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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.

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Trees In Trouble: Grim Future For Frankincense

Dec 25, 2011

The original Christmas presents were gold, frankincense and myrrh. That's what wise men brought to the baby Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew. Frankincense is still used today — for perfumes, incense and traditional medicines — but a new study suggests that its future looks grim.

The trees that produce this fragrant resin are in serious trouble, says Frans Bongers, a forestry expert at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He says production of frankincense could be cut in half in just 15 years. And in the next 50 years, tree numbers could decline by 90 percent, according to his new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Frankincense comes from various species of Boswellia, a tree that mainly grows in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. People make cuts in the bark and let the tree sap ooze out. After it hardens into yellowish lumps, they come back to collect it, and then make more cuts. "And so they come back every two weeks for the whole dry season, and that's about nine months," Bongers explains.

He and colleagues monitored forests in Ethiopia with thousands of frankincense trees for about two years, comparing plots where trees were tapped with plots where trees were left alone.

They found that the forests were declining, regardless of whether they were tapped for frankincense or not. In general, they found big, old trees that were dying at an alarming rate, possibly because of insect attack.

Meanwhile, they found a dearth of younger trees. Bongers said they mainly saw just tiny seedlings in the grass. "They do not grow into a sapling, and they do not grow into a new tree," says Bongers.

He says that's because they burn up in fires set by farmers or are eaten by grazing cattle.

The only hope of preserving frankincense is to set aside large areas, to let young trees get established, says Bongers. But that's a hard case to make when local people are struggling to make a living.

"People say, 'Well, yes, we do understand, but at the same time we have to survive,' " he says. "So I'm realistic on this, I think."

Already, in some countries, like Yemen and Oman, says Bongers, the frankincense is almost gone.

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