Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

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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.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.


Coming Up: Obama Holds News Conference In Cannes

Nov 4, 2011

President Obama held a news conference today in Cannes, France, where he and other leaders from the G-20 nations have wrapped up a two-day summit. We live-blogged as he spoke.

Update at 11:20 a.m. ET. On The President's Comments About GDP And The Economy Since He Took Office:

As we reported, the last question of the news conference was about whether the president thinks he has been an effective leader on economic issues. And he said that, "when I came into office, the U.S. economy had contracted by 9 percent ... the largest contraction since the Great Depression. ... A little over a year later it was growing 4 percent and has been growing ever since."

The Bureau of Economic Analysis posts GDP historical figures here. In fourth-quarter 2008, the last quarter before Obama took office, GDP fell at an 8.9 percent annual rate. A year later, in fourth-quarter 2009, it grew at 3.8 percent annual rate.

In the quarters since then, here are the annual rates of growth:

-- First-quarter 2010: 3.9 percent.

-- Second-quarter 2010: 3.8 percent.

-- Third-quarter 2010: 2.5 percent.

-- Fourth-quarter 2010: 2.3 percent.

-- First-quarter 2011: 0.4 percent.

-- Second-quarter 2011: 1.3 percent.

-- Third-quarter 2011: 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the nation's unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in December 2008, the month before Obama took office. It peaked at 10.1 percent in October 2009. Since then, the lowest level has been March 2011's 8.8 percent. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the jobless rate last month was 9 percent.

Update at 11:03 a.m. ET. Is He An Effective Leader On The Economy?

Asked about his economic track record, the president says that "when I came into office, the U.S. economy had contracted by 9 percent ... the largest contraction since the Great Depression. ... A little over a year later it was growing 4 percent and has been growing ever since."

Growth, though, he concedes, is still too slow to bring down unemployment and help most Americans.

That was the last question-and-answer of the news conference.

Update at 10:56 a.m. ET. Sympathy For His Peers:

"Let's recognize how difficult this is," Obama says of solving Europe's financial crisis. "I have sympathy for my European counterparts. We saw how difficult it was for us to save the financial system back in the United States." With Europe's multiple governments and other institutions, the task could be even harder, he says.

But, the president says, he is confident European leaders can take the necessary action.

Update at 10:53 a.m. ET. "Strong Signal" From Europe Is Critical:

Speaking about the eurozone financial crisis, the president says that world markets are looking for a "strong signal from Europe that they're standing behind the euro," and that he believes European leaders have sent just that signal.

Update at 10:50 a.m. ET. Political Implications Of High Unemployment?

Asked how the stubbornly high U.S. unemployment rate will affect his re-election chances, the president says the "least of my concerns at the moment is the politics of a year from now." He's "worried about putting people to work now," Obama adds, and says again that action needs to be taken back in Washington on his ideas for boosting job growth.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. Why Europe's Economy Matters:

"If Europe isn't growing, it's harder for us to do what we need to do for the American people," especially creating jobs, the president says.

Update at 10:43 a.m. ET. Europe Can Solve Its Crisis:

"I am confident Europe has the capacity to meet this challenge," Obama says of the financial crisis that threatens the eurozone.

Update at 10:41 a.m. ET. Depression "Averted," But Recovery Is Fragile:

The president begins by saying the G-20 leaders have, in the past two years, "worked together to rescue the global economy and avert another depression." But, he adds, the recovery "has been fragile."

Update at 10:38 a.m ET. Starting Shortly?

The White House webcast has gone "live," and it looks like the president is about to come to the microphone.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET. Still Waiting:

Obviously, things are running late.

Summit Statement:

In their communique at the conclusion of the summit, the leaders conceded that in the past year:

"Global recovery has weakened, particularly in advanced countries, leaving unemployment at unacceptable levels. In this context, tensions in the financial markets have increased due mostly to sovereign risks in Europe; there are also clear signs of a slowing in growth in the emerging markets. Commodity price swings have put growth at risk. Global imbalances persist."

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