Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Pages

Wyden-Ryan Medicare Plan Shakes Up Politics More Than Policy

Dec 15, 2011

There's not much that's new in the Medicare proposal just unveiled by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

So why is it getting so much attention? One word. No, not plastics. Politics!

Sure, the proposal is quite a bit different from the controversial plan authored by Ryan and passed by the House in April that would essentially turn Medicare into a voucher program. The latest one, like Ryan's original, would include a cap on total Medicare spending and feature more private competition than under the current program, though.

But Wyden, at a briefing at held by the Bipartisan Policy Center, said he was careful in negotiating with Ryan to ensure that the current proposal, which would not be introduced in legislative form until after the 2012 election, preserves the things progressive Democrats value most in Medicare.

"The first of course, was to make sure traditional Medicare, with its marketplace clout, popularity among seniors, low administrative costs, was preserved for all time," he said. At the same time, he said, the compromise with Ryan represents a "more reasonable approach" to limiting growth, and making sure that if costs did grow they wouldn't "automatically hammer the seniors."

Wyden's fellow Democrats aren't sure he's doing them such a big favor. They think he's more likely letting Ryan and his fellow Republicans off the hook just as Dems are using Medicare as a club on the campaign trail.

"We are concerned that Wyden-Ryan, like Congressman Ryan's earlier proposal, would undermine, rather than strengthen, Medicare," said a statement from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. "The Wyden-Ryan scheme could, over time, cause the traditional Medicare program to 'wither on the vine' because it would raise premiums, forcing many seniors to leave traditional Medicare and joint private plans."

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), the longtime chairman and now ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means health subcommittee said the measure still does "end Medicare as we know it, plain and simple." Said Stark, "if these two get their way, senior citizens' health coverage will depend on what big insurance offers and what seniors — most of them on modest, fixed incomes — can afford."

Ethan Rome, head of the advocacy group Health Care for America Now, said the proposal is "just another version of the Ryan Republican plan to do away with Medicare and bankrupt seniors, but this time it's got one Democrat on board."

Just because Wyden's on board "doesn't make it bipartisan," Rome said, and the latest plan would ultimately replace "guaranteed benefits with vouchers."

Wyden, for his part, said he doesn't think Republicans will be able to use the new proposal to walk away from their support for Ryan's earlier, more radical rewrite of Medicare. "Nobody ducks their past votes and their previous statements. That's just a given," he said.

But it appears some Republicans are already trying.

Speaking on Iowa Public Television, GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich called it "a very important breakthrough" and "a bipartisan effort to really come to grips with one of the major entitlement challenges we face."

And, according to a tweet from Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler, House Speaker John Boehner called the plan "a bipartisan idea that's worthy of our consideration" and "a step in the right direction."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.