There are two war-related anniversaries this week that make today's album review all the more timely. Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the U.S.; tomorrow, May 30, marks 50 years since the world premiere of English composer Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral. The War Requiem was commissioned for the cathedral's reconsecration after it had been destroyed by a Nazi bombing raid in 1940.
It's a long, detailed look at how the president has "placed himself at the helm of a top secret 'nominations' process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical."
Saying that each one of the recipients has touched countless lives, President Obama presented 13 Presidential Medals of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House today.
All of the people on the stage, Obama said, "are my heroes individually." He said that if it were not for John Doar, the Justice Department official who personally escorted University of Mississippi's first black student to campus, he would not be president.
For the past two months, the Philippines and China have been locked in a standoff over territory in the South China Sea that both countries claim.The Philippine navy accused Chinese boats of fishing illegally in the area. Protesters in the Philippines are shown here marching in Manila earlier this month.
Credit Pat Roque / AP
Filipino naval personnel look at giant clam shells onboard a Chinese fishing vessel at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea last month. Both countries claim the area, but say they are seeking a diplomatic solution.
This week in The New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson writes about the surprising diversity of Syria's economy. Economic reforms opened up the economy to foreign investors and a growing class of entrepreneurs. But according to Ayham Kamel, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, the reforms undercut Syria's rural poor. We asked him to elaborate in the following post.
In The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die In Battle, Michael Stephenson describes how soldiers fight and die, how those who have lived deal with the experience of combat, and what it reveals about warfare and human nature.
He acknowledges it's a sensitive subject, but he argues it's an important one. Understanding how soldiers die, Stephenson tells NPR's Neal Conan, "is central to an understanding of what combat is. And I think we have to engage with it."