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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.


On The Hill, Gingrich Made Friends And Enemies

Dec 14, 2011
Originally published on December 14, 2011 3:59 am

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is new to his front-runner status, but he's hardly new to Washington.

He has spent decades weaving relationships in and around government — starting with his successful campaign to win the House majority back in the early 1990s. Some of his most ardent supporters now worked with him back then — but some of his angriest opponents did, too.

'He's A Quality Guy'

By the 1980s, Democrats had controlled Congress for decades, and Republicans were thought of as a sort of permanent minority. That is, until a zealous group of true-believers set out to build a real GOP majority. Gingrich was at the center of those so-called young lions — because, says Rep. Joe Barton, of the power of his ideas.

"You really never hear Newt talk about what can't be done — he's always talking about what could be done," says Barton, a Republican from Texas.

The two men are very close. When Gingrich was Republican whip, Barton was his chief deputy. Decades later, Barton was among the first to endorse Gingrich's campaign — even back when it looked dead.

Why? Barton says because Gingrich is that perfect political combination of whip smart and soul-inspiring.

"People that don't know him get to know him [and] they're inspired by him," Barton says. "Quality counts, even in politics, and he's a quality guy — and it's showing in the polls."

'Not As Adept' As He Could Have Been

Now, not all Republicans who worked under Gingrich when he was House speaker are starry-eyed.

Ohio Rep. Steve LaTourette says Gingrich ticked off a lot of people back then.

"There were a lot of moments where he was not as adept as he could or should have been as the speaker," LaTourette says. "He'd probably acknowledge that."

LaTourette remembers meetings in the basement of the Capitol, with Gingrich pushing his agenda until 2 or 3 a.m. and not doing a whole lot of listening.

"He would have an idea that wasn't fully grown, and then ... he'd sort of shout it out anyway," LaTourette remembers.

And then came the coup: A group of Republicans unhappy with Gingrich started a whisper campaign calling for new leadership. Gingrich got ahead of that, quashed it, and ended up securing his speakership. That is, until it crumbled under the intensely partisan impeachment of President Bill Clinton — and the revelation that all throughout that, Gingrich had been having an extramarital affair with a member of his staff. The speaker resigned in disgrace.

'The Dumbest Single Thing I've Done'

One of Washington's great ironies is that there was really only one man pushed out of Gingrich's leadership team after that attempted coup: a young guy from Ohio named John Boehner — the current speaker of the House.

Another weird thing? A commercial, taped and aired just three years ago, for an environmental campaign run by Al Gore, Clinton's vice president. It features Gingrich sitting on a loveseat with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat, and talking about how "our country must take action to address climate change."

"If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need," Gingrich says in the ad.

Could this be a glimmer of bipartisanship for a would-be Gingrich presidency?

He was asked about it on a Fox News show just last month by conservative columnist Stephen Hayes — and Gingrich called the ad, "probably the dumbest single thing I've done."

The Memo

New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat, was also in Congress with Gingrich. And what she remembers is a memo his staff circulated. It was called "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control."

"They had a lexicon of words that they could use when they talked about Democrats," she recalls.

The memo listed positive words Republicans should use to describe their ideas — like "opportunity," "common sense" and "reform." It also listed negative words the GOP should use to describe Democrats' ideas — like "welfare," "pathetic" and "criminal rights."

Today, Slaughter says, "I really do believe that he was responsible for a lot of the absolute vitriol that we have in the House."

There may be no one in Congress, in either party, who thinks Gingrich isn't smart. But there are a lot of people in both parties who have had tough relationships with him.

He's a fighter, most people say. And don't expect that to change if the country chooses a President Gingrich.

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