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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 Tuesday on how he would go about reforming 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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Monti Brings Experience, Clout To Italian Leadership

Nov 14, 2011

In a country where politicians shield themselves behind dark-tinted windows in sleek limousines, Roman paparazzi are having a field day with Italy's new premier-designate, Mario Monti, who actually walks down the street, without bodyguards.

But the longest sound bite reporters are likely to get from him is: "Isn't it a splendid day?"

Monti was chosen to replace the flamboyant Silvio Berlusconi, who was forced to step down over the country's worsening eurozone crisis.

A technocrat and a political outsider, Monti is likely to face opposition from both left and right as he tries to form a government in order to implement needed reforms and put the debt-burdened country back on track.

The austere and dignified Monti is the antithesis of the youth-obsessed Berlusconi, says James Walston, professor of international relations at Rome's American University.

"[Monti] will certainly not make dirty jokes in public, and probably not in private either. He is somebody who acts rather than talks and is based firmly on merit, on what he has done. So he is completely, in form and substance, the opposite [of Berlusconi]," Walston says.

The 68-year-old Monti was born near Milan, the son of a bank manager. As a teenager, at the peak of the Cold War, his father took him to visit the United States as well as the Soviet Union — to broaden his horizons.

He studied economics and did his post-graduate studies at Yale with the Nobel Prize-winning economist James Tobin.

As EU commissioner he enforced antitrust regulations, and was called "Super Mario."

He blocked General Electric's merger with rival Honeywell in 2001, and he sent chills through the corporate world in 2004 when he announced a record $683 million antitrust fine on Bill Gates' software giant, ordering it also to reveal its Windows software secrets.

"The commission has taken a decision today which finds that Microsoft has abused its virtual monopoly power over the PC desktop in Europe," Monti said in announcing the decision.

Competition is one of Monti's key economic principles, and one of his major tasks as head of government will be to make Italy competitive again. Currently, it ranks 87th on the World Bank's "ease of doing business" index — below Belarus and Mongolia.

In Berlin last week, Monti said, "By introducing more competition, we will introduce more merit, and less of a role for nepotism, cronyism and corruption."

Federico Rampini, journalist at the daily La Repubblica, explains Monti's vision.

"His idea of a social market economy is very near the German model. You do have competition, you have capitalism. But at the same time, the government is very active in the economy, you have a generous welfare state," Rampini says.

In his first public remarks Sunday night as premier-designate, Monti stressed both growth and social equity, two concepts that have been left out of the budget-cutting policies imposed by international lenders on countries being bailed out.

Analysts say that Monti will hold his own with the eurocrats, and especially with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has insisted on austerity measures for debt-burdened countries.

Rampini says Monti will have more clout than most European prime ministers.

"He is at home in Brussels, in Paris, in Frankfurt. He really has a tremendous network of relationships. So he really starts with a tremendous capital of credibility and reputation," Rampini says.

And, after the scandal-ridden Berlusconi years, it is precisely respect and credibility that the country needs most.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.