of rainfall. "It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation will increase in the 21st century over many regions," says the report, which defines "likely" as more than a 66 percent chance.

You might expect heavy rainfall would lead to flooding, but the report is reluctant to make that strong a link. One of the authors, David Easterling from the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., says dams and flood-control projects in some places can handle the heavier bursts of rain, so it's not automatically the case that downpours lead to flooding.

Another example of this deliberate, cautious approach is evident in the report's conclusions about hurricanes and typhoons (hurricanes' equivalent in the Western Pacific). The science suggests strongly that hurricanes will eventually become more powerful, "but we won't really be able to detect an increase for another 30 to 40 years," Easterling tells NPR. "It may be there, but the increases are not huge. It's not like you'll see a doubling of wind speeds, but [storms are] expected to become more intense."

That said, the report finds no compelling evidence that hurricanes and typhoons will become more frequent as a result of climate change.

Much clearer is the trend about who is vulnerable to disaster. The report finds that 95 percent of the lives lost to natural disasters are in the developing world, where people often lack the infrastructure and resources to cope with calamity. Most of the financial costs are borne by the developed world, where valuable property is in harm's way. And that's not simply because of natural disasters — it's principally because of the deliberate choices we've made to develop along vulnerable coastlines and floodplains.

You don't have to look far for evidence of those costs. This year "has been one of the most costly from extreme weather events, with more billion-dollar events than ever before," says Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a nonprofit that helps businesses and investors adapt to climate change. "The drought and wildfires in the Southwest and Southern Plains, for example, cost more than $9 billion in direct damage to cattle, agriculture and infrastructure." And Hurricane Irene, which killed at least 45 people, cost an additiional $7 billion.

"Perhaps these multibillion-dollar events that are coming at us fast and furious will be enough to get policymakers to sit up and listen and realize we've got to change — and we have to move quickly," Lubber says.

And perhaps a report that trips over itself to be extra cautious — as the IPCC's tangled jargon frequently does — will also garner more credibility for the statements it does make with confidence.

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