Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Tuesday on how he would go about reforming 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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Pages

Report Says Syrian Forces Have Killed 256 Children

Nov 29, 2011

An independent commission has released a blistering human rights report that says Syria's security forces have carried out widespread abuses against protesters, including murder and torture.

The commission, appointed by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, based its report on interviews with more than 220 witnesses or victims of abuse by Syrian security forces. The panel says it collected a solid body of evidence and identified patterns of human rights violations.

Panel chairman, Paulo Pinheiro of Brazil, said excessive force was used against unarmed protesters and even children in several cities. He said the report concluded that by early November, at least 256 children had been killed by government forces since the uprising began in March.

"Torture, sexual violence and ill treatment were inflicted on civilians suspected of sympathy with the protests, regardless of their gender or age," he said. "The gruesome and extreme nature of torture methods that we describe in the report were used by security force and in numerous cases resulted in death."

A Syrian soldier who defected from the army said he saw a 2-year-old girl shot by a member of Syria's security force who said he didn't want her to grow up to be a demonstrator. There were accounts of boys being raped, one in front of his father. A former detainee says he saw a 14-year-old boy tortured to death while in custody.

Firing On Unarmed Protesters

The report also detailed incidents of security forces opening fire on unarmed protesters, in some cases by snipers on rooftops. Pinheiro said the Syrian government committed crimes against humanity in their repression of peaceful demonstrators.

"The commission has also reached the conclusion that the widespread and systematic violations human rights in Syria could not have happened without the consent of the highest ranking state officials," he said.

Randa Slim, a scholar with the Middle East Institute, says the report should put to rest the government's claims that armed gangs — rather than Syrian security forces — committed the atrocities. But she says it's unlikely to stop the violence in the short term.

"I think the Syrian government has opted for what it's called the 'security option,' which means using force to bring this protest movement to an end," said Slim.

Radwan Ziadeh, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, says it shouldn't take the kind of violence laid out in the report to warrant international action against the Damascus government.

"I think the world should not allow this actually to happen again ... and this is why the international community should do something to help the Syrians," he said.

There has been some movement against the Syrian regime in the past week. The Arab League leveled sanctions against Syria and France called for the creation of humanitarian corridors to help civilians suffering from the crackdown.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.