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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.

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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.

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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.


Why Burma? Why Myanmar? Why Both?

Dec 2, 2011
Originally published on December 2, 2011 2:10 pm

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Myanmar, where she has pledged with opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi to continue the push for democracy and respect for human rights there, has focused attention on that long-oppressed Asian nation.

It has also raised again the question why the country is or isn't called Burma anymore, depending on who's doing the speaking or reporting. Our friends at All Things Considered touched on that issue last evening.

As they reminded listeners, "the country became the Republic of Burma when it won its independence from Great Britain in 1948. Then, in 1989, the current military regime took power and dropped Burma, preferring Myanmar." Some news outlets refuse to change and still use Burma. NPR, "chooses to split the difference, using Myanmar on first reference, along with a reminder that the country is also known as Burma."

There's more to the story, of course. And politics play a role in why some nations still use Burma, not Myanmar, when referring to the country.

The BBC (which still refers to the country only as Burma) writes that:

"Burmah, as it was spelt in the 19th Century, is a local corruption of the word Myanmar. They have both been used within Burma for a long time, says anthropologist Gustaaf Houtman, who has written extensively about Burmese politics. ... If Burmese people are writing for publication, they use 'Myanmar', but speaking they use 'Burma', he says. ...

"Richard Coates, a linguist at the University of Western England, says adopting the traditional, formal name is an attempt by the junta to break from the colonial past. 'Local opposition groups do not accept that, and presumably prefer to use the old colloquial name, at least until they have a government with popular legitimacy,' [Coates says]. 'Governments that agree with this stance still call the country Burma.' "

The U.S. is among the nations that choose not to refer to the nation as Myanmar. "Out of support for the democratic opposition," and its victory in a 1990 parliamentary election — the results of which were annulled by the military rulers — "the U.S. Government likewise uses 'Burma,' " the State Department says.

The CIA World Factbook almost ignores the military rulers preferred name. "Since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; the U.S. Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw," the Factbook says.

So there you go. It's Burma and it's Myanmar. But which you choose to use involves some diplomatic considerations.

Meanwhile, for some insight on what it's like in Burma/Myanmar — especially the new capital, Naypyidaw, which always seems to be described as "surreal" — see this post at Time magazine's Global Spin blog.

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