Monday, March 19, 2012

Russian Troops May Be in Syria

Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, bragged for a short time today that Russian troops had arrived in Tartus, Syria. The statement was immediately denied by the Russian government, and was removed from the site shortly there after. But thanks, to the internet it was quickly picked up on by the world.

Syria, has seen deadly protests for over a year. Some areas of the country have simply been massacred by the government, whilst other areas are in a state of total civil war. The Syrian government has recently been caught placing land mines in areas frequented by refugees as escape routes. The death toll in Syria, is likely over 10,000, possibly even closer to 15,000.

Russia, a long time ally of the country, has blocked every UN resolution that involves sanctioning or finding ways to end the violence. Syria, also continues to receive military funding and resources, such as jets, from Russia. Russian ships have increased their numbers in and around Syria, as a continuation of Moscow's pledge to protect Syria from foreign powers.

If Russia has sent troops it would be an even clearer message that they stand ready to defend Syria. And it could be a sign that Russia is considering taking a more active role in ensuring the survival of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Starbucks Opens First Juice Bar

 In November, Starbucks expanded into the juice world, and began selling their own brand of juices in supermarkets, under the name Evolution Fresh.

The first Evolution Fresh juice bar opened today, in Bellevue, Washington. It is Starbucks first non coffee location, out of 17,000 in fifty countries.

Evolution Fresh juices are made using a technique called high pressure processing, which Starbucks says retains more of the flavors, vitamins and nutrients of raw fruits and vegetables.

The store also offer wraps, salads and soups, as well as vegetarian and vegan offerings.

It is unknown when expansion will begin, but expect it to happen by the summer. The cold crafted juice market is worth $3.4 billion. Jamba Juice, with 750 locations in more than twenty states, is the leader in the field.

Fabrice Muamba Improving

After suffering a heart attack, during a match, twenty-three year old Fabrice Muamba is starting to show signs of improvement. Muamba, plays for the Bolton Wanderers and has been being treated at London Chest Hospital.

A joint statement released by his team and the hospital stated: "Fabrice Muamba is continuing to show signs of improvement this evening. He is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator. He has also been able to recognize family members and respond to questions appropriately. These are all positive signs of progress. However, his condition remains serious and the medical staff in intensive care will continue to monitor and treat him."

His family, coach, teammates, and other players from the Premier League have been regularly visiting him. Spanish club Real Madrid carried shirts that read "Get well soon Muamba", during a match Sunday.

Fabrice is far from the first player to collapse during a match, but is one of the youngest at that level of play. In recent years it seems that, in the US alone, at least one high school athlete a year collapses and dies of a heart attack, despite being in top physical shape.

4 Killed in School Shooting

In Toulouse, France Monday morning, a motorcycle pulled up to a school, a man got off, and pulled out two handguns, killing four and seriously injuring another. First, he killed a rabbi and his sons, who were three and six. He then chased a little eight year old girl down, and once he had her cornered, shot her in the head.

One of the guns, has been used in two other deadly shootings. Eight days ago, a paratrooper was shot down in Toulouse. Four days ago, in Montauban, two paratroopers were killed and a third was wounded.

France has raised it's terror alert to the highest level, throughout the south of the country. Whoever this man, who's identity has been concealed by his helmet's visor, is he has become France's most wanted, and all resources are being used to track him down. Fourteen special riot police units were being sent to hunt him down.

King George Tupou V; Dead at 63

Tonga's King George Tupou V has died at the age of 63. The lifelong bachelor took power after the death of his father in 2006. His brother, Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, was at his side at the hospital in Hong Kong. Last year he had a kidney removed in the US.

Nearly immediately after taking the crown, Tupou V set about bringing democracy to the islands of Tonga. In November 2010, the first free elections took place for parliament. The day before that election he said "in future the sovereign shall act only on the advice of his prime minister", and he turned over executive powers to the cabinet and parliament.

Tupou's V weaknesses were fancy Victorian era military uniforms, and he only allowed himself to be driven around in a London cab.

His legacy will be that of the man who brought democracy to his people. Because of him they gained freedom for a feudal society.