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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.


New U.S. Strategy On Afghanistan Hinges On Pakistan

Nov 20, 2011

As the drawdown of American combat troops in Afghanistan nears, the U.S. is facing an increasingly dangerous opponent. The Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with the Taliban, is believed to be behind a recent string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, and it's forcing the U.S. to rethink an earlier strategy for stabilizing the country.

But the strategy hinges on help and cooperation from Pakistan — which is never a sure thing.

In the early afternoon of Sept. 13, the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy in the center of Kabul, the Afghan capital, came under attack. For hours, insurgents firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades were able to hold off Western and Afghan security forces.

The audacious assault was just one of several high-profile attacks blamed on the Haqqani network. The militant group has existed for more than three decades — and actually worked with the United States during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Now, it has become one of America's most virulent foes, capable of undermining U.S. plans for Afghanistan.

Help In Squeezing Militants

During her recent swing through the region, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed specifically to the Haqqani network when she laid out the U.S. strategy, called "Fight, Talk, Build." Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, says it's not really a new strategy.

"They've put a label on that which the United States has been trying to do quietly behind the scenes. I actually think it's a type of diplomacy combined with targeted coercive measures to try to actually hammer out a sustainable peace agreement, but I think it'll take years," Katulis says.

Clinton described those coercive measures as "squeezing" the Haqqanis. The U.S. has already been hunting and killing Haqqani and Taliban militants in Pakistan with drones. It's also pressing Islamabad to arrest or kill suspected militants hiding out in the country's tribal areas.

But getting that help is the sticking point to the "Fight, Talk, Build" strategy. Pakistan has been publicly accused by the U.S. of providing support to the Haqqanis and other Islamist groups and providing safe haven for them. Clinton said that has to change.

"We intend to push the Pakistanis very hard as to what they are willing and able to do with us and the international community to remove the safe havens and the continuing threats across the border to Afghanistan," she said.

U.S. officials say they want Islamabad to "turn off the spigot" of funding and support for the Haqqanis and other groups. The U.S. is no longer asking Pakistan to launch another enormous military operation to clear out insurgents as it did a couple years ago in the Swat Valley. Instead, the U.S. is looking for targeted hits and shared intelligence.

Can Pakistan Deliver?

Shamila Chaudhary, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, was, until recently, the director for Pakistan at the U.S. National Security Council. She says it's not completely clear what the Pakistanis can or cannot deliver.

"The Pakistanis are holding their cards very close to their chest and many of those cards may well be blank. And I think they're feeling extremely vulnerable, so vulnerable that they don't actually want to play any of those cards — they're trying to hold them as long as they can," she says.

Chaudhary says that holds true for any reconciliation efforts as well — whether Pakistan can bring militants to the table or prevent them from showing up. The U.S. has shown it is willing to meet: Clinton divulged that there was a meeting this summer between U.S. officials and members of the Haqqani network.

Michael Semple, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School, says he is encouraged the U.S. is willing to talk.

"It's good that they're prepared to stomach dealing with some fairly difficult actors; obviously dealing with the Taliban, the Haqqanis, it's no joke — these are very difficult actors. But sometimes one is obliged to do this kind of thing to get the right results. The real question marks I have is whether they're going to be able to sustain the effort long enough to see the results," Semple says.

The Eurasia Group's Chaudhary agrees with that assessment.

"I think that within the administration itself, there's still significant debate over whether reconciliation is the right way to go," Chaudhary says. "Some parts of the government still see the Taliban as a group that can't be negotiated with, while others see it as the U.S. having no choice."

And, Chaudhary says, those mixed messages are confusing all the players, including Pakistan's leadership and the Haqqani network.

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