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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.

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SEC Charges Ex-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac CEOs

Dec 16, 2011

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going after former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for allegedly committing securities fraud.

The mortgage giants had to be taken over by the government in 2008 and then propped up by taxpayers. The SEC says the officials misled investors about the firm's exposure to subprime mortgages

Critics have accused the SEC of taking a perpetrator-free approach to the financial crisis, targeting corporate entities for wrongdoing instead of CEOs. But on Friday the SEC went to court and charged six former top executives including former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd and former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron.

The charges allege that Mudd, Syron and the others misled investors by claiming that their companies had minimal holdings of subprime and other high-risk mortgages. Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, said Freddie Mac made that claim in its annual report for 2006 when Syron was its CEO.

"In fact, the company had a $141 billion of subprime exposure, representing 10 percent of its single-family portfolio as of Dec. 31, 2006," Khuzami said. By June 2008 Freddie's subprime exposure had grown to $244 billion.

Karen Petrou, of Federal Financial Analytics, says her company knew Fannie and Freddie were not disclosing all their subprime loans. "What we didn't know and what does surprise me is the magnitude of the differences. We knew they were wrong; we did not know they were howlingly wrong."

In Freddie Mac's case, she says, for a CEO not to know his company owned $244 billion in shaky mortgages would be equivalent to no knowing your company owned a major bank. Syron has not commented on the charges. But Petrou says the company's regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, should have known, too.

"They didn't," she says. "That's appallingly clear, because if they had been effective regulators we wouldn't have Fannie and Freddie in conservatorship costing the taxpayers $170-plus billion to date and not counting the billions more to come."

The SEC's complaint against Daniel Mudd and the other Fannie Mae executives says they misrepresented the size of their firms' exposure to shaky mortgages, too. In 2007, the executives put the number at $4.8 billion, when it was really $43 billion, according to the SEC. Mudd's lawyer says his client "did not mislead anyone."

In a statement Mudd said that the government-appointed executives that succeeded him had signed the same disclosures he did, but they're being held blameless so the government can sue individuals fired years ago.

Law professor John Coffee of Columbia University says the SEC should be congratulated for finally focusing on the wrongdoing of top executives.

"There needs to be individual corporate accountability on the part of these senior executives before we're going to get adequate deterrence and a greater chance of avoiding the next financial meltdown," he says.

Since this is a civil action the executives will not have to go to jail if they're found guilty. They could have to pay financial penalties and be forced to return ill-gotten gains. Both Mudd and Syron made a total of more than $30 million between 2006 to 2008.

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