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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Supreme Court Limits Damage Payments To Whistle-Blowers

Mar 28, 2012
Originally published on March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.

Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)

Cooper said the Social Security Administration, which was sending him disability benefits, had improperly shared his HIV status with transportation officials.

In 1974, while the abuses of Watergate were fresh in people's minds, Congress made that kind of unauthorized information-sharing illegal under the Privacy Act. The law said the U.S. had to pay actual damages to victims.

But in Wednesday's ruling, Alito said actual damages represent monetary harm, not mental or emotional distress.

That's absurd, according to the dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor said that means people who suffer severe emotional distress can't get any money — but people with minor out-of-pocket expenses can.

"In the vast majority of cases where the government intentionally and willfully violates the Privacy Act, individuals could be left with no remedy at all," says Alan Butler of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

At the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington, the result was greeted with a jeer.

"This decision is a severe setback to an important post-Watergate reform," says its general counsel, David Colapinto. "These are very very extreme cases that end up going to court under the Privacy Act. A lot of the plaintiffs are whistle-blowers, people who have suffered retaliation."

That includes people such as Frederic Whitehurst, the scientist who blew the whistle on sloppy practices at the FBI lab, only to watch as authorities leaked information from his medical and personnel files to discredit him. And Linda Tripp, who made headlines for recording girl talk with the intern who had an affair with President Clinton. The Pentagon leaked Tripp's security file to try to smear her.

Both Whitehurst and Tripp got financial settlements — but the new Supreme Court ruling slams the door shut for many others.

Unless, Butler says, "maybe if a plaintiff has to buy a bottle of Tylenol to cure a headache that's caused by a much greater mental anguish."

Legal experts say the Privacy Act has weak criminal sanctions. Now that most civil penalties are off the table too, the government could be even more brazen about targeting political enemies, Colapinto says.

"When we look at what is happening with government surveillance of citizens, this is just part of a disturbing trend where our courts and our government are throwing out restrictions on government abuse of power," he says. "J. Edgar Hoover would love this opinion."

Whistle-blower groups and privacy advocates are calling on Congress to modernize the Privacy Act, to account for new pervasive forms of government data collection. Now, they say they'll add an override of the Supreme Court decision to their wish list.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

In addition to today's health care arguments at the Supreme Court, the justices also released a ruling, and it dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-to-3 decision, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket expenses.

As NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, it leaves victims with few options.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. Cooper said the Social Security Administration, which was sending him disability checks, had improperly shared his HIV status with transportation officials.

In 1974, while the abuses of Watergate were fresh in people's minds, Congress made that kind of unauthorized information-sharing illegal under the Privacy Act. The law said the U.S. had to pay actual damages to victims. But in today's ruling, Justice Alito said actual damages represent monetary harm, not mental or emotional distress.

Absurd, according to the dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor said that means people who suffer severe emotional distress can't get any money but people with a minor out-of-pocket expense can.

Alan Butler is a lawyer at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

ALAN BUTLER: In the vast majority of cases where the government intentionally and willfully violates the Privacy Act, individuals could be left with no remedy at all.

JOHNSON: At the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington, that result was greeted with a jeer.

DAVID COLAPINTO: This decision is a severe setback to an important post-Watergate reform.

JOHNSON: David Colapinto is the Whistleblowers Center's general counsel.

COLAPINTO: These are very, very extreme cases that end up going to court under the Privacy Act. A lot of the plaintiffs are whistleblowers, people who have suffered retaliation.

JOHNSON: People such as Frederic Whitehurst, the scientist who blew the whistle on sloppy practices at the FBI lab, only to watch as authorities leaked information from his medical and personnel files to discredit him. And Linda Tripp, who made headlines for recording girl-talk with the intern who had an affair with President Clinton. The Pentagon leaked Tripp's security file to try to smear her.

Both Whitehurst and Tripp got financial settlements, but today's Supreme Court ruling slams the door shut for many others. Unless, Butler says...

BUTLER: Maybe if a plaintiff has to buy a bottle of Tylenol to cure a headache that's caused by a much greater mental anguish.

JOHNSON: Legal experts say the Privacy Act has weak criminal sanctions. And now that most civil penalties are off the table too, the government could be even more brazen about targeting political enemies.

David Colapinto.

COLAPINTO: When we look at what is happening with government surveillance of citizens, this is just part of a disturbing trend where our courts and our government are throwing out restrictions on government abuse of power.

JOHNSON: Whistleblower groups and privacy advocates are calling on Congress to modernize the Privacy Act to account for new pervasive forms of government data collection. Now, they'll add an override of the Supreme Court decision to their wish list.

Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.