Jackie Northam

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It's vacation season. Your suitcase is packed and you've got your tickets in hand. And if you're heading overseas, you may want to check to see if the State Department has issued a travel alert or warning for your destination. Hardly a week goes by that some warning isn't issued, about everything from natural disasters to terrorist threats. These warnings can have a sharp impact on travelers — and diplomatic relations.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The U.S. is imposing a new round of sanctions on North Korea — this time for human rights abuses. The sanctions target senior officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, and are part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. to isolate the government. This is the first time that Kim has been directly targeted with sanctions.

The Obama administration says human rights abuses in North Korea are among the worst in the world.

From the moment it became clear Britain would be leaving the European Union, the Obama administration has been effusive in emphasizing the bond between the two nations. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated in London on Monday that the U.S. "could not ask for a better friend and ally" than the U.K.

The decision is made and now comes the long and complicated job of decoupling the U.K. from the European Union. On paper, there is a tangled legal process, but it has never been tested and leaves some issues unaddressed.

Boeing says it has signed an agreement with Iran Air for the purchase of commercial passenger airplanes, making it the first major U.S. company to do business in Iran since sanctions were lifted earlier this year.

Boeing stopped selling planes to Iran following the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation corn and soybean farmer. He and his dad run a small farm about 30 miles from Topeka, Kan.

President Obama's decision to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam was about much more than selling weapons. It was about sending a message to China.

Not only may Vietnam begin buying American ships and surveillance equipment, it could also begin hosting regular visits by U.S. military units, including U.S. Navy warships at Cam Ranh Bay. Such trips would put American sailors square into waters that China is claiming it controls, making clear the U.S. rejects those claims and reassuring China's nervous neighbors in the region — or so Washington hopes.

Chinese companies are on a major shopping spree in the U.S. They're set to break a record for investment deals this year, snapping up everything from entertainment companies to methanol plants.

Most of these investments are takeovers, though Chinese companies are also expanding their existing operations to the U.S.

They include Fuling Plastic, one of China's largest manufacturers of plastic cutlery, cups and straws. Its biggest customers are fast food chains in the U.S.

For decades, the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders has been known for going places many other aid groups won't. But several times over the past two years its facilities have been hit by airstrikes in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. And now the group must adapt to a more threatening world.

Raed Saleh, a Syrian national, landed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington on Monday afternoon after an 11-hour journey from Turkey. In his passport was a visa for the U.S.

He was planning to attend a Tuesday evening banquet in the capital where he was being honored for his rescue work in Syria. But as Saleh tried to make his way through immigration, he says, he was pulled aside by security at the airport.

As Canada's new leader, Justin Trudeau should by rights be moving into the official prime minister's residence in Ottawa. It was a place where he spent much of his childhood, when his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, led the nation. But after years of neglect, the 34-room riverfront mansion is in such bad repair that Trudeau and his family have to live elsewhere.

In 2012, Justin Trudeau, then a young member of the Canadian Parliament, stepped into a boxing ring at a charity event in Ottawa. His opponent, a heavily tattooed and much beefier senator named Patrick Brazeau, was favored to win by 3-to-1 odds.

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