Keurig, Dr. Pepper unite for $18.7 billion


On Jan. 29, the largest soda deal ever became official. Keurig and Dr. Pepper Snapple teamed up and will now be called Keurig Dr. Pepper.

Keurig, whose corporate family already includes Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme and Pete’s Coffee, will now expand to Dr. Pepper. This deal allows the soda company to become part of the sales and popularity of Keurig, the coffee brewers. The annual revenue of this deal will bring in about $11 billion.

The expansion of this beverage distribution network is portrayed to be a win-win for both sides. While Keurig has helpful relationships with Inc. and Best Buy Co., Dr. Pepper Snapple has the connections to beverage vendors and convenience stores.

With help from multiple sources, Keurig Green Mountain’s investors will own 87 percent of Keurig Dr. Pepper. As JAB Holdings Co. holds the deal as a reverse merger, this new combination of a company based on coffee and soda will boost market share for both industries. Since Keurig was the fourth-largest coffee company and Dr. Pepper was the third-largest soft-drink company in the U.S. in 2017, the influence on the market and the market shares will be worthwhile.

Keurig has had ties with Coca-Cola, which owned 17 percent stake in the business before JAB, resulting in the deal allowing Coca-Cola to gain about $25.5 million on the investment. Dr. Pepper Snapple was bought by Cadbury Schweppes in 1995 but was off the deal in 2008 when Mondelez bought Cadbury.

Helpful sources included in the legalities of the deal were BDT & Co., AFW LP, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Morgan, and Lewis & Bockius LLP. The lead financial advisor to Keurig was Goldman Sachs & Co. while Credit Suisse Group AG. advised Dr. Pepper Snapple.

So far the multi-billion dollar deal has concluded that investors in the soft-drink company will get $103.75 a share and retain about 13 percent of the combined entity.

Malibu brush fire sparks investigation


A small brush fire in Malibu, Calif., north of Los Angeles, began early Monday morning, prompting temporary evacuations and threatening structures.

A heat wave resulting in near-record high temperatures was recorded throughout Southern California on Sunday. The heat, along with the powerful Santa Ana winds gusting up to 40 m.p.h., prompted red-flag fire warnings.

First reports of the fire were at 3:15 a.m. in the 23500 block of Civic Center Way in Malibu. The fire in close vicinity to populated areas led officials to issue mandatory evacuations in the Harbor Vista Drive, Colony View Circle and Malibu Crest Drive areas.

An initial estimate of the blaze was around six acres, but the figure was then narrowed to about 2.6 acres. By 5 a.m., containment was at 95 percent and by 5:30 a.m., local evacuations were lifted. Little to no structural damage was reported.

The L.A. County Fire Department reported that the fire was ‘suspicious in nature’ and that an investigation to determine the cause of the fire will be conducted. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but fingers point to a homeless encampment. The investigation is ongoing.

Cal Fire, a subset of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, reported that nearly 120 fires have occurred though Jan. 21 this year. California’s five-year average for that time frame is 86. Red-flag conditions will remain active for the region until the end of the week.

Flu season breaks records this year


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just reported that Florida’s flu activity has tripled in just one month from December 2017.

When people receive a flu vaccine, they are protecting against four different strains of flu. However, there is sometimes a case where the flu that spreads is not covered by the vaccine. This year’s deathly strain is called “Virus H3N2.” The effectiveness of the vaccine again Virus H3N2 is only 10 percent.

A total of 37 children have died from the flu this season and more than 12,000 people have been hospitalized for flu-like symptoms. Sadly, this is only one month into the flu season.

Schools, government and doctors are trying to educate people on the difference between a cold and flu, and the ways to avoid both. Start by washing hands frequently, sending children or adults home if they feel sick, stay hydrated, and lastly and most importantly, get the vaccination.

Although cold and flu are both horrible to have, the flu is more severe. Emergency rooms are overbooked as of late and are trying to have patients distinguish between cold and flu before coming in for help.

If you start to develop flu symptoms like a runny nose, headache, vomiting, coughing, or fever, you should go see a doctor in the first 48 hours of feeling symptoms. Doctors can give out an antiviral drug that shortens the effects but only if you come within 48 hours.

The bad news is that this flu will last longer than the normal flu season, which usually only lasts from October to February. Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado’s chief medical officer, said: “It may be several months before this flu season ends.” The CDC officials hope that the flu season had already peaked in the first week of January, but since then it has only increased in people it has affected.

Night at the Frost Museum


One of the most recently opened museums in the South Florida area, the Frost Museum of Science, has also become one of the most popular. And, as reported by the Sun Sentinel, the museum will continue to strengthen that popularity by organizing three sleepovers in the upcoming six months.

As this museum is known to be very child-friendly, the sleepovers – referred to as “Overnight Adventures”– will only be open for participants in the 6-17 age range. Exceptions to this include parents who must accompany their children.

The first adventure will take place on Feb. 9, followed by the second and third ones on April 12 and June 8. To the convenience of parents and children alike, all three events will take place on Friday nights. Additionally, all programming of the night will occur at the museum.

Spending the night at the Frost will expose children and accompanying adults to a whole new side of the museum. The museum reports that programming for these nights will include “after-hour access to selected exhibitions and a Frost Planetarium show.”

Additionally, participants should expect a “fire and ice” show, many hands-on activities, and start-gazing on the museum’s rooftop terrace. This allows for diversion, while at the same time teaching children about science.

The information website asks participants to pack their “jammies” as well as sleeping bags and a pillow. The $80 cost of the adventure takes care of everything else participants might need. This includes breakfast, dinner, a t-shirt, and a “Total Experience” free ticket to be used during their next visit. An extra $10 might be spent on parking. Activities are reported to be starting at 7 p.m. these nights.

In addition to the dates previously stated, there will also be two Overnight Adventures that will only be open for Girl Scouts of America members. These will take place on March 9th and May 11th.

Major League Soccer comes to Miami


After a “painful” four-year pursuit, David Beckham announced on Jan. 29 that he received approval to create a Miami Major League Soccer team. Beckham and his co-owners, Marcelo Claure, Simon Fuller and Jorge and Jose Mas, are now arranging a site in Overtown to build a $200 million soccer stadium.

The Miami Herald, which has followed the progression of starting an MLS team in Miami, said that the stadium will be ready by 2021. The team will begin playing in 2020 at sites like Hard Rock Stadium, FIU Stadium or Marlins Park until the stadium is ready.

Beckham admitted that he and his business partners are not thinking about who will take up the coveted spots on the new team just yet. Even though there are many people who are interested in joining, Beckham said that he and his business partners have “a lot of work to do” before they decide on who the team’s players will be.

In the months coming up, Beckham and his partners do want to take input from fans to decide on a name for the team, as well as possible options for its official colors and logo. According to The Herald, Beckham said “black” and “white” are a few options they are considering.

Beckham first announced the possibility of having a Major League Soccer team in Miami in February 2014, almost four years ago. Beckham and his team have been persistent throughout the process, even in the moments when it seemed like it would not end up happening.

“Luckily, these four years of pain, at times, has taught me that sometimes you go through certain moments where it’s difficult,” Beckham told The Herald before the ceremony. “I look at the past four years and see the positive. There’s a reason why it’s taken this long. If I hadn’t gone through those times, I wouldn’t have met these guys [pointing to Miami co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas], guys who are passionate about this city and this sport. It’s like the weather.

“You walk out the door and it’s raining, then you walk out another door and its sun. That’s kind of like the journey it’s been the last four years. There have been moments I got off a phone call and I’m excited and it’s happening, and I wake up the next morning and it’s all gone.”

Exercise app threatens national security


Australian student and analyst for the Institute of United Conflict Analysts, Nathan Ruser, recently discovered that the Strava fitness tracker could impose threats to U.S. national security by revealing locations of military bases.

In November 2017, Strava released global heat maps that use running and cycling information from wireless devices to show hot spots of heavy activity. Strava’s maps take the GPS location from a variety of devices that have their tracking services turned on, covering over 17 billion miles and tracking 27 million users.

According to Ruser, “US Bases are clearly identifiable and mappable.” The running paths of soldiers became visible to Twitter users when they noticed high activity in places including a suspected CIA base in Somalia, military sites in the Falkland Islands and a suspected military operations base in the Sahel region of Africa.

As of 2015, 20,000 soldiers and reservists were invited to participate in a program in which the Army issued Fitbit Flex wristbands. The location and patterns of these devices are easily accessible to those who have the Strava fitness tracker. The participants in this program do not even include the thousands of soldiers who exercise in their spare time using their personal devices.

Ruser tweeted on Saturday that “if soldiers use the app like normal people do, by turning it on tracking when they go to do exercise, it could be especially dangerous. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route. I shouldn’t be able to establish any pattern of life info from this far away.”

Nathan Ruser reveals privacy violations for U.S. bases his tweets.

Strava not only shows where people move, but also how they move. Time and paths are easily determined from the tracker. The Washington Post said that Afghani and Syrian bases are exposed and not only patrol lines, but also where “troops live, eat or work, suggesting possible target lines of enemies.”


The heat maps put a spotlight on the daily lives of all military personnel, not just U.S. forces. Hmeimen, the main Russian base in Syria, is visible, along with patrol routes.

The spider web-esq lines that connect bases and protrude from highly active locations endanger the lives of many and poses a breach of security.

Ruser’s in-depth research has led him to conclude that this slip-up by Strava is a “big oversight,” according to his tweets. Strava is now working with military and government personnel to change privacy settings and protect troops.

Coverage from the Christian perspective


You may be familiar with the 700 Club, an almost daily newscast on ABC’s Freeform channel produced by the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN).  At CBN, every breaking news headline that another news network like CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC would publish, is reported with Christian or religious-based spin.

On the CBN News website, under the CBN logo, it says in bold letters, “the Christian perspective.”

Many news outlets have sections for news in the United States and world news.  CBN has sections for news in the United States, world news, and another section only for news in Israel.

CBN reports the major stories, but in very different ways than secular news organizations.

For the recent school shooting in Kentucky, like all major news networks, CBN posted a breaking news story about the incident in the traditional hard news format. Later on, CNN posted a follow-up story about a shooting victim who called her mother, whereas CBN posted a follow-up story about Kentucky students coming together for a prayer circle.  MSNBC brought up the debate about gun control legislation and CBN highlighted that the shooter joined an atheist group.

Photo of Kentucky School prayer circle from the CBN News website. Photo credit: Tilghman Pride‏ via Twitter.

This method of reporting and drawing in a particular audience by CBN fills a very specific niche.

It raises questions about accuracy and definite bias, but is this that different than the ways in which “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert caters to bleeding-heart liberals or FOX News caters to radical conservatives?

Those who visit a news media organization such as the CBN for their news are not looking for a neutral or unbiased prospective.  They are looking to find out about the latest news both in the U.S. and worldwide reported to them from a Christian viewpoint with the emphasis on how faith is involved in the major stories of today.

Therefore, the CBN audience would be more interested in reading about the prayer circle in Kentucky, than the debate for gun control legislation. As someone who turns to CBN for the majority of my news, I can attest to this.

Perhaps focusing all coverage on faith may be seen as leaving out major parts of the story about the school shooting.  Conversely, covering prayer circles and religious ties could be viewed as adding more depth.

CBN is the only major news network that fills the Christian audience niche. Its top headlines of last week include, “Pastor Pleads for Protection and Prayers as Syrian Town Endures Attack,” “Oscar-Nominated Film Tells True Story of Muslims Protecting Christians,” and “‘I Never Liked Holding Hands at Church Anyway:’ As Flu Deaths Rise, Churches Change their Rules.”