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School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

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Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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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 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 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!":

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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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Trade, Security On Agenda For Obama, Japan's Noda

Apr 30, 2012
Originally published on April 30, 2012 10:09 am

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda are meeting at the White House on Monday — the first such meeting between U.S. and Japanese leaders in three years.

Political turmoil in Japan has led to a constant turnover in leadership: There have been six prime ministers in as many years.

"This will be his fourth Japanese prime minister since he [Obama] came into office in 2009," says Sheila Smith, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Japan's own domestic inability to have sustained political leadership makes it very difficult for the alliance, and it's very hard to say, 'Can we have a prime minister for more than one year, please?' It does make bilateral cooperation very, very difficult."

The alliance with Japan is a critical component to the Obama administration's strategic shift toward the Asia-Pacific region, which includes distributing U.S. forces more broadly throughout the area. A major stumbling block to those plans has been the U.S. military presence in Japan.

There is profound Japanese opposition to American Marines stationed on the island of Okinawa. That friction was eased last week when the two sides agreed to move some 9,000 Marines — about half of those stationed in Okinawa — to Guam, Hawaii and other Asian-Pacific sites.

The agreement has strong support across the U.S. and Japanese governments, says Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

"We think it breaks a very long stalemate on Okinawa that has plagued our politics, that has clogged both of our systems, that has made it difficult to deal with the critical and crucial issues that confront the United States and Japan and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region," he says.

Campbell adds that the agreement comes at an auspicious time.

"We've had and faced new challenges on the Korean Peninsula, new provocations from North Korea," he says. "We have been busy with a number of steps in the Asia-Pacific region associated with our overall defense posture."

And there's China's military buildup and its territorial disputes over the South China Sea. Campbell says the U.S. is in close consultation with a number of other countries in the region about ways it can increase U.S. deployments and training.

Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesman for Prime Minister Noda, says distributing U.S. forces more broadly through the Asia-Pacific region will help strengthen deterrence.

"From a Japanese government point of view, U.S. intention to re-balance defense priorities in the Asia-Pacific region is welcome," Shikata says. "It's not only limited to defense issues; we welcome U.S. efforts to advance its diplomatic and economic engagement in the region."

Obama and Noda are due to talk, among other things, about trade pacts. At a formal dinner Monday evening, the Obama administration will announce a gift of 3,000 dogwood trees grown especially for Japan. It comes 100 years after Japan sent 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Japan's prime minister is in Washington today to meet with President Obama. The two countries have just agreed to move thousands of U.S. Marines off a controversial base on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Now, they hope to focus on other issues, as NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: This will be the first bilateral summit between U.S. and Japanese leaders in three years. Sheila Smith, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says political turmoil in Japan has led to a constant turnover in leadership. There have been six prime ministers in as many years. Smith says although President Obama has met with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda before, he could be forgiven to double-checking. That's who he'll be seeing again today.

SHEILA SMITH: This will be his fourth Japanese prime minister since he came into office in 2009. Japan's own domestic inability to have sustained political leadership makes it very difficult for the alliance. And it's very hard to say, you know, can we have a prime minister for more than one year, please? But it does make bilateral cooperation very, very difficult.

NORTHAM: The alliance with Japan is a critical component to the Obama administration's strategic shift toward the Asia-Pacific region. That includes distributing U.S. forces more broadly throughout the area. A major stumbling block to those plans was the U.S. military presence in Japan. There's a profound Japanese opposition to American Marines stationed on the island of Okinawa. That friction was eased last week when the two sides agreed to move some 9,000 Marines - about half those stationed in Okinawa - to Guam, Hawaii and other Asian-Pacific sites. Kurt Campbell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, says the agreement has strong support across the U.S. and Japanese governments.

KURT CAMPBELL: We think it breaks a very long stalemate on Okinawa that has plagued our politics, that has clogged both of our systems, that has made it difficult to deal with the critical and crucial issues that confront the United States and Japan and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

NORTHAM: Campbell says the agreement comes at an auspicious time.

CAMPBELL: We've had - faced new challenges on the Korean Peninsula, new provocations from North Korea. We have been busy with a number of steps in the Asia Pacific region associated with our overall defense posture.

NORTHAM: And there's China's military buildup and its territorial disputes over the South China Sea. Campbell says the U.S. is in close consultation with a number of other countries in the region about ways it can increase U.S. deployments and training. Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesman for Prime Minister Noda, says distributing U.S. forces more broadly through the Asia-Pacific region will help strengthen deterrence.

NORIYUKI SHIKATA: From a Japanese government point of view, U.S. intention to rebalance defense priorities toward the Asia-Pacific region is welcome. And also, it's not only limited to defense issues. You know, we welcome U.S. efforts, you know, to advance its diplomatic and economic engagement in the region.

NORTHAM: President Obama and Prime Minister Noda are due to talk, among other things, about trade pacts during their meeting today. At a formal dinner this evening, the Obama administration will announce a gift of 3,000 dogwood trees, especially grown for Japan. It comes 100 years after Japan sent 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington. Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.