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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.


The Tweets, Tics And Turns Of Twitter Politics

Dec 8, 2011
Originally published on December 8, 2011 8:14 am

The tweet might go something like this:

Political convo on Twitter is more opinionated, more negative. Diff from that in blogs or lamestream media, sez new study by Pew. Like duh!

But it will take more than 140 characters to really explore the results of "Twitter and the Campaign: How Social Media Users Have Treated the Presidential Candidates." The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzed campaign coverage — more than 20 million tweets, online discourse and old-school news articles — between May 2 and Nov. 27. The report comes out Thursday.

"We are learning something new from this, something broader than we knew before," says the Project's director, Tom Rosenstiel. "For years, what the traditional media called 'public discourse' was actually fairly limited. It was really closer to official discourse. Today, because of these new platforms, we know a good deal more about public discourse. And it seems to vary depending on the technology. We use each form of social media differently."

So-called social media, Rosenstiel says, "is more complex and also less monolithic than is captured in the way we generally talk about it. Twitter is a different kind of discourse, when it comes to politics at least, than we see on blogs. And yet we find social-networking systems like Facebook as different in some other third way."

He says of social media avenues that "we tend to lump them all together in the language we use." But, he adds, "I am not sure we have the right language yet. For instance, we know from our weekly tracking of blogs that many bloggers write as activists who have made up their minds. We see something different, more open, more fluid, in the Twitter data and in the tweets themselves."

What Twitter Tells Us

For most of the Republican candidates, the report revealed, Twitter has proved to be a rough arena. Negative-opinioned tweets — concerning nearly all the hopefuls — outnumbered positive tweets by at least 2 to 1. Negative evaluations of President Obama, meanwhile, outclocked positive evaluations 3 to 1.

Of course, it's a challenge to present fair and balanced assessments of political candidates at any length, but Twitter's size limitations present special, well, limitations.

One Republican candidate, according to the report, has received better treatment on Twitter than anybody else: Ron Paul. "Fully 55 percent of the assertions about Paul on Twitter have been positive while only 15 percent have been negative — a 40-point differential," the Project explains in a press release. "While Paul trails significantly in the polls, and has received less coverage in news outlets than every Republican candidate except Rick Santorum, he is something of a social media phenomenon."

Ron Paul is also the candidate with the shortest, and therefore most easily tweeted, name. Coincidence?

Other highlights of the study:

• Pollsters found the overall stories of the candidates and their campaigns to be "harsher" on Twitter and in blogs than in traditional news coverage.

• Though Herman Cain — who recently suspended his campaign — received the most news coverage in the final seven weeks of the survey, the result did not prove favorable for him.

• The tone of Tweets surrounding several GOP candidates fluctuated over the course of the data-gathering. Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Cain experienced their least favorable assessments as the survey wound down. And Newt Gingrich's Twitter profile improved later in the game.

• Though Gingrich reaped higher positive polling numbers in November, he experienced only "minimal improvement" in the tone of the coverage of him and his campaign.

Interactive Media

The Project refers to its survey — winnowed from news stories, editorials and a wide range of commentaries — as "research of tone," offering "a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of whether the messages Americans receive about a candidate in the news media are positive, negative or neutral."

These days all the media, old-school and new-school, "interact with each other constantly," Rosenstiel says. "One day, it may be a joke on a comedy show that goes viral and flows through social media. The next day it might be a video from a traditional newspaper editorial board interviewing Herman Cain. On the third day it might be a tweet from a celebrity. And depending on what you follow, the next tweet you see may be a professor at a panel at an Ivy League university."

So, as citizens in an evolving democracy, what can we learn from the survey — about our system and about how to improve it? "The key, I think, is understanding these new forms of discourse," says Rosenstiel. "We need to know how they really operate, not how we guess or imagine they are. We shouldn't overpraise them as something they are not. We shouldn't oversimplify them or lump them together."

And, he adds, "clearly the old media should not be threatened by them. The data make clear that if you are interested in public discourse and social transparency, these are powerful new opportunities."

That's four tweets' worth of answer, for those who are counting.

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