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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.


Supercommittee's Failure Could Have Super Political Fallout

Nov 21, 2011
Originally published on November 21, 2011 3:06 pm

With the members of the congressional deficit-cutting supercommittee essentially announcing that they couldn't get to "yes," the nation is only seeing the latest turn of the screw in the partisan paralysis gripping policymakers in Washington. We all know it is far from the last.

Coming as it does now less than a year before the 2012 general election, the panel's failure to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction means each major political will now be focused on trying to persuade voters that the other party is more responsible for the impasse.

So how might the historic failure of the congressional supercommittee play out politically?

Incumbents - It's gotten to the point where you now expect to see the words "Congress and "dysfunctional" in the same sentence. Congress has a 9 percent approval rating for a reason. That can only be reinforced by the high-profile panel's failure.

It's difficult to see how this helps congressional incumbents, easier to see it helping challengers. It could fuel another, anti-incumbent wave election which could hurt Republicans in the House, though probably not enough to end their control, and harm Democratic efforts to hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.

President Obama - He could get hurt by the "throw the bums out" sentiment the supercommittee's failure may engender. Mitt Romney, the odds-on favorite for the presidential nomination, is hoping to inflict supercommittee collateral damage on Obama, accusing him of a failure of leadership. Some congressional Republicans are making the same argument.

That seems a harder argument to make, however, than the one Obama has and will continue to make about a do-nothing Congress. The supercommittee now becomes the poster child, an additional piece of evidence in his case against Congress, specifically Republican lawmakers who accuses of being main stumbling block to his efforts to improve the nation's economy.

Democrats versus Republicans - In credible polls, a majority of Americans have indicated a preference for the so-called balanced approach to deficit reduction, one that includes higher taxes and spending cuts.

Both parties will argue that they put on the table higher revenues and spending cuts, though the revenues congressional Republicans offered didn't come from higher taxes but the proposed sale of government assets and other measures.

Democratic lawmakers can and have already argued that their proposal resembled more what many voters say they prefer. They also have going for them poll after poll that suggest that more Americans blame the GOP for the repeated dead ends than Democrats.

Congressional Democrats will also be able to coordinate their messages with the president who has the bully pulpit at his disposal. Those are significant advantages.

In anticipation of the supercommittee's failure, some Republicans raised the prospect of undoing automatic spending cuts that are supposed to ensue in 2013, especially those affecting defense spending, in the event the panel came up empty handed.

How that would play out is anyone's guess. Democrats have indicated they would try to block such efforts. But that move has some risks for them, too, since it could make them vulnerable to Republican charges of endangering national security.

Democrats, for their part, could accuse Republicans of changing rules they agreed on when the committee was created, raising questions about their seriousness when it comes to making the hard decisions required by governing.

Even before we get to the automated cuts however, the supercommittee's failure sets up some nearer term fights that Democrats and Republicans will surely use to frame next year's presidential and election races.

Many lawmakers had hoped, for instance, that the supercommittee would reach an agreement that would take care of certain important fiscal items that are expiring, like an unemployment insurance extension and the payroll tax holiday. Those now, once again, become political footballs.

GOP presidential race - As mentioned earlier, Romney is attempting to pin the supercommittee's failure on Obama. That would seem to suggest that Romney saw the supercommittee as playing a legitimate role.

Not so, Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker. During the summer, he had called the supercommittee a "truly dumb idea" and on Monday welcomed its failure.

That would seem to set up a fairly lively disagreement between the two men who now appear tied at the top of the Republican field of presidential candidates.

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