Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Pages

Internally Displaced Iraqis Struggle For Permanency

Dec 17, 2011
Originally published on December 17, 2011 1:39 pm

Nadia Karim Hassan says she stayed in her Baghdad neighborhood as long as she could, but by the height of the sectarian war in 2007, too many fellow Shiites were getting killed, and she had to leave the area and move into an abandoned building.

As American troops pull out of Iraq, one of the most striking consequences of the war remains unresolved today: the issue of people who were forced out of their homes and still can't go back. Relief organizations estimate there are some 2 million displaced people inside Iraq.

Hassan has a lawyer who works pro bono for the International Rescue Committee, where it's policy not to reveal the names of local staff.

The lawyer is basically trying to prove that Hassan exists. Because Hassan lives as a squatter, she has no documents — no proof of residence, no marriage contract. The list goes on and on.

It will take about a month to get just one of these documents, Hassan's lawyer says.

Without them, Hassan's son, Akram, can't go to school or to a government hospital.

Fear Remains

Hassan is one of 500,000 people who live as squatters in Iraq.

Laura Jacoby is the Iraq director for the International Rescue Committee. She says most squatters live in makeshift camps, hundreds of which are in plain sight, scattered around the capital, Baghdad.

"It could be ... a few families living in an old building. It could be hundreds of families that are starting to build makeshift homes, some of them in brick," Jacoby says. "But in the worst ... there's no running water, there's no septic sewer, there's no electricity."

Until recently, the way the Iraqi government dealt with squatters was to tell them to go back home. The government even gave cash incentives to so-called returnees.

But people like Hassan are too afraid to go back to their original homes. For them, the threat of being targeted is still very real.

Jacoby says the government's new approach — called the Baghdad Initiative — is to find new housing for some of the people who can't go back home. The rest of the people would be able to stay where they are now, build new houses, get registered and get their documents in order.

The second part of the plan is proving to be the most difficult.

Funding Solutions

At a squatter camp near the Baghdad airport, property values are going up. The land is covered in handmade houses and garbage, but the land is valuable. The government won't let the people stay because the land is worth so much.

It's no surprise that the problem comes down to money.

While Iraqi officials are more keen to try and solve the problem these days, they're not so keen to fund it. Aid workers here say that's because Iraqis believe America caused the problem by invading this country — and it's America that should solve the problem.

Kelly Clements is a deputy assistant secretary of state for the U.S. government, specializing in refugees and displaced people. She says the U.S. will continue spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year in Iraq.

Still, Clements says, it's the Iraqis who have to take the lead.

"That is probably our number one priority," she says. "So I keep mentioning the government of Iraq being in front, and that's where we want them to remain, and to remain very engaged."

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

One of the most striking consequences of the Iraq War is still unresolved today, and that's the issue of people who were forced out of their homes and still cannot go back. Relief organizations estimate there's some two million displaced people inside of Iraq. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: Nadia Karim Hassan says she stayed in her Baghdad neighborhood as long as she could, but by the height of the sectarian war in 2007, too many fellow Shiites were getting killed, and she had to leave the area and move into an abandoned building. We met Nadia in front of the civil affairs court and spoke to her lawyer in a car.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: She has all her cases; marriage contract, she don't have marriage contract. Civil I.D.s for all family, so we come to court to do - to follow up this case.

MCEVERS: How long do you think it will take just to get, you know, one of these documents?

FEMALE: About one month.

MCEVERS: Nadia's lawyer works pro bono for the International Rescue Committee where it's policy not the reveal the names of local staff. What this lawyer is basically trying to do is prove that Nadia exists. Because Nadia lives as a squatter and she's now divorced, she has no documents. No proof of residence, no child custody, the list goes on and on. And what's your name?

AKRAM: Akram.

MCEVERS: Akram, OK. Without these documents, Nadia's son Akram can't go to school, can't go to a government hospital. Nadia is one of half a million people who live as squatters in Iraq. Laura Jacoby is the Iraq director for the International Rescue Committee. She says most squatters live in makeshift camps, hundreds of which are in plain sight, scattered around the capital, Baghdad.

LAURA JACOBY: It could be, right, a few families living in an old building. It could be hundreds of families that are starting to build makeshift homes, some of them in brick. But in the worst, you know, there's no running water, there's no septic sewer, there's no electricity.

MCEVERS: Up until recently, the way the government of Iraq dealt with squatters who lived in places like this was to tell them to go back home. The government even gives cash incentives to so-called returnees. But people like Nadia are too afraid to go back to their original homes. For them, the threat of being targeted is still very real.

Jacoby says the government's new approach is called the Baghdad Initiative. It would find new housing for some of the people who can't go back home again. The rest of the people would be able to stay where they are now, build new houses, get registered, and get their documents in order. That second part of the plan is proving to be the most difficult.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR MOTOR)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

MCEVERS: We drive to a squatter camp near the Baghdad airport, where property values are going up.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEPING)

MCEVERS: As we're driving through here it basically just looks like it's lots of garbage everywhere and homemade houses. And the thing about this land is it's actually - it looks terrible, it looks like a junkyard. But it's actually worth a lot of money. And this is the problem. This land is valuable, and so the people living on the land - although they need to stay, the government won't let them stay because the land is worth too much.

It's no surprise to aid workers that the problem comes down to money. While Iraqi officials are more keen to try and solve the problem these days, they're not so keen to fund it. Aid workers here say that's because Iraqis believe it's America that caused the problem by invading this country. And it's America that should solve the problem.

Kelly Clements is a deputy assistant secretary of state for the U.S. government, specializing in refugees and displaced people. She says the U.S. will continue spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on these issues in Iraq, but it's the Iraqis who have to take the lead.

KELLY CLEMENTS: That is probably, you know, our number one priority. So I keep mentioning the government of Iraq being in front, and that's where we want them to remain, and to remain very engaged.

MCEVERS: Kelly McEvers, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And you're listening to NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.