News and Brief: World and Nation

Simferopol, Ukraine 

According to CNN, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not committed to annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region amidst the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. However, Putin insists on Russia’s right to intervene militarily “as a last resort” and has mobilized sizable troop reinforcements. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ukraine on March 4 and offered $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to encourage Ukraine to integrate with the West and to help offset energy subsidies from Russia, The New York Times reports.

Islamabad, Pakistan 

“Today, we are seeing a big breakthrough,” said Irfan Siddiqui, leader of the Pakistani government’s negotiating team. On March 1, the Pakistani Taliban announced a month-long ceasefire, with hopes of reviving peace talks with the government, the BBC reports. In response, the government has agreed to temporarily halt drone strikes against the Taliban, one of which was responsible for the death of former Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in November.

Pretoria, South Africa 

Accused of murdering his former girlfriend and South African model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day, 2013, Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius faces trial at a high court in Pretoria. On day two of the trial, Pistorius’ neighbor Michelle Burger served as a witness for the prosecution, telling the judge that she was “awakened by screams, followed by gunshots, when Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend at his Pretoria home,” according to a report by CNN. Since his arrest last year, Pistorius and his defense lawyer maintain that Pistorius mistook Steenkamp for a burglar behind a locked bathroom door when he fired shots.

Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.

On Tuesday, March 4, Chief Executive Joe Magnacca announced that RadioShack Corporation will close up to 1,100 stores — a fifth of its total. The company’s stock value plummeted over 24 percent on the morning of the announcement. Headquartered in Forth Worth, Texas, RadioShack reported “a $191.4 million loss during the holiday quarter” and “difficulty adapting to modern trends in the business” as major factors contributing to its decision to close stores, The Wall Street Journal reports.  According to Yahoo Finance, RadioShack’s primary competitors include: Best Buy, Walmart and Cellco Partnership, a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless.