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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.

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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.

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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.

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In S.C.: Whether To Say 'It's A Great Day' Is Now A Political Issue

Dec 28, 2011
Originally published on December 28, 2011 1:26 pm

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:

"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"

But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).

Rep. John Richard C. King and Rep. Rep. Wendell G. Gilliard say in their bill that the governor's order shouldn't go into effect so long as:

-- "The state's unemployment rate equals or exceeds five percent."

-- "All citizens of this State do not have health insurance."

-- "School funding for grades K-12 and for higher education is not sufficient to ensure that all students are prepared for the twenty-first century."

-- "The rural infrastructure of this State is not adequate to allow rural areas to compete for new business and industry on an equal basis with urban areas of this State."

As for the legislation's prospects: Republicans control both the House and Senate in South Carolina, as well as the governor's mansion. So the two Democrats' initiative isn't likely to go very far.

According to The Associated Press, "a Haley spokesman says the Republican governor stands by the greeting."

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