Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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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 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 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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Federal Court To Weigh Graphic Cigarette Labels

Apr 10, 2012
Originally published on April 10, 2012 8:09 am

The question of how far the government can go in forcing a business — in this case cigarette makers — to warn consumers about its product is before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration wants large, graphic warning labels to scare smokers, but tobacco companies say that violates their right to free speech.

Diseased lungs, gnarly rotting teeth, even what appears to be the corpse of a smoker are some of the images that accompany the bold new cigarette labels the FDA requires to cover half a pack of cigarettes, front and back. The written warnings include: "Smoking Can Kill You" and "Cigarettes Cause Cancer."

"It's going beyond I think what is necessary," says David Hudson, a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn. "It's just so in your face, so graphic, these images — it's just simply too much."

That's what Congress intended when it mandated the labels in a 2009 law that gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco.

Susan Liss, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, says the idea is to counteract the tobacco industry's track record of misleading smokers.

"We are dealing with an industry with a decades-long history of deceiving the public about the health risks of smoking, and the enhanced warning labels are a direct response to the deception of the industry," Liss says.

Washington, D.C., federal Judge Richard Leon blocked the FDA from implementing the labels, siding with cigarette makers who sued over their right to free speech. The judge questioned whether the government had crossed the line into advocacy by using such graphic images.

The fact that an image is evocative shouldn't matter, says Matt Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

"The picture of somebody that is dying from tobacco can be an accurate representation of the health effects of smoking, even if it evokes an emotional reaction," Myers says.

Tobacco Free Kids and other anti-smoking groups have filed a friend of the court brief with the D.C. appeals court, arguing that the new labels are in line with the FDA's power to warn consumers about dangerous products.

FDA officials and the tobacco companies declined to discuss the case, but it is one being watched by constitutional scholars because of the nation's mixed case law when it comes to protections for commercial speech.

Another federal appeals court has already upheld the cigarette warning labels as constitutional.

George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley says the threshold question is how far the government can go to compel commercial speech.

"These graphic images are really the government getting into marketing and trying to force companies that have lawful products to use repellant packaging," Turley says.

He says other businesses should be paying attention.

"Cigarettes are not the only harmful product," he says. "Can they, for example, require a picture of a cirrhotic liver on a wine bottle or any type of alcoholic beverage?"

The ultimate decision will likely be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, a federal appeals court considers the question of how far the government can go in forcing a business to warn consumers about its product. This case is not just about any product; it's one that can kill you - cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration wants large, graphic warning labels to scare smokers. Tobacco companies says that violates their right to free speech. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Diseased lungs; gnarly, rotting teeth; even what appears to be the corpse of a smoker are some of the images that accompany the bold, new cigarette labels FDA requires to cover half a pack of cigarettes, front and back. The written warnings include Smoking Can Kill You, and Cigarettes Cause Cancer.

DAVID HUDSON: It's going beyond, I think, what is necessary.

ELLIOTT: David Hudson is a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville.

HUDSON: It's just so in your face, so graphic - these pictures. I think it's just simply - it's just simply too much.

ELLIOTT: But that's what Congress intended when it mandated the labels in a 2009 law that gave the FDA authority to regulate tobacco. Susan Liss, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, says the idea is to counteract the tobacco industry's track record of misleading smokers.

SUSAN LISS: We are dealing with an industry with a decades-long history of deceiving the public about the health risks of smoking, and the enhanced warning labels are a direct response to the deception of the industry.

ELLIOTT: Washington, D.C., federal judge Richard Leon blocked FDA from implementing the labels, siding with cigarette makers who sued over their right to free speech. The judge questioned whether the government had crossed the line into advocacy by using such graphic images. The fact that an image is evocative shouldn't matter, says Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

MATT MYERS: The picture of somebody who is dying from tobacco can be an accurate representation of the health effects of smoking, even if it evokes an emotional reaction.

ELLIOTT: Tobacco Free Kids and other anti-smoking groups have filed a friend- of-the-court brief with the D.C. appeals court, arguing the new labels are in line with FDA's power to warn consumers about dangerous products. FDA officials and the tobacco companies declined to discuss the case. But it's one being watched by constitutional scholars because of the nation's mixed case law when it comes to protections for commercial speech.

Another federal appeals court has already upheld the cigarette warning labels as constitutional. George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley says the threshold question is how far the government can go to compel commercial speech.

JONATHAN TURLEY: These graphic images are really the government getting into marketing, and trying to force companies that have lawful products to use repellent packaging.

ELLIOTT: He says other businesses should be paying attention.

TURLEY: Cigarettes are not the only harmful product. Can they, for example, require a picture of a cirrhotic liver on a wine bottle, or on any type of alcoholic beverage?

ELLIOTT: The ultimate decision will likely be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Debbie Elliott, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.