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Chatter: Syrian troops shell Homs

Syrian troops shelled the flashpoint city of Homs today as opposition activists called for fresh protests, the latest test of a UN-brokered cease-fire. The violence comes soon after top diplomats from the "Friends of Syria" group met in Paris, with Hillary Clinton urging tough new sanctions.
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Need to know:

Syrian troops shelled the flashpoint city of Homs today as opposition activists called for fresh protests, in the latest test of a UN-brokered cease-fire.

The violence comes soon after top diplomats from the "Friends of Syria" group met in Paris, with Hillary Clinton pushing for tough new sanctions.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said Syria is not honoring a cease-fire which took effect last week, and warned that violence was escalating. According to human rights monitors, 127 civilians have died since the cease-fire began. 

Want to know:

Sudan and South Sudan are sliding closer to all-out war

Tensions soared after South Sudan seized the disputed Heglig oil fields, Sudan's most important oil-producing area, and the war rhetoric has intensified after a week of clashes along their contested border.

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir has vowed to teach his newly independent southern neighbor "a final lesson by force."

A South Sudan army commander in Bentiu, near Heglig, said he does not intend to withdraw troops from the oil fields, and is prepared to fight. Uganda's top military official declared that his country would back South Sudan if it went to war.

Dull but important:

Bahrain has ramped up security ahead of Sunday's Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Anti-government protesters have promised "three days of rage" to coincide with the event. Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, only decided to go ahead with the race at the last minute, but the escalating political unrest has thrown it into uncertainty.

Two members of the Force India team have asked to return home after being caught up in a petrol bomb incident outside Manama, the capital.

Last year's F1 in Bahrain was canceled because of demonstrations against the ruling Sunni al-Khalifa clan. The government is reportedly trying to use this Grand Prix to show that life is back to normal in the Kingdom.

Just because:

Dolphins have been dying along Peru's northern coast in unprecedented numbers.

Conservationists are blaming the die-off on seismic testing by a private oil company; Houston-based oil firm BPZ denies the claim.

The bodies of some 3,000 dolphins have washed up on beaches since early February, with no outward signs of trauma. Some scientists believe the animals had suffered the bends: bubbles and blood were found in the sinuses of some of the dolphins.

This is an indication of decompression sickness, potentially caused by the animals’ panicked rapid ascent to the surface to escape underwater noise.

Strange but true:

Well, this is embarrassing: an investment banker has been caught out on keeping an Excel spreadsheet to evaluate the women he was dating.

The spreadsheet meticulously details the 12 women that David Merkur, 28, was dating or wanted to date. He ranked the women on a scale of one to 10, and added comments about their personalities and appearance.

The color co-ordinated spreadsheet went viral after Merkur sent the document to one of the women, named Arielle, who he had told about it while on a date.

Arielle, who is described in the spreadsheet as “very pretty, sweet & down to earth," of course emailed it to all her friends.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-syrian-troops-shell-homs

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