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Deceptive Cadence
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Great War At 100: Music Of Conflict And Remembrance

Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein (who later became an American citizen) lost an arm in World War I. He commissioned composers including Maurice Ravel to write pieces for the left hand alone.
Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:09 am

One hundred years ago today, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. The conflict drew in country after country and grew to an unprecedented scale. An estimated 9 million combatants lost their lives and more than 21 million were wounded in what came to be known as The Great War and, eventually, World War I.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

War Of Words At Met Opera May Signal Shutdown

Bryn Terfel as Wotan in the Met's production of Wagner's Ring cycle, one of the productions that has been criticized by some as too costly.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 1:32 pm

When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.

At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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The Salt
10:38 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Chemist With Visual Flair Answers Burning Food Science Questions

Courtesy of Compound Interest

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 3:24 pm

Chemistry teachers don't need to go the way of Breaking Bad's Walter White and make methamphetamine if they're looking for a compelling side gig.

Andy Brunning, a high school chemistry teacher in the U.K., makes beautiful infographics on everyday chemistry on his blog, Compound Interest. Thanks in part to the American Chemical Society, which has turned several of his posts into videos, his clever visuals have been going viral.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Fri June 27, 2014

U.S. Says It Won't Make More Anti-Personnel Land Mines

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 1:26 pm

Saying it wants to join an international treaty banning anti-personnel land mines, the U.S. announced today that it will no longer make "or otherwise acquire" them. The new policy was announced at a conference on the Ottawa Convention, a 1999 treaty that outlaws the mines.

The country's stronger stance on mines is part of a push "to end the use of all nondetectable mines and all persistent mines, which can remain active for years after the end of a conflict," according to a White House news release issued this morning.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Top Shiite Cleric Calls For Deal On Next Iraqi Leader Amid Crisis

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle in Mosul, Iraq, on June 23. Human Rights Watch says the group executed at least 160 unarmed Iraqis after it took control of the city of Tikrit.
AP

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:33 am

Iraq's most-revered Shiite cleric called on the country's political blocs to agree on a prime minister in the next four days, putting pressure on a government that is struggling to address the growing security crisis.

The call Friday by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani came as Human Rights Watch said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Sunni extremist group that now controls large parts of Iraq, likely executed at least 160 unarmed men when it took the city of Tikrit.

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Suarez Ban Is 'Excessive,' Bite Victim Says

Giorgio Chiellini of Italy pulls down his shirt to show a wound after clashing with Luis Suarez of Uruguay (not pictured). After Suarez was suspended for four months over his biting of Chiellini, the Italian said the punishment was too harsh.
Julian Finney Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:03 am

Giorgio Chiellini, the Italian defender whose shoulder bore teeth marks after a clash with Uruguay's Luis Suarez during a World Cup match Tuesday, says FIFA's four-month ban of Suarez is too harsh. Chiellini released a statement on his website saying his thoughts are with the star striker and his family.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Ukraine Signs Trade Deal With EU, Risking Russia's Ire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who signed a new economic deal with the EU at the organization's summit meetings Friday.
Olivier Hoslet AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 8:41 am

A free-trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union takes another step toward reality today, as the nation that's under pressure from pro-Russian separatists signs an economic agreement with the EU. The deal also includes two other former Soviet states, Moldova and Georgia.

The trade pact comes as a tense cease-fire is set to expire Friday in Ukraine, where government forces and militants have been locked in a confrontation for weeks. It also promises to push Ukraine firmly toward Europe, and away from Russia's influence.

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Parallels
3:36 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Iraq's Ethnic Kurds See Opportunity In Nation's Chaos

A member of the Kurdish security forces stand guard atop a armored vehicle at Taza district, south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq, Friday, June 20, 2014.
Emad Matti AP

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 7:59 am

Iraq is in chaos, but the country's ethnic Kurds might come out ahead.

They rule a semi-autonomous area in the north that is fairly prosperous and safe, and as the Iraqi army crumbled before militants this month, Kurdish forces moved in to take long-sought areas that had been under the central government in Baghdad.

The Kurds are now talking about their generations-old dream of independence, but they still face many dangers.

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History
3:23 am
Fri June 27, 2014

A Century Ago In Sarajevo: A Plot, A Farce And A Fateful Shot

The Austro-Hungarian archduke and his wife, Sophie, board a car just prior to his assassination in Sarajevo.
AP

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 10:57 am

The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was fired a hundred years ago this weekend.

The assassination in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, triggered World War I and changed the course of the 20th century. The consequences of that act were devastating. But the beginning of the story sounds almost like a farce — complete with bad aim, botched poisoning and a wrong turn on the road.

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