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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 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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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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Familiar Rubik's Cube Challenge Gets A New Edge

Jan 8, 2012
Originally published on January 8, 2012 10:16 am

When Lucas Etter's grandparents bought him a Rubik's Cube while he was visiting their retirement home, it was mainly to pass the time. Fast-forward two years, and that pastime is now an obsession.

Many are still playing with a toy that's been around for more than 30 years: the Rubik's Cube. The puzzle that challenges players to align a single color on each side first went on the market in 1980. Now a new generation of players is pushing the limits of the Rubik's Cube using modern technology.

Lucas, 10, is a "speedcuber." He uses memorized sequences or algorithms to solve the 3-D puzzle in a matter of seconds. Shortly after getting his first cube, Lucas turned to Internet videos to find the best method.

"YouTube has a lot of random stuff, but it does have good stuff too," he says.

Lucas is getting pretty fast. At a competition in November, he reached a new personal best for solving the cube: 12 seconds.

"I want to get the world record," he says.

The current record holder is teenage Australian Feliks Zemdegs. At last year's Melbourne Winter Open, Zemdegs solved the cube in just 5.66 seconds. Video of his triumph was posted to YouTube.

"I look at these kids and it's quite incredible what they do," says Tyson Mao, co-founder of the World Cube Association.

The group organizes speedcubing competitions. Mao believes anyone, regardless of age or intelligence, can learn how to solve the cube. Plus, with the growth of competitions and Web videos, the Rubik's Cube is still a cool, inexpensive toy to play with.

"I think YouTube is probably one of the biggest pieces in terms of the spread of the Rubik's Cube. It's really allowed the globalization of the Rubik's Cube, and it's really made it accessible to everyone," he says.

The resurgence of cubing has led to the development of an educational program for teachers and even knock-off cubes from China that can be manipulated faster in competition than the original Rubik's Cube.

Lucas is pushing himself to get as fast as he can, practicing two hours a day. He's also using another piece of technology to shave seconds off his time: an app on his iPod that generates scrambles for his Cube.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This past holiday season, millions of people bought video games, iPads and other high-tech gadgets. But many are still playing with a toy that's been around for more than 30 years: The Rubik's Cube. The puzzle that challenges players to align a single color on each side, first went on the market in 1980.

As Brenna Angel of member station WUKY reports, a new generation of players is pushing the limits of the Rubik's Cube using modern technology.

BRENNA ANGEL, BYLINE: When Lucas Etter's grandparents bought him a Rubik's Cube while he was visiting their retirement home, it was mainly to pass the time. The puzzle can take a long time to figure out. Fast forward two years, and that past time is now an obsession.

LUCAN ETTER: This is my one-handed Cube. This is the 2x2 Cube.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE CLACKING OF A RUBIK'S CUBE)

ANGEL: Ten-year-old Lucas is a speed Cuber. He uses memorized sequences or algorithms to solve the 3D puzzle in a matter of seconds. Shortly after getting his first Cube, Lucas turned to Internet videos like this one to find the best method.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO TUTORIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: To begin with step one, first find the yellow center on the Rubik's Cube. What you want to try to do is you want to...

ETTER: YouTube has a lot of random stuff but it does have good stuff too.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE CLACKING OF A RUBIK'S CUBE)

ANGEL: Lucas is getting pretty fast. At a competition in November, he reached a new personal best for solving the Cube: 12 seconds.

ETTER: I want to get the world record.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ANGEL: So do you know who holds the world record?

ETTER: Yes, it's a teenager in Australia named Feliks Zemdegs.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ANGEL: At last year's Melbourne Winter Open, Feliks Zemdegs solved the Cube in just 5.66 seconds. Video of his triumph was posted to YouTube.

TYSON MAO: I looked at these kids and it's quite incredible what they do.

ANGEL: That's Tyson Mao, co-founder of the World Cube Association, which organizes speed cubing competitions. Mao believes anyone, regardless of age or intelligence, can learn how to solve the Cube. And with the growth of competitions and Web videos, the Rubik's Cube is still a cool, inexpensive toy to play with.

MAO: I think YouTube is probably one of the biggest pieces in terms of the spread of the Rubik's Cube. It's really allowed the globalization of the Rubik's Cube and it's really made it accessible to everyone.

ANGEL: The resurgence of Cubing has led to the development of an educational program for teachers and knock-offs from China that actually move faster in competition than the original Rubik's Cube.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE CLACKING OF A RUBIK'S CUBE)

ANGEL: Lucas is pushing himself to get as fast as he can, practicing two hours a day. And he's using another piece of technology to shave seconds off his time: an app on his iPod that generates scrambles for his Cube.

For NPR News, I'm Brenna Angel in Lexington, Kentucky. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.