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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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Obama Government-Streamlining Offer Creates GOP Dilemma

Jan 13, 2012
Originally published on January 13, 2012 12:54 pm

Maybe even if it weren't a general-election year, President Obama would still be proposing that Congress give him the power to merge federal agencies to make the government smaller and more efficient.

But the fact is it is the year in which the president is seeking re-election, a year in which both the eventual Republican presidential nominee and Obama's GOP opponents in Congress will assert hundreds of times before it's over that he is a big-government Democrat.

So the president's proposal Friday that Congress grant him the authority to streamline government comes just in time to serve as a handy defense against those election-year charges from Republicans that he's a defender of oversized and wasteful government.

According to the Associated Press, which got a heads-up on the president's proposal from a White House official, the first recommended mergers would be in the commerce and trade areas.

Obama would be able to propose consolidations and Congress would dispose of them in 90 days with a simple up or down vote. President Ronald Reagan was the last Oval Office to have this authority.

The official told the AP that 1,000 to 2,000 jobs would be eliminated through attrition (that should ease some of the opposition from unions that represent federal workers.) The savings would be as much as $3 billion over 10 years, the official said.

What's not to love if you're a small-government Republican? It should be an offer congressional Republicans can't refuse.

Which is exactly the point. Obama is placing congressional Republicans in a box by presenting them with an idea they should be quick to embrace.

But it comes from a president whose agenda they seem to reflexively recoil against. And it also comes during an election year when the last thing they want to give him are any legislative victories that might help him win re-election.

Thus the dilemma for congressional Republicans.

If they reject it, Obama can add another arrow to his quiver of attacks against a do-nothing Congress while he can campaign as someone who would streamline government if only Republicans would let him.

And if congressional Republicans accept it, they give him a victory he can campaign on.

Either way, it allows him to better position himself against Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee. Romney's 59-point economic plan includes reducing the size of the federal workforce and eliminating duplication.

Friday's proposal gives Obama his own counter to Romney.

So now the ball's clearly in the Republican court. If the past is any guide, their response will be that Obama's plan doesn't go nearly far enough in whittling big government down to size.

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