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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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Midwest Learns To Manufacture More With Less

Dec 31, 2011

CEO Eric Treiber walks out onto the factory floor of Chicago White Metal Casting. Workers are busy making aluminum, zinc and magnesium metal parts for cars, swimming pools and farm equipment.

The floor's a lot louder than it was a few years ago. At Chicago White Metal Casting, revenue is up 4 percent from 2010 — and that year was better than the one before.

Chicago White Metal Casting isn't alone: Most U.S. manufacturing came back strong this year. Nowhere was that more evident than across the Midwest. But even if it was a good year for industry, not many of the jobs lost during the recent recession returned.

"We're seeing a great demand for some of the machinery that's made right here in the Midwest," says Bill Strauss, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He's talking about not just small parts but cars, tractors, mining equipment and steel.

As the Federal Reserve measures it, Midwestern manufacturing has enjoyed 28 months of growth — at rates much better than the national average and the overall economy.

"The kind of goods that we produce here are very high-value-added goods — you know, we have the Caterpillar 797B made here in the state of Illinois," Strauss says. "It's the largest truck made in the world, weighing over a million pounds, costing in the neighborhood of $7 million, $8 million."

Imagine how much steel goes into that.

Despite Growth, Midwest Isn't Recouping Jobs

So with all those orders, where are the jobs?

During the recession, one out of every four jobs lost was in manufacturing — that's 2.3 million jobs. As of last November, though, just 308,000 had returned.

Why so few? Remember the mantra "produce more with less"? Many manufacturers practically perfected that during this recession.

Take Chicago White Metal Casting. Treiber says the company had to be focused on productivity to keep up with overseas competition. So he updated machines, focused on staff training and improved quality control.

And Treiber actually is hiring. But he's looking for specialists, such as die-cast machinists or those who fix those machines.

And that's the problem right now with manufacturing: With better productivity, the need is for more skilled workers — not just machinists, but welders, designers and, most of all, people who know how to operate the new computerized machines on factory floors.

"What about those 2 million people that lost jobs?" Strauss asks. "Can't you hire those back? What you find out from people is that even though they were classified as being in manufacturing, many of them lack the kind of skills that are required in this more 21st century manufacturing."

Strauss says he's optimistic that the manufacturing sector will continue to do well in the coming year. But he also says it will need more workers who have the exact skills needed to do the new jobs.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.chicagopublicradio.org.