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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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The History Of Factory Jobs In America, In One Town

Jan 12, 2012

For more, see Adam Davidson's cover story in this month's issue of The Atlantic.

Greenville County, South Carolina is where manufacturing's past and future live side by side. This is not a metaphor; it's a visible fact. In South Carolina, and throughout America, factories produce more than ever. Yet in Greenville, there are abandoned textile mills everywhere you look.

A decade ago, life in Greenville was organized around the mills. Each mill had its own village, its own church, its own bar. These places were abandoned over the last decade as mill after mill went out of business. What's left are deeply depressed near ghost-towns. But sometimes, amid the stretches of shuttered buildings, you can find a living relic.

A bar called Christine's Place — the sign says "Come to the holler for a cold swaller" — is still open. A few white-haired regulars are nursing drinks at the bar.

In the old Greenville, they say, the mills ran three shifts a day, and Christine's was packed morning, noon, and night.

"You could just make money," Terry Leah Suttles, the bar's owner, says. "You could get a job. Everybody knew somebody that worked in the mill, and usually they was hiring ... I wasn't really old enough to work but I went to work. I was about sixteen."

Suttles, like many people in Greenville, dropped out of high school to start work.

This is what made life in the old Greenville so rewarding. People with minimal education could work in a factory and support a lifestyle that their grandparents could only dream of. And the people here — they knew it.

"We've had a fantasy life," says Larry Hale. He worked in the old Greenville, driving a truck and hauling stuff made in Greenville all over the continent. "We've done things that a lot of people dream of doing ... Like when I went to Canada and started dating this hairstylist ...We lived our lives to the fullest.

Compare this fantasy life to the present. There are still factories in Greenville and they still employ workers with only a high school education. But as I found out, those workers feel far less certain about their job prospects. I visited the factory floor of Standard Motor Products.

They make replacement parts for car engines. I thought this would involve big, noisy machines stamping out parts and spewing oil. Instead I saw workers hunched over microscopes. It looked more like a science lab than an assembly line.

Madeline "Maddie" Parlier operates one of the machines on the floor. She doesn't have a college degree, and she doesn't need one to operate her machine. It runs with a push of a button. But she remembers a time when factory work wasn't quite so automated. In her old job at a kayak factory, she used to work up a sweat.

"I'm used to sweating — I mean really sweating," she says. "It's so different."

Machines do so much more of the work in today's factory. And the machines have bred a new kind of factory worker, workers like Ralph Young, who doesn't just have to push a button.

"We have a microscope, a hot stand, snap gauges, ID gauges," Young says. "We use bore mites, go-no-go plugs."

Ralph is the future of manufacturing. He has adapted to the new technology on the factory floor. But for Maddy, the pace of change has been bewildering. She is still adjusting, and she will have to keep adjusting as the machines grow more sophisticated and the work less physical.

The question is, can Maddy — and the 11 million other manufacturing workers in the U.S. — keep up?

This is the first part of a two-part series. Tomorrow, we'll look at the changing demands of the modern factory worker, and how they affect the job prospects of workers like Maddy.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.