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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.


Obama, Maliki Pledge Cooperation After U.S. Pullout

Dec 12, 2011

President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met at the White House on Monday and pledged to maintain strong ties after the U.S. withdraws the last of its troops, but nagging concerns remain about Iraq's security and neighboring Iran.

In 2007, at the height of U.S. involvement, there were some 170,000 American troops fighting in Iraq. As part of his presidential campaign, Obama pledged to bring every last soldier home. It took a bit longer than he promised, but as he stood next to Maliki after their meeting Monday, the president was upbeat and optimistic about Iraq's future.

"We're here to mark the end of this war, to honor the sacrifices of all those who made this day possible, and to turn the page, begin a new chapter in the history between our two countries — a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect," Obama said.

Need For U.S. Help And The Iran Issue

In the past, the president referred to the conflict in Iraq as a "dumb war." On Monday, he sidestepped the question whether he still felt that way, saying history will judge the original decision to invade the country. Obama said the U.S. wants to build a more comprehensive relationship with Iraq, expanding trade and energy ties, among many other things.

Speaking through a translator, Maliki said Iraq will continue to need help from the U.S.

"[Iraq] remains in need of cooperation with the United States of America in the security issues and information and combating terrorism and in the area of training. And we want to want to complete the process of equipping the Iraqi army in order to protect our sovereignty," the prime minister said.

The U.S. will close all of its military bases in Iraq this month, but leave an enormous diplomatic presence of more than 15,000 people, which includes about 5,000 contractors, mostly for security.

Washington had tried to leave several thousand soldiers behind, but decided to pull them all out after Maliki's government refused to grant them legal immunity. NATO announced Monday that it was withdrawing its troops by the end of the year, for the same reason.

Maliki says Iraq's security forces can handle internal threats. But it's regional security that is causing the most concern. More specifically, neighboring Iran may try to assert greater influence on Iraq in the wake of the American withdrawal.

President Obama said Monday that Maliki has shown that he will put Iraq's interests ahead of anything else.

"[Maliki] has shown himself to be willing to make very tough decision in the interest of Iraqi nationalism, even if they cause problems with his neighbor," the president said.

Shaping A New Relationship

Still, as the clock ticks down on the U.S. withdrawal, talks are ongoing about how the two countries can continue security cooperation, without appearing to upset Iraq's sovereignty.

Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says it's not clear how that new security relationship will look.

"We're going to have to figure out what kind of ongoing training presence they might want, because we might not be yet be able to provide them as much as they need, we're going to have to figure out with them if they want us to provide any over-the-horizon air power cover and what that might imply in terms of liaison officers on the ground," O'Hanlon says.

There has been talk of training Iraqi soldiers outside of the country.

Obama said the U.S. would train Iraqi pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets that Baghdad purchased earlier this year, and he said there may be occasion for joint exercises and counter-terrorism operations. And that, the president said, is no different than Washington's relationship with many other countries.

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