Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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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 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 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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Senator Demands Answers from Freddie Mac's Regulator

Feb 3, 2012
Originally published on February 3, 2012 4:19 pm

Sen. Robert Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, sent a list of questions about Freddie Mac's controversial trades to the mortgage giant's regulator, highlighting how much remains unknown even after a flurry of statements from the regulator.

ProPublica and NPR reported on Monday that Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage-insurance company, placed multibillion-dollar bets that pay off if homeowners stay trapped in expensive mortgages with interest rates well above current rates.

Questions the Senator put to the regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, include why Freddie made the deals in the first place; when the FHFA learned of the trades; what role, if any, the FHFA played in them; and what the FHFA plans to do about the billions of dollars worth of deals Freddie still has on its books.

Freddie began increasing those deals, called inverse floaters, dramatically in late 2010, the same time that the company was making it harder for homeowners to get out of such high-interest mortgages.

No evidence has emerged that these decisions were coordinated, and Freddie says that they weren't.

But the trades highlight a conflict of interest: Freddie's charter calls for the company to make home loans more accessible, but Freddie also has giant investment portfolios and could lose substantial amounts of money if too many borrowers refinance.

Freddie and its sister company Fannie Mae are regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. But with those companies in government conservatorship, the FHFA is more than a regulator. It also acts essentially as Freddie's board of directors.

In a letter to Senator Casey dated Tuesday, FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco said that last that Freddie's trades, known as inverse floaters, had raised "concerns." He explained that FHFA believed "that the risk associated with these transactions is inconsistent with FHFA's goals of having Freddie Mac reduce its risk profile and avoid unnecessary complexity that requires specialized risk management practices."

In a previous statement, DeMarco said that those concerns forced Freddie to agree not to engage in any new inverse floater deals. Freddie had stopped making the deals a few months earlier, according to the FHFA, but it is unclear why. Freddie retains about $5 billion worth of the floaters on its books.

In his letter today to DeMarco, Senator Casey wrote:

"...I would appreciate you addressing some additional questions:

  • "What rationale did Freddie Mac have for its increased purchase of inverse floaters in 2010 and 2011?
  • "What was FHFA's involvement in the sale? Please detail for me when FHFA was made aware of these purchases, and when they intervened.
  • "What type of oversight does FHFA practice over Freddie Mac's investment division? Are potentially risky trade pre-approved by you or other FHFA officials?
  • "Although Freddie Mac has ceased their purchase of the types of securities in question, they are still in their portfolio. How does FHFA plan to address these securities moving forward?
  • "What steps will you take to ensure that in the future FHFA is able to intervene before risky trade take place?"
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