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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.


Reports: Obama To Seek Power To Merge Agencies, Streamline Government

Jan 13, 2012
(A new lede was put on this post at 11:30 a.m. ET.)

Saying "the government we have is not the government we need" and that it's still organized for the 20th Century, President Obama is asking Congress to give him the power to do some streamlining and merging of agencies that overlap.

"I'm calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had" to reorganize the government, the president just said at the White House. He pledged to only use the authority to make the government more efficient and leaner.

As we reported earlier, his first proposal is to merge agencies that deal with international trade, including some in the Commerce Department and the White House's Office of the Trade Representative.

Update at 11:37 a.m. ET. "Six Is Not Better Than One":

According to the president, there are six departments and agencies focused on trade. "In this case, six is not better than one," he said. "We could consolidate them all into one department with one website, one phone number, one mission — helping American businesses succeed."

Our original post from 7:30 a.m. ET and an earlier update:

President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress "for more power to streamline the government by merging agencies," The Associated Press reports. It cites a "senior administration official" as its source.

Politico says it has confirmed the news that "in what could lead to a big reorganization of the federal government, President Obama will ask Congress for the power to merge departments and agencies to ... improve efficiency."

And The Hill is on the story as well, reporting that "President Obama, looking to make the federal government leaner, is looking to merge six trade and commerce agencies, a senior administration official confirmed."

According to the AP, the president's "first proposal would be to combine trade and commerce operations into one."

The White House says the president will be delivering "remarks on government reform" at 11:20 a.m. ET, from the East Room of the White House.

Update at 10:40 a.m. ET. Confirmed:

"The first reorganization the president will propose is to take some of the trade functions of the Commerce Department and his own U.S. Office of Trade Representative, as well as several other government agencies that deal with trade, and put them together," NPR's Scott Horsley tells our Newscast desk. "This is designed both to help businesses sort of navigate the federal bureaucracy and also to cut costs. The White House says this could save $3 billion over the next decade."

The president, Scott adds, will ask Congress for "fast-track authority to propose reorganizations." Lawmakers would have to cast up-or-down votes on such proposals within 90 days.

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