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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.


Vaclav Havel, Hero Of The 'Velvet Revolution,' Laid To Rest

Dec 23, 2011

World leaders past and present are in Prague for the funeral of Vaclav Havel, the playwright who led the "Velvet Revolution" in the former Czechoslovakia and then went on to lead the new Czech Republican after its peaceful split with Slovakia following the 1989 fall of the Iron Curtain.

Havel, who was 75, died Sunday.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who with her husband former President Bill Clinton is among the U.S. delegation, said of Havel after learning of his death that he:

"Spent his life removing chains of oppression, standing up for the downtrodden, and advancing the tenets of democracy and freedom. When communism threatened the peace and prosperity of our world and covered Eastern Europe in a cloud of hopelessness, he wrote plays so powerful they changed the course of history and created new democratic opportunities for millions. And when the people of the Czech Republic were finally allowed to express themselves freely, they overwhelmingly chose a man who never wanted to be in politics."

The Financial Times has a profile of Havel here. "His principled opposition to the diehard communist regime installed after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion made him a quintessential eastern European nonconformist," the newspaper writes. "He later became an eloquently skeptical celebrant of the freedoms brought by the anti-communist revolts."

Havel's 1978 essay, The Power of the Powerless, is often referred to as seminal because of the influence it had, and still has, on people living under oppression. It was a call to "live within the truth," not to live a lie. He wrote of a grocer who dutifully put a sign reading "Workers of the Word, Unite!" in his shop window because he had been told to.

Then one day, Havel wrote, "something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans." Though he loses his job and finds his family persecuted, he has "disrupted the game. ... He has said that the emperor is naked."

Havel's point was that if more people stood up as his grocer did, to embrace living within the truth rather than living the lie, the power structure would eventually crumble.

As The Economist says, "Havel practiced what he preached. He himself was denied higher education, as the scion of a famous bourgeois family. ... Havel was jailed from 1979 to 1984. ... He also spent many days under arrest and interrogation. Out of jail, his every move, visitor, letter, phone call and utterance were subject to scrutiny by the StB, the secret-police servants of Czechoslovakia's communist masters."

A remarkable man and a remarkable life, indeed.

Other leaders at the funeral include British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Associated Press shares this video from the service.

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