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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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Europe's Debt Crisis Moves Toward Bigger Economies

Nov 16, 2011
Originally published on November 16, 2011 6:02 pm

With every day that passes, the troubles in Europe seem to grow bigger, and leaders are still at odds over how to contain the crisis. On Wednesday, just about every country in Europe saw borrowing costs rise.

For a long time the crisis was limited to small peripheral countries like Ireland and Greece, but no longer. Now, countries like Italy, Austria and the Netherlands have seen their borrowing costs rise as well.

"Even economies that do not have the fiscal problems of some of the other eurozone economies are considered a risk, [they] are being shunned," says Simon Tilford, chief economist of the Centre for European Reform in London.

Tilford says investors are beginning to lose confidence in the eurozone, and so interest rates are rising in every country but Germany. In one especially worrisome development, France — the eurozone's second-largest economy — has seen its borrowing costs creep higher this week.

Compared to a lot of countries, France's debt levels aren't especially bad. But Tilford says higher interest rates will make life a lot tougher for France, especially because the European economy is slowing.

"It's possible to foresee France being dragged into a kind of Spanish-Italian situation whereby their borrowing costs are prohibitively high, and they're being forced into cutting public spending dramatically into the face of a slump," Tilford says.

Leaders At Odds Over Fixes

At every step of the way, attempts to address the crisis have been too little, too late. This week, the European Central Bank bought Spanish and Italian bonds in an effort to drive borrowing costs down. The interest rates on Italian debt fell for a while, but soon enough they crept back over 7 percent.

Many European leaders are pressing Europe's central bank to be even more active, to flood the system with money or at least send a message that it's ready to do so.

In short, they want the central bank to take the kind of aggressive moves pursued by the Federal Reserve in the United States, but central bankers have refused to do so.

Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University, says Germany prefers heavily indebted countries to cut their way to health. "At the core there are still very significant disagreements, especially between Germany and France, about how to resolve the crisis," he says.

Last month, European leaders unveiled a bailout package they hoped would appease the markets, but it's fallen well short of its goals.

Not even the recent changes of government in Greece and Italy seem to have done much to improve investor sentiment. Economists have generally hailed the arrival of Italy's new prime minister, Mario Monti, a former economics professor and European Union official. But by all accounts Monti faces a huge challenge trying to address Italy's fiscal problems.

Prasad says the troubles in Europe are so intractable that more and more people are talking about something that was once unthinkable. "The notion of the eurozone breaking up is no longer an abstract concept. It is beginning to sound more real," he says.

It's unclear how that would be done without sending shock waves through the financial system. But as the crisis drags on, European leaders seem unable or unwilling to contain it, and there's a growing sense that events may force their hand.

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