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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.


Time To 'Heal' As U.S. Troops Leave Iraq

Dec 18, 2011

The "end of days," as soldiers were calling it, started at Contingency Operating Base Adder in southern Iraq. The base was the main staging ground for all U.S. troops exiting the country, and it was the last U.S. base to close.

There were a lot of lasts at COB Adder: the last signing ceremony, formally handing the last base over to the Iraqi government, the last briefing, the last patrol, the last hot meal.

The final convoy from the base left Iraq and crossed the border into Kuwait at dawn Sunday.

A 'Difficult Undertaking'

Private Jonathan Rosero says he has only done one tour in Iraq. He was barely out of adolescence when the war started. He says it simply hasn't set in that a war that's spanned nearly half his life is ending.

Rosero saw an unusual amount of violence this summer, as Iranian-backed militias pounded bases in southern Iraq. Rosero says when he drives out of the country, he'll mainly be thinking of the way his friend, specialist Daniel Elliot, was killed.

"That was the morning of July 15. We were just starting out on patrol and one of the routes we had to go through was trash everywhere, and next thing I know ... all you see is smoke," he says. "The truck was on fire because it hit first truck and I was second truck."

General Lloyd Austin, who commanded all U.S. troops in Iraq, says he was also worried about roadside attacks as the troops pulled out. He flew down to COB Adder for the last casing of the colors, when the army division's flag is put into its case and sent back home to the U.S.

Austin said this war is not like other wars that have ended with the signing of treaties or an exit from friendly territory. One American base not far from COB Adder recently saw 47 rocket attacks in a single day.

Austin said pulling tens of thousands of troops out in this kind of environment is a logistical marvel.

"You're reposturing while people are still trying to cause you harm," he said. "That means that every element that moves has to be protected. It is the most difficult undertaking in our lifetime, in our military career."

Austin later went to a small terminal where soldiers were waiting to fly out.

"What we gotta do when we go back, though, is we gotta heal ourselves, got to work on getting healthy physically and mentally, and then we gotta get better," he said. "We've been fighting the same guys for 10 years. ... Now they fight like we do and they look a lot like us. So the next time we take the field, we gotta be a whole lot better."

A Quiet Departure

As most soldiers prepared to depart by air, the last soldiers on the last guard duty in a guard tower pulled their last hour of duty. It was a pretty quiet night.

The fires lit small encampments of Iraqi soldiers, waiting their turn to take over the base and to see what kind of equipment was left behind.

Then the order was given for all guards to come off the towers and drive their trucks to the final staging lanes.

About 8 hours later, the final part of the convoy crossed the border.

The convoy made it with no attacks and no major incidents. Most soldiers will make it home for the holidays. Still, many questions remain about the life they'll have back home and the country they're leaving behind.

As the last actual vehicle in the convoy exited Iraq, the gates at the border were closed.

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