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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

    A Philadelphia high school drug ring is busted; violence escalates in South Sudan; and a man dealing fake art is arrested. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyong’o is named “Most Beautiful”; Drew Barrymore has her second child; and Justin Bieber gets in trouble for a seemingly honest mistake.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Drug ring targeting top suburban Philly schools busted: http://rtvote.com/1lEO7Jd
    18-year-old Timothy Brooks and 25-year-old Neil Scott were caught Tuesday by the police along with eight other people. The business: selling drugs to students at some of the best high schools and colleges in the area. Brooks and Scott were the two at the center of the drug ring; Brooks supervised the eight “sub-dealers” who sold the drugs at school while Scott was in charge of shipping the drugs from California to Pennsylvania. The drug ring, allegedly dubbed the “Main Line Take-Over Project” (after affluent towns near Philadelphia, where the ring targeted), was responsible for selling marijuana, hash oil, cocaine, and ecstasy (or MDMA). The schools targeted included the Haverford School, Conestoga High School, Radnor High School, Harriton High School, and Lower Merion High School: all prestigious, wealthy schools with some of the highest standardized test scores in Pennsylvania.

    UN: South Sudan rebels separate residents by ethnicity, kill hundreds: http://rtvote.com/1iL2dsZ
    Rebels stormed the oil town Bentiu last week in South Sudan, separated the terrified citizens by ethnicity, and then killed at least 400 people. 200 were killed and 400 were wounded at one mosque alone. The attackers warned certain ethnic groups to leave town and that they should no longer stay in Bentiu. Men, women, and children were killed when they did not cheer and offer support for the rebel attackers. The conflict stems from an overarching power struggle between two South Sudanese ethnic groups: the Nuers and the Dinkas. The rebel leader, Riek Machar (Nuer) was accused by the existing President, Salva Kiir (Dinka), of trying to kick him out of power through a coup. Since the coup allegations, violence between military and civilians has dominated the nation.

    Indicted art dealer, painter were ‘masters of forgery and deceit’: http://rtvote.com/1tCgv3Y
    Jose Carlos Bergatiños Diaz, his brother, and other associates are accused of making $30 million by selling fake artwork for almost 20 years. Diaz and his associates convinced wealthy people and New York art galleries that he was selling real Rothkos and Pollocks paintings. In reality, the paintings sold were made by Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese painter found by Diaz on the Manhattan streets. The brothers were arrested in Spain and have been charged with conspiracy and money laundering. Qian, who authorities believe fled to China as the scheme began to fall apart, has been charged with lying to FBI agents and other conspiracy charges.

    Gun checks miss millions of fugitives: http://rtvote.com/1l1QiYH
    Law enforcement agencies who fail to provide the FBI and national fugitive databases with information on felons could enable those felons to access, purchase, and use guns. In 5 states alone, police forces failed to give the FBI information on more than 2.5 million people with arrest warrants. A large number of those unreported people are wanted for violent offences.  A possible reason for the lack of reporting is that most states do not want to spend the money to track fugitives across state lines. Most agencies therefore see no reason to report with the FBI (a national tracking database) because they have no intention of tracking the fugitives who have left the state.

    CULTURAL

    Lupita Nyong’o named People’s “Most Beautiful”: http://rtvote.com/Qy51zv

    Daniel Franzese (Damian from Mean Girls) comes out: http://rtvote.com/Ptxcym

    Drew Barrymore has her baby! Find out her adorable name! http://rtvote.com/1noPuQa

    Rehearsals for Pitch Perfect 2 have begun! http://rtvote.com/1hj8yvl

    Justin Bieber in hot water again- although this might have been an honest mistake: http://rtvote.com/1jB3QGv

    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 19, 2014

    Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

    Protests in Ukraine reach a new peak; Confederate flag-bearing license plates cause controversy; bald Barbie dolls cheer cancer patients; soldiers posing around an empty casket spark outrage; and an Arkansas teen is dead after a simple prank goes wrong. Meanwhile, a Gossip Girl star has a secret wedding; a pop music diva might be engaged; one of the hosts of The Voice calls it quits; and Harry Styles makes a “guest appearance” on The Tonight Show. 

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    After 25 die, Ukrainian protesters dig in: http://rtvote.com/1fgElvD
    25 people died Tuesday after political protests turned violent in Kiev, Ukraine. Today, the protesters are willing to continue to fight against their government. Protests began in November 2013 when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych declined to trade with the European Union and chose Russia instead. The situation became more grave when the Ukrainian government passed a law prohibiting protesting, driving more people to protest violently. Western leaders are prepared to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian government until the violence ceases.

    Confederate flag to appear on new Ga. car plates: http://rtvote.com/1fyTPrt
    Officials in Georgia have allowed a specialty license plate that includes the Confederate flag, causing conflict between those who view the flag as a symbol of racial oppression and by those who view the flag as a symbol of their Southern heritage. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said he was surprised by the new plates and said, “I had no information in advance about it.” North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi are the only three states that joined the Confederacy that have specialty plates containing the Confederate flag.

    Bald Barbie cheers up cancer patients, families: http://rtvote.com/1fdAOzI
    Valerie Paul’s best friend’s cancer inspired her to make bald Barbie dolls for girls and women fighting cancer. She gained national attention when 13 year-old Talia Joy Castellano, a young girl with terminal cancer who became a viral sensation, received one of the bald Barbie dolls and was on Ellen. So far, she and her business partner Wanda Shultz have handed out over 300 Barbie’s and 75 baby dolls and send them to whoever requests one.

    Soldiers posing around empty casket spark rage: http://rtvote.com/1cZUYrf
    A group photo showing around twelve soldiers making non-serious faces and motions around an empty, flag-draped casket has sparked outrage amongst the public. The Wisconsin National Guard has suspended the woman responsible for posting the photo on Instagram and captioning it with this: “We put the FUN in funeral—your fearless honor guard from various states.” People across the country have found the photo incredibly disrespectful, especially those who lost loved ones in war.

    Prank turns deadly for Arkansas teen: http://rtvote.com/1blH1J0
    15-year-old Adrian Broadway from Little Rock, Arkansas, was shot in the head and killed on Saturday after a prank went horribly wrong. Broadway and a few friends went to a house to pull a “retaliation prank” on another teen who had pulled a prank on them previously. After peppering a vehicle parked at the house with toilet paper, eggs, and mayonnaise, a man came out of the house and opened fire, killing Broadway and injuring another. The shooter, 48-year-old Willie Noble, has been charged with first-degree murder, committing a terroristic act, and aggravated assault. 

    CULTURAL

    Secret wedding bells for this Gossip Girl star: http://rtvote.com/1ghC8y4

    See Simon Cowell’s newborn: http://rtvote.com/1gFZwH

    Harry Styles on The Tonight Show… kind of: http://rtvote.com/Oa45QP

    CeeLo Green quits The Voice: http://rtvote.com/1c2P2h4

    Is Katy Perry engaged? http://rtvote.com/1gVDmRB

     

    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: November 21, 2013

    Thursday, November 21st, 2013

    Partisan gridlock continues as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid considers a ‘nuclear option’; Congressman Radel (R-Fla) is busted for cocaine purchase but doesn’t resign; and a volcanic eruption has led to the arrival of a tiny new island in Japan. Meanwhile, Miley is at it again! as she bleaches her eyebrows & posts to Instagram; an O.C. cast member and former Gossip Girl star are set to get hitched; and Jennifer Lawrence gets teased by her Catching Fire co-stars.
    - Maura + Veronica

    CRUCIAL 

    Harry Reid may go ‘nuclear’ Thursday, http://rtvote.com/1h50yii
    Tension and dysfunction in Washington, D.C. continues and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is poised to do something about it. After a slew of executive nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was thwarted by Republicans, Senator Reid may move toward a historic change to the Senate rules that would eliminate the filibuster on most nominations as soon as Thursday. If a second round of votes to choose from the nominees fails, the Senator may move to make a change of rules the Senate based on a majority vote.  Stay tuned for more as this develops.

    Rep. Trey Radel of Florida to take leave of absence after guilty plea to cocaine charge, http://rtvote.com/1ek5Anu
    On Wednesday, the 37-year-old lawmaker and freshman Congressman, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug-possession charge in D.C.  Superior Court.  He was arrested last month outside of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. after purchasing cocaine from an undercover officer. In a late night press conference Wednesday, the Congressman apologized to his constituents in Florida, but will not resign from his post.

    Karzai Says Security Pack With U.S. Should Be Signed Next Year, http://rtvote.com/1dkJWT1
    President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan signaled that a security deal with the U.S. may not be finalized until next year, even if it is ratified by a grand council of Afghan leaders this week. He asked the council to place the agreement on hold until after his successor is elected, but was unclear on what that timeline looks like. This would put a final agreement on hold and could keep American and NATO forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

    Volcano spawns new Japanese island, http://rtvote.com/1dkMlx3
    Japan is fired up! A recent undersea volcanic eruption has given Japan a tiny new patch of territory that currently measures about 660 feet in diameter and is located just off the coast of Nishinoshima. However, the country will put naming its newest addition on hold until they are sure that the sea will not engulf it.

    LRA leader Joseph Kony ‘in surrender talks’ with CAR, http://rtvote.com/1ixTmtZ
    A spokesperson of the Central African Republic (CAR) has said that it is in talks with Joseph Kony, the infamous Ugandan warlard. His rebellion in northern Uganda began more than 20 years ago and his fighters became known for abducting children to serve as sex slaves and fighters. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and the United States government has offered up $5million for any leads that result in his arrest.

    CULTURAL
    ‘Catching Fire’ stars joke about Jennifer Lawrence’s ego: ‘You can hardly talk to her’, http://rtvote.com/19KDrkq

    Lullaby time: Kelly Clarkson is expecting first baby, http://rtvote.com/1bUmY1U

    Miley Cyrus Bleaches Her Eyebrows, Parties With Miranda Kerr and Lily Allen—See the Pics!, http://rtvote.com/1aTKCab

    Leighton Meester, Adam Brody Are Engaged! Former Gossip Girl Star and O.C. Stud to Wed, http://rtvote.com/19KFepp

    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: October 16, 2013

    Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

    An L.A. airport employee is arrested for the dry ice blasts at LAX; two minors are arrested for bullying a 14-year-old into suicide; and Senate resumes control of negotiations with one day to go before the debt deadline hits. Meanwhile, Ke$ha confesses that ghosts haunted her body, and Rihanna’s tweets get a string of people arrested in Thailand.

    -Sandy + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    L.A. airport employee arrested in dry ice blastshttp://rtvote.com/1er3DFr
    Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, has been taken into custody for allegedly planting plastic bottles of dry ice on a tarmac and in one of the airport’s employee restrooms last week. Nobody was hurt in either incidents, but the blasts could have seriously injured anyone who was in close proximity. Bennett’s motives are unknown.

    Police chief: 64 Cleveland officers broke rules in shootinghttp://rtvote.com/1gklnGU
    More than 60 police officers will be disciplined for a 23-minute police chase that happened November 29, 2012. Police pursued a speeding car and opened fire after they thought they heard a gunshot and saw a gun in the car, although no weapon was ever found. Two unarmed people were shot and killed in the officers’ hailstorm of 137 bullets.

    Thefts from nursing home trust funds target the elderlyhttp://rtvote.com/1gknkmK
    The problem of resident trust funds being stolen or mismanaged is a growing problem. Employees or administrators at U.S. nursing homes or other long-term care institutions have taken large sums of money from trust funds. However, these crimes of trust fund theft are not easy to detect, and they are relatively easy to carry out because of the lack of safeguards in the system.

    Shutdown, Day 16: Can nation avert default?http://rtvote.com/1fCAslM
    Just ONE day away from the debt deadline! So, what’s going on in DC right now? Here are some top highlights: the Senate has resumed control of negotiations after the House GOP pulled their bill yesterday; Fitch Ratings, one of the largest debt-rating companies, has threatened to possibly downgrade the U.S.’s AAA bond rating; the Pew Research Center has released a new poll that says 51% of Americans think that raising the debt limit by tomorrow is essential to avoid economic crisis. Will Congress reach an agreement before it’s too late? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

    Sheriff: Taunting post leads to arrests in Rebecca Sedwick bullying deathhttp://rtvote.com/1erd0oI
    12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide last month by jumping off the top of an abandoned concrete plant. The bullying Sedwick endured by a 14-year-old girl and another 12-year-old girl allegedly prompted her to end her life. The girls were charged with stalking for allegedly harassing Sedwick at school and online. The 14-year-old posted a taunting Facebook message after Sedwick’s death, prompting police to arrest her.

    PUNDITS

    Bruce Schneier discusses privacy in an information age being fostered by the government and private companies in “Your life, under constant surveillance,” http://rtvote.com/1gktGTb

    LZ Granderson reminds us that before we call the men and women of Congress “idiots”, we should remember we put them there in “We Created – and Deserve – the Idiots in Washington,” http://rtvote.com/1fCPpEB

    CULTURAL

    Ke$ha Reveals Ghosts Haunted Her Body, http://rtvote.com/1erhg7A

    Was Britney Spears’ Body Airbrushed in the “Work Bitch” Music Video? See the Before and After,http://rtvote.com/197kL13

    Ivanka Trump Gives Birth to a Baby Boy, http://rtvote.com/1fCQLis

    Rihanna’s Tweets Leave Trail of Arrests After Thailand Visit, http://rtvote.com/1gkwtMb

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: September 30, 2013

    Monday, September 30th, 2013

    A government shutdown is looming; the U.N. votes to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons; and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran is greeted by angry protests, following his positive meeting with President Obama. Meanwhile, Rihanna has a new reality show, and Heather Morris gives birth to a baby boy.

    -Sandy + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    House GOP votes to delay Obamacare for one yearhttp://rtvote.com/1dS3N8u House Republicans voted on a stopgap spending measure to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year. The bill will be sent back to the Senate, but it faces certain defeat, as the Senate and President Obama have both stated that they will not accept any bill that will delay or defund Obamacare. If Congress cannot overcome this impasse, a government shutdown will be announced tomorrow.

    NSA Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizenshttp://rtvote.com/18klFXE In November 2010, the National Security Agency (NSA) lifted restrictions on examining Americans’ social network activity for foreign intelligence purposes. NSA policy had previously prohibited this practice because of concerns about American citizens’ privacy. The spy agency can now collect information ranging from a citizen’s record of phone calls and emails to his or her Facebook profile, bank codes, and GPS locations.

    House GOP moves to protect military pay in a shutdownhttp://rtvote.com/18koGad In the event of a government shutdown, many federal workers will be staying at home without pay. On Saturday, however, House Republicans proposed a bill that would ensure military service members continued to be paid if Congress is unable to avoid a government shutdown come end of business today. Although the House passed the bill on military pay unanimously, Democrats complained that this overlooked the value of many other federal workers, who would be forced to go without pay during this time.

    UN votes to eliminate Syria’s chemical weaponshttp://rtvote.com/1eU7WvF The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. All 15 council members signed on as co-sponsors to the resolution. This marks the first breakthrough decision that the council has agreed upon since the Syrian civil war began. It also sends a zero-tolerance message to all countries on the use of chemical weapons.

    Hassan Rouhani’s return to Iran marked by ‘death to America’ chantshttp://rtvote.com/1fCVhOW After what seemed like a constructive visit to the U.N. general assembly to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, many American politicians and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani left in high spirits. Obama and Rouhani even had a 15-minute telephone call afterwards, marking the first interaction between an American and Iranian president in more than three decades. However, Rouhani’s return to Iran was greeted with angry protests, as hardliners opposed the president’s pro-American meeting.

    PUNDITS

    Julian Zelizer discusses the implications of a looming government shutdown in “Government shutdown threat is getting very old, very fast”, http://rtvote.com/1dSbdsn

    Peter Bergen talks about social media and terrorism in “Are mass murderers using Twitter as a tool?”, http://rtvote.com/1dSbwU 

    CULTURAL

    Rihanna’s New Reality Show: First Look Trailer for Styled to Rockhttp://rtvote.com/18kvxAs

    Khloe Kardashian Odom and Lamar Odom “Are Staying Strong,” LaLa Anthony Says, http://rtvote.com/1dSa97U

    Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf Has “Mixed Emotions” About Sextortion Photos Scandal, http://rtvote.com/1dSaojo

    Heather Morris Gives Birth to Baby Boy Elijah, http://rtvote.com/18kxgWx

    sandywu
    Bio:

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