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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.


Report: Criminal Charges Being Prepared Against BP For Gulf Oil Spill

Dec 29, 2011

"U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, citing "people familiar with the matter."

[9:45 a.m. ET: See update below from NPR's Carrie Johnson, who reports no decision has been made on whether to go ahead with charges.]

According to the Journal, the prosecutors are focusing on evidence that some BP engineers and supervisors may have given regulators false information about the risks associated with the drilling.

The Journal (longer excerpt posted here, by Fox News; both news outlets are owned by News Corp.) says that "a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment." That version of the Journal report also notes that "Justice still could decide not to bring charges against the individuals, people familiar with the situation said. It's not unusual for prosecutors to use the threat of charges to pressure people to cooperate in investigations."

Bloomberg Businessweek says that "Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP in Chicago, and David Nicholas, a London-based spokesman for the company, declined to comment on the report." It adds that:

"BP faces at least 350 lawsuits by thousands of coastal property owners and businesses claiming damages from the more than 4.1 million barrels of oil that gushed from its well off the Louisiana coast."

As we've reported, all the companies involved in the spill have been trading accusations about which was most responsible.

Update at 9:45 a.m ET. "No Final Decisions About Charges Have Been Made":

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports that sources familiar with what's happening say no final decisions about charges have been made. As she tells the NPR Newscast Desk:

"The Justice Department task force that has been investigating the spill is starting to wrap up its work. And while prosecutors are looking into criminal charges against engineers at BP who may have under-estimated the dangers of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, they haven't yet decided whether to prosecute. Even if they do go ahead, defense attorneys for the engineers will have the option of appealing to higher ups at Justice.

"An attorney for one of the engineers said a decision to prosecute would be the beginning of the legal process, not the end.

"Meanwhile, the head of the task force, longtime Brooklyn prosecutor John Buretta, has stepped up his meetings with supervisors at Justice in Washington in recent weeks. Observers expect some decisions about criminal charges to come before a civil trial over liability for the spill begins in February."

Now that we've added Carrie's reporting, we've also tweaked the headline on this post. It originally read: "Report: Criminal Charges Being Prepared Against BP For Gulf Oil Spill."

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