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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.


U.S. Carmakers, VW, Report Big Gains In Auto Sales For 2011

Jan 4, 2012

America's big three automakers all experienced double-digit sales growth in 2011, helping the U.S. market continue its rebound from a dismal 2009. With annual reports out today, Chrysler says its sales were up 26 percent, while General Motors and Ford Motor Co. reporting gains of 13 and 11 percent, respectively.

Chrysler got a late boost in December, when its flagship brand saw a steep 83 percent rise in sales compared to the same year in 2010, according to The Detroit Free Press.

Analysts are predicting that when car makers are finished reporting their annual results this week, the U.S. market will have seen 12.7 million sales of cars and trucks in 2011. And the gains are expected to continue in 2012.

In terms of specific models, Chrysler's 200 and 300 sedans led the way. And it benefited from a spike in sales from its Jeep lineup, which gained 41 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. And Ford relied on its Fusion, Explorer and F-Series pickup truck to top 2 million in sales for the first time since 2007.

Volkswagen also saw a big rebound, saying that it "sold 324,402 of its VW brand vehicles in the U.S., a 26.3 percent gain over 2010 and its best year in America since 2002," reports The Los Angeles Times.

And despite severe disruptions to Japan's car industry due to an earthquake and tsunami, Nissan saw a 15 percent gain in 2011, reports The New York Times.

The higher sales figures mark the second straight year U.S. auto sales have risen since suffering a 30-year low in 2009, when dealers sold 10.4 million cars and trucks.

But it wasn't a rosy year for everyone in the auto industry.

The Chevrolet Volt didn't deliver on GM's expectations that it would sell 10,000 of the plug-in hybrids in 2011, missing that mark by more than 2,300 cars, thanks to concerns over its performance in a safety test.

And the good news from Chrysler stands in contrast to poor U.S. sales for its majority owner, Italy's Fiat, which missed its sales predictions for the Fiat 500 model, thanks in part to an early lack of U.S. dealers. Tracy Samilton reported on that story for today's Morning Edition.

You can see a complete table of automakers' sales results, with December and 2010-2011 figures, at Automotive News.

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