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    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Thursday, April 24th, 2014

    Almost 1,600 veterans are forced to wait for care from a doctor; a new Georgia law allows guns in school districts, bars; and lawmakers threaten to pull funding from public universities. Meanwhile, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome their new son; a teen with terminal cancer raises over $1,000,000 for charity; and a runway model criticizes thin-shaming.

    -Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list: http://rtvote.com/ROzEle
    Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix, Arizona created a scheme to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans had no choice but to wait for months for doctoral care. At least 40 of those veterans suffered and died because they could not get care. What’s worse? The management at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix knew about and defended the waiting list. A former doctor at the hospital said there were two lists the hospital used: one that was shown to Washington that proves that people were getting care (the “sham” list) and the other that showed how veterans had to wait for up to a year: the “real” list. The hospital also did not preserve records and could make it seem as though a person never came in for an appointment. After the allegations came to a head, Congress has ordered all records to be preserved.

    Georgia law allows guns in some schools, bars, churches: http://rtvote.com/1k9l9lb
    Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill Wednesday that would allow guns to be carried into previously gun-free zones: like bars, churches, school zones, airports, and government buildings. The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 (or the “guns everywhere bill” as dubbed by opponents) was lobbied for by GeorgiaCarry, a pro-gun rights organization and will go into effect on July 1st of this year. 5% of Georgia’s population has passed background checks necessary to own a gun, and Deal says that this legislation “gives added protection to those who have played by the rules.” Some people, like members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, refuse to allow guns in their sanctuary. Others regard the law as ridiculous because the state has refused to expand healthcare and accept Obamacare but allows its citizens to own guns. However, the Safe Carry Protection Act has garnered wide support from members of the NRA and other supporters of the right to carry.

    Lawmakers pressure universities with threat to pull funds: http://rtvote.com/1f7AGTC
    States are threatening to pull funding from universities based on the information they teach, the things professors say, and the organizations partnered with the schools. For example, in South Carolina, funding is threatened at two different universities because students were asked to read a book discussing homosexuality. In Kansas, lawmakers threatened to “withhold appropriations” after a professor tweeted anti-NRA rhetoric. Some states have also banned universities from sending money to organizations that support things like unionization and boycotts that the state did not support. Colleges and lawmakers are trying to work together to find common ground.

    Ukraine tense as Russia launches military drills, activists die in clashes: http://rtvote.com/ROW3yJ
    After Russian forces practiced military drills near the Russian-Ukraine border, Ukrainian officials claim that they killed five pro-Russian militant activists. The deaths occurred as the Ukrainian military attempted to remove barricades from around Slavyansk, a Ukrainian city occupied by pro-Russian activists. Russian Vladimir Putin was quick to respond, saying: “If the Kiev regime has started to use the army against the population inside the country, it, beyond any doubt, is a very serious crime.” He also threatened “consequences” to the Ukrainians. Foreign nations, like the United States and countries represented in NATO, have expressed worry at the 40,000 Russian troops that have gathered at the border and have asked Russian forces to back down.

    CULTURAL

    Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome baby Otis! http://rtvote.com/1k9D1MJ

    The Bachelorette contestant Eric Hill tragically dies in freak accident: http://rtvote.com/1gUsLnK

    Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, loses her brother in accident: http://rtvote.com/1hq099r

    Jodie Foster is married! Congrats! http://rtvote.com/1nscIF1

    Terminally ill teen raises over $1,000,000 for charity: http://rtvote.com/1ptSRXQ

    Runway model: “If you can feel beautiful for being big, I can feel beautiful about being small”: http://rtvote.com/1lJpkbh

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Roundup: Friday, February 28th, 2014

    Friday, February 28th, 2014
    Masked gunmen wearing Russian uniforms seize a Ukrainian airport; the daughter of Sen. Robert Kennedy is acquitted after driving under the influence of drugs on a New York highway; Bitcoin exchange giant Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy after hackers steal half a billion dollars worth of stock; and the Egyptian military claims to have the cure for–not one–but TWO deadly global diseases. Meanwhile Seth Rogen manages to make a CSPAN video go viral; and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are apparently engaged?!

    - Austin + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Gunmen in Russian Uniforms Sieze Airport in Ukraine http://rtvote.com/1eG8ksC
    Days after violence settled in Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev, masked gunmen in Russian military attire have seized an airport in the Eastern Crimean region of Ukraine. The gunmen refused to respond when questioned about their authority and military status. It is yet unclear if there is any organized force behind the occupation. Though Kiev recently outed pro-Russian President Yanukovich, the Eastern Crimean region has historically been sympathetic to Russian interests.

    Kerry Kennedy Acquitted of Drugged Driving http://rtvote.com/1mKFK3i
    The 54-year old daughter of Senator Robert Kennedy was acquitted after a July 2012 incident in which she mistakenly took a fast-acting sleeping pill before driving along interstate 684. The pill, which she mistook for her thyroid medicine, caused her to speed, swerve dangerously, and hit a tractor trailer. Kennedy’s acquittal means she joins 21 other people (.2% of all cases) who were acquitted of misdemeanor charges in 2012.

    Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Files for Bankruptcy http://rtvote.com/1fwgk5q
    After a concerning period of silence, Bitcoin exchange giant Mt. Gox announced it is filing for bankruptcy after hackers stole $480 million worth of its stock. Bitcoin is a newly developed currency available exclusively online. While part of Bitcoin’s appeal is that the currency is not regulated by a central bank, this also leaves the currency vulnerable. Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy has shaken the nascent industry, but users still think there is a future for Bitcoin.

    Day After Governor’s Veto, Arizona Moves Forward with Legislation Targeting Abortion Clinics
    http://bitly.com/1fYNLIM
    Just a day after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill said to permit discriminatory policies against gay Americans, the Arizona legislature has taken up a new bill to regulate abortion clinics in the state. The bill would permit unannounced inspections which, under current law, require a warrant. In the past, Gov Brewer has both supported and opposed conservative policies from the Republican arm of the state legislature; it is unclear whether or not she would support such a bill.

    Egyptian Military Claims to Have Cure for HIV http://rtvote.com/1lpiYw7
    In a surprise announcement yesterday, the Egyptian military claimed to have developed a cure for HIV and Hepatitis C after 22 years of “secret research.” If true, this could be very good news for Egypt, which has the highest global prevalence of Hepatitis C and a 1% infection rate for HIV. However, the international community is highly skeptical that Egypt could have the cure for two deadly epidemics when decades of research across the globe has failed to do so.

    CULTURAL

    Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are Engaged: A Timeline of the That’s 70′s Show Romance, http://rtvote.com/1dJf35s

    Justin Timberlake Gets His Butt Grabbed During a Philadelphia Concert, http://rtvote.com/1cfLkGD

    Kerry Washington Dresses Baby Bump in Chic Blue Sheath at Essence Lunch, http://rtvote.com/MBxHF9

    Seth Rogen Gives Heartfelt, Yet Hilarious, Speech Before Senate About Alzheimer’s Research, His Mother-in-Law, http://rtvote.com/1dJgoJB

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Thursday, February 27, 2014

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoes SB 1062; Michelle Obama supports the FDA’s new rules for food labels; President Obama unveils “My Brother’s Keeper”; and NASA discovers 715 new planets. Meanwhile, Seth Rogan goes to Washington; Fast & Furious 7 resumes production soon; and it’s almost Oscar Night: see the nominees one more time!

    - Veronica + Maura

     CRUCIAL

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes anti-gay bill: http://rtvote.com/1hshIoc
    Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, the highly controversial Arizona bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to or turn away members of the LGBT community based on religious beliefs. Brewer said in a statement: “I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.” Opponents to the bill praised Brewer, while supporters of the bill believed the veto was a shot to religious freedom.

    Obama to detail program to help minority youth: http://rtvote.com/1fLN6xW
    President Obama will announce details on his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative on Thursday. The initiative is a partnership between businesses, organizations, and the government that will hopefully help “high risk” minority men stay out of jail through skills training. Several philanthropic groups have already pledged to funnel $200 million over the next five years into the program. The Obama administration and the organizations involved will analyze the effectiveness of existing programs that have similar aims as “My Brother’s Keeper” does and figure out how they can be reformed or maintained to improve effectiveness.

    Nutrition labels getting a makeover: http://rtvote.com/1ccfA5d
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed changing the nutrition labels found on every packaged food and drink. New labels would put a heavier focus on calories per serving and percent daily value, and the serving sizes will be changed to reflect the average amount of the product people consume. First Lady Michelle Obama is vehemently supporting the changes, saying in a press release that the new labels will “make a big difference for families all across the country.”

    Seoul: N. Korea fired short-range missiles into sea: http://rtvote.com/1ftGjum
    South Korean officials report that North Korea fired four short-range missiles into the sea on Thursday in an apparent protest of military exercises occurring between the United States and South Korea. Pyongyang believes that these exercises are a “rehearsal for invasion”. The launch could also be a plea for international attention in order to obtain more aid negotiations from foreign countries.

    NASA discovers 715 new planets: http://rtvote.com/1gEUNE6
    NASA announced Wednesday that they have found 715 new planets, making it the largest planetary discovery in history. To put this in perspective, before the announcement, there had been 1,000 planets discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. Four of these planets, scientists believe, have the potential to support life. The four are each about twice the size of Earth, and one orbits a star half the size of the sun every 30 days. The planets were discovered using the Kepler space observatory’s telescope. Launched in 2009, these 715 planets are only from Kepler’s first two years in space, meaning there could be more to come.

    CULTURAL

    Watch Seth Rogan in Congress! http://rtvote.com/1jDz3v7

    More Bieber drama after police release footage: http://rtvote.com/1jDzrKf

    Are Matthew Bellamy and Kate Hudson breaking up? http://rtvote.com/1cq4nZk 

    Fast & Furious 7 scheduled to resume production in April: http://rtvote.com/1eqa9OS

    Quick refresher before Oscars Sunday: see the nominees! http://rtvote.com/1mIZq7C

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

    Arizona’s governor has yet to make a decision on the latest controversial bill; secession fears emerge in Ukraine; and a California couple finds $10 million worth of Gold Rush-era coins. Meanwhile, another celebrity couple splits; more controversy emerges for Justin Bieber; and Kanye West talks music.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Arizona governor takes time on anti-gay bill: http://rtvote.com/1mHkU4T
    Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has been pressured for days to take a stance on bill SB1062, that would allow businesses and restaurants to refuse to serve gays based on religious beliefs. People from all professions and belief systems have called on Brewer to veto the bill including: the LGBT community, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, religious leaders, business giants like Apple, and Arizona’s two senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake. The NFL is also watching the bill’s progress; if it passes, the 2015 Super Bowl’s Arizona location might be challenged. Brewer has until Saturday at 11:59pm to make her decision, but her inaction so far has drawn criticism.

    Tensions rise in Ukraine’s pro-Russian Crimea amid secession fears: http://rtvote.com/1fHdjOg
    Pro-Russian protesters faced off with pro-Ukrainian protesters in Simferopol, a city within Ukraine’s Crimea region. Some fear that Crimea, due to its extreme loyalty to Russia, will secede from Ukraine, although parliament speaker Volodimir Konstantinov has denied that there are secession plans in the works. Currently, eastern and southern Ukraine has a heavier Russian influence, while Western Ukraine favors the majority of Europe. Currently, Ukraine is trying to create a new government in the midst of the continuing political instability throughout the country.

    No bluff: US planning possible withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan: http://rtvote.com/1gCjscp
    If no security agreement is signed, the Obama administration told Afghanistan that they would withdrawal all of the United States troops that remain by the end of the year. This comes after Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, refused to sign the security agreement, which would keep American troops in Afghanistan after combat operations end this year. A Pakistani official believes that if the United States leaves Afghanistan completely, a civil war will ensue. Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah said he would sign the deal if elected.

    UAE Islamic affairs authority warns Muslims against a mission to Mars: http://rtvote.com/1ewcRhg
    The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) has issued a ruling telling Muslims not to travel to Mars, despite supporting space travel in general. The GAIAE is against travel to Mars because they believe people won’t come back: that they’ll die in space. This, they say, is similar to committing suicide because the traveler willingly went to Mars knowing he or she may not return. Suicide is strictly against Islamic principles. Mars One, the Dutch nonprofit planning the first tourist mission to outer space (through Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic) this year, issued a statement saying that human lives would not be at risk for tourism-based space travel and that the GAIAE should revoke the ruling.

    California couple unearths Gold Rush coins worth $10 million: http://rtvote.com/1jAakb3
    Two Californians stumbled upon 1,427 gold coins buried by a tree on their property while walking their dog. The discovery is believed to be “one of the greatest buried treasures ever unearthed in the United States” says the trade journal Coin Update. The coins worth $5, $10, and $20 were in mint condition and had never been circulated, though they have been dated from 1897 to 1894. Most of the coins are $20 coins minted between 1855 and 1894. Some experts say some coins could be auctioned for $1 million. No one has any idea who might have buried them. The couple plans to sell the majority of the coins on Amazon and plan on using the proceeds to help their community.

    CULTURAL

    Katy Perry and John Mayer hit splitsville: http://rtvote.com/1pthPUZ

    Justin Bieber’s security guard and driver arrested: http://rtvote.com/1llFOoy

    Kanye West to make “kid-friendly” music? http://rtvote.com/1khb5pg

    Miley Cyrus debunks some rumors: http://rtvote.com/N3mGgH

    Paul Rudd vs. Jimmy Fallon…at lip syncing: http://rtvote.com/1bM4aEN

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: December 11, 2013

    Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

    The Nevada family that never returned from playing in the snow has been found and rescued; Senator Ted Cruz walks out on Cuban President Raul Castro’s speech at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service; and a family struggles to get people to help those with mental illnesses. Meanwhile, Demi Lovato talks about her struggles with cocaine addiction, and Kate Winslet gives birth to her first child!

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Meteor explodes over Arizona; big meteor shower begins,http://rtvote.com/IPLo1k
    A tremendous boom rattled the houses of residents in Tucson, Arizona. The largest meteor shower of the year, Geminid, seemed to be giving them a sneak preview. A dash cam caught the spectacular meteor on video. The Geminid meter shower officially starts Thursday.

    Senator’s chief of staff under investigation involving child porn allegations,http://rtvote.com/1jOt0od
    Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said Tuesday that law enforcement officials were searching the home of his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, regarding allegations involving child pornography. The Senator has placed Mr. Loskarn on administrative leave without pay. His office is fully cooperating with the investigation.

    Lost Nevada family warmed rocks by fire to survive snow for 2 days,http://rtvote.com/18C9iV8
    The Nevada family that went out to play in the snow and never returned has finally been found and rescued. James Glanton, 34, and his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, remained calm after their jeep overturned and slid down an embankment, trapping them in the cold weather. Glanton and McIntee cleverly warmed rocks to start a fire to keep the children, 3 to 10, warm at night. The hospital says they are stable with no frostbite, just some exposure issues.

    Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial,http://rtvote.com/18mkKcz
    Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, part of a Congressional delegation at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, walked out of the service when Cuban President Raul Castro took to the stage and delivered his speech. A spokesperson for Cruz stated they he hopes that Castro can learn from the lessons of Mandela by releasing his political prisoners and holding free elections for the Cuban people. Before eulogizing Mandela, President Obama shook Raul Castro’s hand – a remarkable gesture between the leaders of two nations that have not shared diplomacy in over half a century.

    ‘My Son is Mentally Ill’ So Listen Uphttp://rtvote.com/1iXk16p
    Stephanie Escamilla and her 14-year-old son tell their powerful story of having a family member who has a mental illness. They urge this nation and its people to stop neglecting those who are mentally ill. 1 in 4 American adults suffer from mental illness; 1 in 5 children have a mental disorder. Something has to be done for those who are oftentimes bullied, ignored, and marginalized in society for their condition.

     

    CULTURAL

    LeAnn Rimes Breaks Down in Tears Singing at American Country Awards,http://rtvote.com/1iXmKwx

    Demi Lovato Talks Past Drug Use: “I Couldn’t Go 30 Minutes to an Hour Without Cocaine,” http://rtvote.com/1gpHuev

    Kate Winslet Gives Birth to a Baby Boy, Her First child With Husband Ned Rocknroll, http://rtvote.com/1h0kjot

    Katy Perry: Russell Brand Wanted Me to Have Children as a Way of Control,http://rtvote.com/18mnd6H

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com