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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.


Romney Says He's Taxed At 15 Percent Rate

Jan 17, 2012
Originally published on January 17, 2012 5:51 pm

He has probably paid an effective federal income tax rate of about 15 percent in recent years, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told reporters in South Carolina a short time ago.

Dogged by questions from his GOP opponents about his personal finances and when he will release his income tax returns, the former Massachusetts governor this morning confirmed some of what had long been suspected: Because he gets most of his income from investments, he pays less in taxes than he would if he was paid in wages. The top tax rate for upper income wage earners: 35 percent, as The Washington Post reminds us.

CBS News reports that:

"Asked a press conference what rate he pays, Romney responded, 'What's the effective rate I've been paying? It's probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything. Because my last 10 years, my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past, whether ordinary income or earned annually. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speakers' fees from time to time, but not very much.' "

His definition of "not very much" may not fit with many Americans.' USA Today examined his financial disclosure forms covering most of 2010 and the start of 2011 and found that he had earned "more than $362,000 in speaking fees."

Romney's confirmation about his effective tax rate is sure to bring up mentions by his liberal critics of the "Buffett rule." Named for billionaire Warren Buffett (who thinks the very rich should pay more in taxes), it's the observation that those who can classify their income as "carried interest" get taxed at a rate much below the rates paid by many of the less well-off.

As for when he will release his income tax returns, Romney implied last night that he might do so in April. Tuesday morning, The New York Times says, "Mr. Romney said that April's tax season seemed to be the appropriate month for such a disclosure, and that he was following 'tradition' from previous presidential races."

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET. Obama's Rate In 2010:

Now that we've had a minute to check back, we're reminded that President Obama and the first lady paid an effective federal income tax rate of 26.3 percent on their 2010 earnings of about $1.7 million (much of it from book royalties). We wrote last year that:

"The Obama's tax liability gave them an effective federal income tax rate of 26.3 percent. The top tax bracket is 35 percent but they were able to knock that down through $373,289 in itemized deductions.

"Much of those deductions came from the $245,075 the Obama's reported giving to charity, or 14.2 percent of their income. The largest single donation was $131,075 which they gave to Fisher House Foundation."

Also, Vice President Biden and his wife Jill had "gross income of $379,178 with $67,038 in itemized deductions. Their tax liability was $86,626, giving the Bidens a 22.8 percent effective federal income tax rate."

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