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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.

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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.

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Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Tuesday on how he would go about reforming 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.

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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.


FFEAR Premieres 'Mirage' On JazzSet

Feb 24, 2011
Originally published on November 24, 2011 2:52 pm

Norwegian saxophonist Ole Mathisen and trombonist Chris Washburne, who met as students in Boston 25 years ago, work at the front line of the quartet FFEAR. Ole's brother Per Mathisen plays bass alongside drummer Tony Moreno in this Oct. 23, 2010, performance at Miller Theatre at New York's Columbia University, where all but Per teach.

The centerpiece is Ole Mathisen's five-part suite Mirage, for which he layers rhythmic grids and uses microtonal harmony to create an orchestration that sounds greater than a quartet. Be not afraid!

"When I started to send this music to the members," Mathisen says, "I almost had a mutiny on my hands because it looks complicated."

The range of Washburne's trombone part extended too low. Bassist Per Mathisen was agitated at being asked to play between the conventional pitches. And drummer Moreno, who took his first lessons from Elvin Jones, asked Ole in exasperation, "11/8 over 13/8? Are you [expletive] kidding me?" Beyond execution, Moreno would make this flow.

Microtonally speaking, Chris Washburne and Per Mathisen have an advantage. Washburne can move his trombone slide micro distances. Per places his fingers wherever he wants to on the neck of his bass. A bit sharp, a bit flat, and you have a microtone. Saxophonist Ole Mathisen had to invent fingerings for the in-between pitches, so vital to world music and jazz.

As Washburne explains, "If you listen to Billie Holiday, she's sliding all over the place... The way that blues singers sang — manipulating those expressive nuances of pitch — gives [jazz] its great emotional appeal."

And though FFEAR uses microtonal scales more systematically, its members want listeners to feel the subtleties as funky, earthy, visceral and emotional — as music.

So think of Mirage as a five-part journey from the familiar toward an illusion. "Haze" starts out briskly and optimistically, then enters troubled waters. The short "Shimmer" is a hallucination. As "Shapes" and "Scenes" develop, the seeds grow quickly and the music becomes dense. Each player has his own tempo and meter, locking together at points along the way.

Approaching his drum solo in "Scenes," Moreno says, "Sometimes I'm just playing for myself, commenting on the piece, looking down on the piece, making a comment."

In the fifth movement, we return to shore, changed by the journey. Washburne marvels at the group concentration, saying, "It's an exciting journey, because with four people doing it, you can go way farther than you can go by yourself." The audience agrees.


Mirage by Ole Mathisen and FFEAR has been made possible with support from Chamber Music America's 2009 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Recording and Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos with Ryan Blumstein of Aura Sonic, Ltd. Thanks to Melissa Smey and her staff at Miller Theatre, as well as production stage manager Brenny St. George Jones. Thanks to Garrett Nichols at WBGO.

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