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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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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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Florida's Unpopular Governor Retools His Image

Jan 21, 2012
Originally published on January 23, 2012 2:19 pm

One thing you can say about Florida's economy: It's not quite as bad as it was a year ago.

When the state's new governor, Republican Rick Scott, took office, Florida faced a $3.5 billion budget shortfall. A year later, Scott is working with the Legislature to close a still-daunting $2 billion budget gap.

But Scott has another challenge: overcoming his image as one of the nation's most unpopular governors.

Private Sector Background

Scott is a smart, but low-key, former hospital CEO — a person comfortable with big decisions but not necessarily big crowds.

Floridians are still getting to know Scott, who has been in office for a year. He was a virtual unknown when he jumped into the governor's race. The former head of the nation's largest hospital chain, he spent more than $70 million of his own money to get elected.

Now, the former outsider is Tallahassee's most powerful insider. Republican lobbyist and fundraiser Brian Ballard worked to oppose Scott in the primary but now has become one of his biggest fans.

"He doesn't care about politics," Ballard says. "He cares about governing."

It's not just that Scott doesn't care about politics. It's almost a foreign language.

A conservative who was elected with strong Tea Party support, he convened a Tea Party rally to announce his first state budget. It was a budget that cut billions of dollars from education, the environment and benefits for public employees in a state that was already reeling from the recession and housing collapse.

State Sen. Paula Dockery, a Republican, says while the budget pleased the Tea Party, it alienated many others.

"He went after police, firefighters, corrections officers, teachers. And those are large numbers of people," she says. "And they felt that he was more interested in an ideology than in caring about the people who have been protecting us on the streets and teaching our kids."

Slightly Better Approval Ratings

Scott has some of the lowest approval ratings of any governor, although in recent months, those numbers have edged up slightly.

If Scott is winning over some Floridians, one reason may be his new style. Gone are the suits and ties. Instead Scott now wears open-collar shirts. And he's begun engaging with the media, even sitting down with editorial boards around the state — something he rejected as a candidate.

"I think he's really tried to convey that he is more of a man of the people as opposed to a multimillion-dollar executive," says Daniel Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida.

Scott has also adjusted his ambitious agenda. In his State of the State address, he said he learned from his travels around the state that education is very important to Floridians. And so, a year after announcing more than a billion dollars in cuts to education spending, Scott told legislators he wants to put much of it back.

"I ask you again to send me a budget that significantly increases state funding for education," he said. "This is the single most important decision we can make today for Florida's future."

Caring About 'Stockholders'

Scott has rejected any tax increases. To find the money, he's looking for big cuts in Medicaid payments to hospitals, cuts he's already being forced to defend.

"We have a $1.7 billion budget deficit," he said. "I wish we didn't. I wish we had a surplus. I hope sometime while I'm in office we have a surplus. We need to fund education. It's the right thing to do. And Medicaid has been growing. So, you've got to change how you do things."

In his first year, Scott signed many controversial bills. One requires drug testing for all welfare recipients. Another bans pediatricians and other doctors from talking to their patients about guns. Yet another bill changes voting rules in a way that, the League of Women Voters and other groups say, will suppress voting by minorities, young people and the elderly.

All those laws, and several more, are currently held up in the courts. To some, that might be a sign of overreaching, but Smith says not to Scott.

"I really think Gov. Scott doesn't care all that much about what the courts are going to say," Smith says. "He's coming from a CEO mentality, and CEOs don't really listen to many people, except, occasionally, the stockholders."

In this case, the stockholders are Florida voters. Scott's just completed his first year in office. That leaves him three years to win over skeptics and make good on his pledge to rebuild the state's economy.

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now to Florida, where the state's new governor, Republican Rick Scott, is evaluating his first year. When Mr. Scott took office, Florida faced a three-and-a-half-billion dollar budget shortfall. A year later, he's working with the legislature to close a still daunting $2 billion budget gap. NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami that Governor Scott has another challenge, overcoming his image as one of the nation's most unpopular governors.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: The job of governor in Florida comes with a certain amount of pomp and ceremony.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. President, the governor of Florida.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

ALLEN: It was Rick Scott's second address to a joint session of Florida's House and Senate - the annual State of the State address. Scott is a smart, but low-key former hospital CEO, a person comfortable with big decisions, but not necessarily big crowds.

GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT: It's great to be here. The - I just want to tell you before I start, I've really enjoyed all of you, just meeting everybody.

ALLEN: After a year in office, Floridians are still getting to know Rick Scott. He was a virtual unknown when he jumped into the governor's race. The former head of the nation's largest hospital chain, he spent more than $70 million of his own money to get elected. Now, the former outsider is Tallahassee's most powerful insider. Republican lobbyist and fundraiser Brian Ballard worked to oppose Scott in the primary but now has become one of his biggest fans.

BRIAN BALLARD: He doesn't care about politics, he cares about governing.

ALLEN: It's not just that Rick Scott doesn't care about politics; it's almost a foreign language. A conservative who was elected with strong Tea Party support, he convened a Tea Party rally to announce his first state budget. It was a budget that cut billions of dollars from education, the environment and benefits for public employees in a state that was already reeling from the recession and housing collapse. State Senator Paula Dockery, a Republican, says while the budget pleased the Tea Party, it alienated many others.

STATE SENATOR PAULA DOCKERY: He went after police, firefighters, corrections officers, teachers. And those are large numbers of people. And they felt that he was more interested in an ideology than in caring about the people who have been protecting us on the streets and teaching our kids.

ALLEN: Scott has some of the lowest approval ratings of any governor, although in recent months, those numbers have edged up slightly. If Rick Scott is winning over some Floridians, one reason may be his new style. Gone is the suit and tie - instead Scott now wears open-collar shirts. And he's begun engaging with the media, even sitting down with editorial boards around the state, something he rejected as a candidate. Daniel Smith is a political science professor at the University of Florida.

DANIEL SMITH: I think he's really tried to convey that he is more of a man of the people as opposed to a multi-million-dollar executive.

ALLEN: Scott's also adjusted his ambitious agenda. In his State of the State address, he said he learned from his travels around the state that education is very important to Floridians. And so, a year after announcing more than a billion dollars in cuts to education spending, Scott told legislators he wants to put much of it back.

SCOTT: I ask you again to send me a budget that significantly increases state funding for education. This is the single most important decision we can make today for Florida's future.

ALLEN: Scott has rejected any tax increases. To find the money, he's looking for big cuts in Medicaid payments to hospitals - cuts he's already being forced to defend.

SCOTT: We have a budget deficit. We have a $1.7 billion budget deficit. I wish we didn't. I wish we had a surplus. I hope sometime when I'm in office we have a surplus. We need to fund education. It's the right thing to do. And Medicaid has been growing. So, you've got to change how you do things.

ALLEN: In his first year, Rick Scott signed many controversial bills. One requires drug testing for all welfare recipients. Another bans pediatricians and other doctors from talking to their patients about guns. Yet another changes voting rules in a way that the League of Women Voters and other groups say will suppress voting by minorities, young people and the elderly. All those laws -and several more - are currently held up in the courts. To some, that might be a sign of overreaching, but political science professor Daniel Smith says not to Rick Scott.

SMITH: I really think Governor Scott doesn't care all that much about what the courts are going to say. He's coming from a CEO mentality and CEOs don't really listen to many people except occasionally the stockholders.

ALLEN: In this case, the stockholders are Florida voters. Scott's just completed his first year in office. That leaves him three years to win over skeptics and make good on his pledge to rebuild the state's economy. Greg Allen, NPR News, Miami. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.