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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.


Politicians Take Note: 'Pragmatic' Was 2011's Word Of The Year

Dec 15, 2011
Originally published on December 15, 2011 11:02 am

Americans put members of Congress at the very bottom of those they consider to be honest and ethical. They tell pollsters that they want politicians in Washington to "compromise in order to get things done."

And now we hear that Merriam-Webster has chosen "pragmatic" as its top word of 2011.

The connection between those things: Online searches for the word spiked in August as Republicans and Democrats were arguing over the federal debt ceiling and a possible government shutdown loomed. Searches for "pragmatic" increased again this fall, The Associated Press reports, as the so-called supercommittee failed to agree on a way to reduce the federal deficit.

The wire service adds that:

" 'Pragmatic' may have sparked dictionary users' interest both because they'd heard it in conversations, and because it captures the current American mood of encouraging practicality over frivolity, said John Morse, president and publisher of Springfield, Mass.-based Merriam-Webster. 'Pragmatic is a word that describes a kind of quality that people value in themselves but also look for in others, and look for in policymakers and the activities of people around them,' Morse said."

The rest of Merriam-Webster's Top Ten List for 2011:

2. ambivalence.

3. insidious.

4. didactic.

5. austerity.

6. diversity.

7. capitalism.

8. socialism.

9. vitriol.

10. après moi le déluge ("After me, the deluge," which spiked when pundit David Gergen used it in an essay titled "Have they gone nuts in Washington?" It's a quote attributed to Louis XV of France when he predicted the French revolution.)

Past words of the year, according to Merriam-Webster:

2010 — austerity.

2009 — admonish.

2008 — bailout.

2007 — wOOt. ("Expressing joy." It's an acronym that comes from online gaming and refers to "we owned the other team.")

2006 — truthiness. (Famously coined by Stephen Colbert.)

2005. — integrity.

2004 — blog.

2003 — democracy.

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