Music

Deceptive Cadence
4:24 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Britten's War Requiem: 50 Years On, Still As Harrowing As Ever

Coventry Cathedral in ruins, November 1940. Britten's War Requiem was written for the church's reconsecration more than 20 years after it was destroyed by Nazi bombers.
Central Press Getty Images

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.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
4:00 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

'I Am The Cheese': A Nightmarish Nail-Biter

promo image
Random House

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 pm

Ben Marcus is the author of The Flame Alphabet.

I Am the Cheese opens with Adam Farmer riding his bike. He carries a package for his father and needs to get it to him fast. So far, it's a perfectly harmless adventure story.

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The Two-Way
3:34 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

A 'Macabre' Process: Nominating Terrorists To Nation's 'Kill List'

President Obama and John Brennan, his top counterterrorism adviser, in the Oval Office on Jan. 4, 2010. Brennan is a key voice about who gets put on the "kill list."
Pete Souza White House

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 pm

One of the day's most-discussed stories has to be The New York Times' report headlined "Secret 'Kill List' Proves A Test Of Obama's Principles And Will."

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."

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The Two-Way
3:34 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison Among Those To Be Honored With Medal Of Freedom

President Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Toni Morrisson during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:26 pm

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.

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Asia
3:16 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

China, Philippines Faceoff Over Remote Islands

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.
Pat Roque AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 pm

Back in early April, a Philippine navy frigate tried to arrest Chinese fishermen accused of poaching sharks and giant clams.

But more is at stake than a boatload of seafood.

Neighboring countries say confrontations like this are growing as China asserts claims to territory well beyond its coastline. And analysts think China is testing America's resolve in the region.

Philippine officials say China still has more than 30 boats in the contested area, which is widely known as Scarborough Shoal, though the Chinese call it Huangyan Island.

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Planet Money
3:04 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

How Economic Reforms Are Contributing To The Conflict In Syria

Syrian rebels take position during clashes with government forces in Idlib, north Syria.
Rodrigo Abd ASSOCIATED PRESS

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.

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It's All Politics
3:01 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Romney Seeks Majority, Trump's Birthers Included, While Confounding Pundits

Mitt Romney keeps Donald Trump close at hand even though it's unclear from the outside what he hopes to gain.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:46 pm

Mitt Romney may not have meant to echo another governor from a well-known political family who also once sought the presidency (Adlai Stevenson).

But the Republican presidential candidate this week sure sounded an awful lot like the Democratic Illinois governor who famously twice failed to win the presidency in the 1950s against Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Manhattanhenge: The Sun, The City And A Special Rendezvous

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 3:08 pm

At sunset tonight Manhattan's grid will match up perfectly with the sun, producing a dazzling, golden display on each one of the city's streets.

It happens twice a year and it's been termed "Manhattanhenge," coined by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History.

NPR's Margo Adler sent this report for our Newscast unit:

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All Songs Considered Blog
2:54 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Old Music Tuesday: Paul McCartney's 'Ram'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 3:31 pm

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NPR Story
2:39 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

'How Soldiers Die': A History Of Combat Deaths

A U.S. Army honor guard stands at attention during a ceremony to mark Memorial Day, this week at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 1:29 pm

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."

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