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New York City Opera sings the blues over finances, faces possible bankruptcy

Sharif was in power when Pakistan first tested a nuclear bomb in 1998. But he also presided over one of the more upbeat episodes in recent relations with India. He hosted then-Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee for a summit in Lahore in February 1999, where they signed a landmark declaration on avoiding nuclear conflict and opened a cross-border bus service. Three months later the impetus for peace was crushed when a Pakistani military quietly infiltrated into an area of Indian-held Kashmir called Kargil, sparking fighting that left hundreds dead on both sides and could have sparked nuclear war. Sharif, who said the army acted without his knowledge, was ousted in a coup five months later. Back in office again, Sharif is particularly keen to increase cross-border trade to jumpstart Pakistans stricken economy. Pakistan and India can prosper together, and the entire region would benefit from our cooperation, Sharif told the General Assembly Friday. But Singh has said relations can only improve once Pakistan cracks down on militants accused on staging attacks in India a perennial concern that has only intensified since the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 164 people in Indias commercial hub. On Friday, Singh said, the epicenter of terror still remains focused in Pakistan. A renewed spate of violence along the disputed Kashmir frontier this year has threatened a decade-long cease-fire. On Thursday, suspected separatist rebels killed 10 Indian security forces in the Indian-held portion of the Himalayan region an attack that the top elected official there said was aimed at derailing the meeting of Sharif and Singh in New York. Yet with time running out on his nearly decadelong premiership, Singh will be thinking about his legacy.

New York seeks delay of costly FERC power capacity zone decision

On top of that money, the opera company wants to raise an additional $13 million by the end of 2013 towards future seasons, according to a press release. “If we don’t raise the ($7 million) by the end of Monday the board is going to begin the process of bankruptcy,” spokesperson Risa Heller told CNN on Friday. The company started a campaign to raise $1 million of that $7 million through an online fundraising site — Kickstarter.com — that will end September 30. As of Friday the online campaign had raised only $202,223 donated from more than a thousand supporters. The organization raised $1.5 million outside of Kickstarter campaign, according to Heller. “The odds have been against us for a long time,” George Steel, general manager & artistic director for the company, said in an online video, “but in the face of that difficulty we have made tremendous progress.” The company, dubbed “The People’s Opera” by former NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, was founded on the principle that every New Yorker should be able to afford to go to the opera, Steel said. Steel explains that in order for the company to break even, it would need to sell every ticket for $600, but instead the starting ticket price is actually $25 to make it more affordable. The New York City Opera received critical praise in the past for its world premieres of work including Robert Ward’s “The Crucible” and Anthony Davis’ “The Life and Times of Malcolm X.” The company opened its current season on September 17 with the opera “Anna Nicole,” and should it fail to raise the necessary funds by Monday, that could be the Company’s last production. “We need the help of the people we were founded to serve to put on our season this year,” Steel said, speaking to New York residents and opera fans everywhere. “We need you to come together and carry it forward into the future. I hope we can count on you.” This year marks the 70th anniversary of the New York City Opera, which opened in 1943, making it the second opera house in NYC. The Metropolitan Opera was founded over 60 years earlier, in 1880.

Photographer take pictures as the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station (ISS) crew of U.S. astronaut U.S. astronaut Michael Hopkins, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov  (KAZAKHSTAN - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reconsider its August decision allowing the state’s power grid operator, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), to create a new capacity zone in the Lower Hudson Valley that includes New York City. The NYISO has said it designed the new capacity zone to maintain system reliability and attract investments in new and existing generation and demand response resources. In basic terms, capacity markets pay generators to help keep existing power plants in service and build new units in order to maintain system reliability. Demand response providers who agree to reduce power usage when needed can also participate in capacity markets. The new zone will include the current NYISO zones G, H and I in the Lower Hudson Valley and zone J in New York City. The PSC and NYPA said the state is already working on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s so-called Energy Highway initiative to expand the state’s transmission resources to bring more power from upstate New York to the Lower Hudson Valley and New York City area. The PSC and NYPA said the Energy Highway could negate the need for FERC to offer financial incentives to build more power plants downstate. “We strongly urged FERC to reconsider its decision to create a new capacity zone in New York, which it says is needed to build more power plants downstate to alleviate demand for electricity,” PSC Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said in the release. “We are well aware of the downstate demand for electricity…However, in its decision, FERC did not take into consideration the ongoing initiatives included in the Governor’s Energy Highway,” Zibelman said. The biggest power companies in New York include units of Consolidated Edison Inc, National Grid Plc, Iberdrola SA, Entergy Corp, TransCanada Corp and NRG Energy Inc. COSTS TO RISE The PSC said if FERC’s plan goes into effect, typical residential customers in the Lower Hudson Valley could see monthly bill increases ranging from 5 percent to almost 10 percent, depending on the utility.