Royal Navy frigate escorts Chinese Type 052C destroyer through English Channel

first_img View post tag: Chinese PLA Navy Share this article Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster escorted a Chinese Type 052C destroyer through the English Channel as it was returning from Russia’s annual Navy Days event in St Petersburg.Fresh from a five-month patrol with NATO in the waters of northern Europe, Portsmouth-based HMS Westminster was activated to monitor the progress of the destroyer Xian.The destroyer transited the English Channel into the Baltic Sea three weeks earlier and was shadowed by Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans during that transit.“The Royal Navy routinely monitors other country’s warships through territorial waters as part of our ongoing mission in support of the defence of the UK,” said Commander Will Paston, HMS Westminster’s commanding officer.“The Xian conducted herself in a safe and professional manner throughout.”Westminster has been attached to a NATO task group since March and, most recently, has been honing her anti-submarine warfare skills off the west coast of Norway inside the Arctic Circle, as well as patrolling UK waters. View post tag: Royal Navycenter_img View post tag: Xian Photo: Photo: Royal Navylast_img read more

RockyGrass Welcomes Stunning Array Of Bluegrass Heroes To Lyons, Colorado

first_imgLoad remaining images Photo: Elliot Siff Every year in late July, the bluegrass world converges on the small mecca of Lyons, Colorado, for the world-renowned RockyGrass Festival. The traditional bluegrass festival draws acts from across the globe for three days of music, celebration, and collaboration at Planet Bluegrass in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Put on by the same promoters as its younger sister, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, this year’s 46th-annual RockyGrass featured incredible acts including Old & In The Way, the David Grisman Quintet, the Sam Bush Band, and the Jeff Austin Band.Friday’s festivities kicked off with Colorado natives and last year’s band contest winners, Meadow Mountain. Following the locals were Tennessee’s own Po’ Ramblin Boys. Having recently signed to Rounder Records, the Boys pleased the crowd with a sharp, traditional bluegrass sound. Richie and Rosie played next, followed by a rollicking set of alt-country-bluegrass by songwriter Robbie Fulks.Friday evening kicked into high gear with a star-studded set from the all-female supergroup of banjo legend Alison Brown, fiddler Becky Buller, bassist Missy Raines, and two young guns, guitarist Molly Tuttle and mandolinist Sierra Hull. Despite having never played live together before, the ladies were impossibly tight with harmonies to die for. The set was chock full of originals including Sierra Hull’s hilarious tune, “Hilarious.” Some well-picked covers rounded out the set including a take on the Grateful Dead’s “Cold Rain and Snow” and a haunting rendition of the classic hymn “Down to The River to Pray.”The all-female group was followed by an all too familiar all-male group, the David Grisman Quintet. Pioneers of a unique hybrid of traditional bluegrass and gypsy jazz, the Quintet took the bluegrass scene by storm with their self-titled debut album in 1977. The current incarnation of the Q features original members and mandolists, David Grisman and Mike Marshall, original fiddler Darol Anger, and original bassist Todd Phillips. The role of the great Tony Rice was respectfully played by his younger brother Wyatt Rice. Just as they did in 1977, the quintet opened up with the mandolin-led jaunt “EMD” and followed with a number of other songs off of their first album. “Swing 51,” “Blue Midnite,” “Minor Swing,” and “16/16” were all given the treatment, with Sam Bush joining in on fiddle for a few tunes as well. Sam’s Grammy award-winning band wrapped up the first night of RockyGrass with a typically high-octane set ranging from John Hartford covers (“Natural to Be Gone”) to originals to a rowdy, strangely true-to-from cover of The Beatles‘ “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”Saturday morning started with the instrument contest finals on the main stage before another Tennessee band, Bill & The Belles. The four-piece band has no Bill and only two Belles, but singer/guitarist Kris Truelson (a.k.a. Bill) originally hails from Nederland, Colorado. Finding his true roots in the Appalachian mountains, Truelson now hosts the long-running radio show, “Farm and Fun Time,” with the band. Their original blend of old-time country, bluegrass, and vaudeville was refreshing to the ears, as they spanned their catalog with songs including “Get Up and Give It One More Try”, “Salty Dog Blues”, and the old bluegrass standard “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down.” Bill & The Belles debut album, Dreamsongs, comes out next month on August 24th.Next up was Grant Gordy, best known for his six-year stint with the David Grisman Quartet. The virtuoso flat-picking guitarist stunned audiences early on Saturday and was joined by fiddler Alex Hargreaves, mandolinist Dominick Leslie, and bassist Aidan O’ Donnell. The Cleverlys followed, polarizing the traditional RockyGrass audience with their hysterical hybrid of bluegrass and current pop music. Regardless of one’s personal inclinations, it was hard to resist their impossibly catchy covers of songs such as “Gangnam Style” and R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”Balsam Range, a quintet out of North Carolina, played next and struck a perfect Saturday afternoon balance between fast hard picking tunes and slower ballads. The highly-awarded female quartet Della Mae followed, welcoming a handful of guests onto the stage for their set including Alison Brown and Elephant Revival alum Bonnie Paine. The girls worked through a stunning set including the original “Bourbon Hound,” a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo”, Elephant Revival’s “Rogue River”, and John Hartford’s “You Don’t Have to Do That.”After an all-star set from Bryan Sutton, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Michael Daves, Missy Raines, and Tony Trischka, David Grisman and Peter Rowan took the stage for their tribute to the seminal bluegrass album Old & In the Way. Joined by bassist (and son) Samson Grisman, Sam Bush on fiddle, and Keith Little playing the part of Jerry Garcia on banjo, the pair revisited the album for the first time in 15 years. Grisman and Rowan have hardly lost a step and, with a little help from the younger guys, the songs truly came alive. Along with “Wild Horses”, “Midnight Moonlight”, “Land of the Navajo”, etc., they also managed to sneak in a couple extra songs that the 1973 group originally played, including the Garcia/Grisman favorite “Drifting Too Far from the Shore.” As the album that introduced so many people to bluegrass, the set proved a fitting conclusion to an absolutely epic Saturday at RockyGrass.Sunday began as it always should, with gospel music from The Lyons Bluegrass Collective. Featuring locals, guitarist KC Groves, Natalie Padilla on fiddle, bassist Sarah Cole, mandolinist Dylan McCarthy, and banjoist Eric Yates, the band played the perfect Sunday morning set with soaring five-part harmonies. A heart-wrenching covering of “I’ll Fly Away” came late in their set before turning the stage over to longtime/former Lyons locals Jeff Scroggins & Colorado. Led by father and son, banjoist Jeff Scroggins and phenom mandolin player Tristan Scroggins, the group played an astonishing, high-energy set including Bill Monroe’s “Roanoke” and a mind-numbing original duet titled “Buck’s Run.” Up next, I Draw Slow, a quintet out of Ireland, took things down a few notches, presenting some beautiful ballads with an Irish lilt rarely heard across the pond at Rocky Grass.Despite the lazy Sunday afternoon, the Jeff Austin Band came out firing on all cylinders, the former Nederland resident and Yonder Mountain String Band mandolin player wasting no time getting down to business. The raw set included the Yonder classics “Half Moon Rising” and “Ragdoll” before Jeff and friends took a bow and turned the stage over to the final trio of RockyGrass artists. Peter Rowan returned to the stage for a tribute to his musical hero, Carter Stanley of the Stanley Brothers. Stepping away from Peter’s broad, genre-spanning songbook, the set dug deep into the catacombs of traditional bluegrass, featuring some of the genre’s earliest songs. The Steep Canyon Rangers followed before Colorado’s own Hot Rize closed the festival. The 18-time RockyGrass artists celebrated their 40th anniversary in proper fashion and played a set for the ages to wrap up the 2018 festival.As always, Rocky Grass will return to Planet Bluegrass next July. More information about RockyGrass, Telluride Bluegrass, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, and the upcoming, inaugural Colorado Kind Festival (featuring the String Cheese Incident) can be found here.RockyGrass Festival | Lyons, Colorado | 2018 | Photos: Elliot Sifflast_img read more

Former diplomats to speak at Notre Dame

first_imgFormer Secretaries of State John Kerry and Condoleezza Rice will speak in a forum at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center as part of an event hosted by Notre Dame’s International Security Center, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, Common Ground Committee and BridgeND on March 19, the University announced in a press release Tuesday. The forum is titled “Finding Common Ground on America’s Role in the World” and will be moderated by Howard LaFranchi, a diplomacy correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.“We look forward to a fascinating and productive conversation between Secretaries Rice and Kerry, two experienced leaders in American foreign policy,” Christina Wolbrecht, professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center, said. “The Rooney Center and our partners are delighted to bring this unique and exciting dialogue to Notre Dame to educate and inform the campus community, as well as contribute to pressing national policy debates.”Rice is a Notre Dame alumna and member of the Republican party, while Kerry is a Democrat. The two will discuss differences in political discourse between the two parties. A Pew Research study said though 72 percent of the public agree that protecting the United States from terrorism should be an important priority for the country, views on specific foreign policy goals differ between Democrats and Republicans. For example, 70 percent of Republicans believe that military superiority should be a priority for the United States, while only 34 percent of Democrats would agree.In addition, about 39 percent of Democrats support helping refugees who are fleeing violent home countries, but only 11 percent of Republicans support these actions. The partisan divide on the importance of reducing undocumented immigration is even larger — with 68 percent of Republicans supporting it as a priority, as compared to 20 percent of Democrats.“Secretaries Kerry and Rice are both exemplars of BridgeND’s mission, and we are thrilled to help bring these two distinguished speakers to Notre Dame’s campus to demonstrate the possibilities of constructive discourse,” Christian McGrew, former president of BridgeND and current executive board member of BridgeUSA, said. The event will take place from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on March 19 in Debartolo Performing Arts Center. All tickets for the event have been sold.Tags: American Politics, BridgeND, Common Ground Committee, Condoleezza Rice, Diplomacy, John Kerry, notre dame international security center, Politics, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracylast_img read more