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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 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.

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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.


Senator Calls For Justice's Criminal Division Chief To Step Down

Dec 7, 2011

Iowa Republican Charles Grassley took to the Senate floor Wednesday to declare that a senior Justice Department official "needs to go immediately" for allegedly misleading Congress in its 11-month-old investigation of a gun trafficking operation gone bad.

"It's past time for accountability at the senior levels of the Justice Department," Grassley said. "That accountability needs to start with the head of the criminal division, Lanny Breuer."

In a 15-minute speech, Grassley set out two main reasons for demanding Breuer's ouster.

First, he said, Breuer showed a "complete lack of judgment" by failing to notify his superiors immediately in 2010 when he discovered that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, working during the Bush administration, had lost track of weapons in an effort to try to build cases against violent Mexican drug cartels.

Last month, speaking before Congress, Breuer apologized for the lapse and for failing to "make a connection" between that operation, known as "Wide Receiver," and similar tactics by which ATF agents lost track of as many as 2,000 guns in the Obama operation known as "Fast and Furious." Some of those guns turned up at crime scenes on both sides of the Southwest border, including near the body of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was slain by bandits in December 2010.

It appears, Grassley said, that Breuer was more concerned about protecting the Justice Department from embarrassment than getting to the root of lapses at the ATF. "For 18 months, the embarrassing truth about ATF gun walking...and Breuer's knowledge of it was successfully hidden," Grassley said. "It only came out because of the congressional investigation into gun walking in Fast and Furious."

The department's criminal division came under congressional scrutiny all over again last Friday, when the Justice Department produced new email messages and internal documents showing that Breuer received at least four drafts of a Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Congress that has since been withdrawn because it contains misleading and inaccurate statements about ATF tactics. Breuer sent a couple of the messages to his personal email account, but he says he's not certain he actually read the documents because he was on the road and has a busy schedule.

Second, Grassley said, "It just isn't credible that someone like Mr. Breuer would forget about his involvement in a matter like this. Mr. Breuer's failure to be candid and forthcoming before this body irreparably harms his credibility....If you can't be straight with the Congress, you don't need to be running the criminal division. It's time to stop spinning and start taking responsibility."

Justice Department officials, speaking not for attribution to reporters Friday, said their review had put responsibility for the inaccuracies in the Feb. 4, 2011, letter on the ATF and the U.S. Attorney's office in Arizona. Both units have undergone shakeups in management since lawmakers turned up the heat; the Justice Department inspector general is also investigating.

The Justice Department had no immediate comment on Grassley's statements. But Breuer told NPR earlier this year that he hoped the controversy would focus attention the bigger problem of lax gun laws, the flow of weapons across the border, and their use in widespread violence in Mexico.

The issue will come up again Thursday morning, when Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee.

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