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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.


Stories About High Health Care Costs Win Prizes

Jan 19, 2012
Originally published on January 19, 2012 12:39 pm

If you're bugged by cost problems you find in health care, you can draw attention to them (and blow off a little steam) by writing about them. And if you're really lucky your work might help change things.

Who knows? You might even make a little cash. Essays from four people just won them $1,000 each in the second annual Costs of Care contest.

Costs of Care is a nonprofit group that's trying to get doctors and other health professionals to be more thoughtful about health costs. The group gets some backing from insurers Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan.

Now, with that out of the way, who won?

The patient winners:

Renee Lux of Connecticut explains how a CT scan that she could probably have done without triggered some expensive insurance complications. As Lux was shopping for health coverage for her healthy family of four, a broker told her there was a problem. She'd had a scan and a medicine prescribed within 30 days of applying for coverage, which made her "practically uninsurable." She eventually got coverage but at $189 more per month than she would have otherwise spent, she writes. Next time, she'd ask if the test and prescription were really necessary.

Court Nederveld of Florida, who has only catastrophic insurance coverage, saved money on heart tests and blood pressure medicines by shopping around and pushing doctors to explain their prices. "It will be several years before Medicare is available to me and until that time I intend to challenge every prescription or procedure as to necessity and cost," he writes.

The winners in the health professional category:

Molly Kantor of Massachusetts tells the story of a 65-year-old woman with heart failure and several other condition who didn't want to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. The health clinic where Kantor, a third year med student, works one afternoon a week came up with an appropriate outpatient treatment plan, saving money and hassles.

Andrew Schutzbank of Massachusetts explains how a woman receiving an infusion of a $1400-a-day medicine to treat her pulmonary hypertension couldn't be discharged from the hospital. An internal policy about patients taking the drug prevented her from being moved out of the expensive cardiac care unit, even though she had been using the drug without problems as an outpatient. And a move to rehab wasn't an option because of the particulars about how the drug was paid for. Eventually, the woman's doctors decided it was probably best to stop the medicine anyway. She was stable and having some side effects. While the decision was a valid medical one, he writes, "we would not have considered it if [it] were not for the cost factor of the medicine."

The Costs of Care group says it will post the entries, including the winners, on its blog during 2012.

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