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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.


Moody's Keeps United States' AAA Rating

Nov 23, 2011

Moody's Investors Service announced Wednesday that despite the supercommittee's inability to reach a debt-reducing deal, it would leave the United States' top-notch credit rating intact.

The Hill reports:

"While the supercommittee failure was seen as a major event on Capitol Hill, Moody's said its dissolution does not substantially change America's fiscal math. The panel failed to come up with its own plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit, but now automatic cuts of that same amount are set to take effect in 2013.

"If the supercommittee had managed to "go big" and come up with a plan exceeding its mandate, it would have been a positive for the nation's rating, but 'its failure to do so does not decrease the amount of deficit reduction already legislated,' Moody's said.

"The agency added that, while the makeup of the trigger cuts could be altered without significantly affecting the nation's credit, major efforts to reduce or eliminate those cuts could have 'negative rating implications.'"

Just a bit of context: During the debt ceiling negotiations congress created a supercommittee to find about $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. This week, the supercommittee announced it could come to a bipartisan agreement, which under current law triggers automatic cuts — half from the defense budget, half from the domestic budget.

But as our friend Liz Halloran reported for NPR, there's already talk that Congress could rewrite the legislation to stop those automatic cuts.

That's what Moody's is warning against. Here's how some analysts see it, according to Dow Jones:

"The big worry is whether members of Congress will soften the initial rules" of the law that was passed in August and weaken the automatic spending cuts, said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia. Political bickering and any potential push to weaken the $1.2 trillion plan, even if it doesn't pass through Congress, could be enough to trigger a downgrade, he said.

That's because it would imply that over the life of the plan, "Congress doesn't have the will to get it through," LeBas said. S&P said in August when it first downgraded the U.S. that political fighting was one of the primary reasons for the downgrade. It said it was leery of the government being able to come to a consensus about broad, sweeping deficit reduction plans.

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