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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

    A shipwreck in South Korea leaves nearly 300 missing; a large al Qaeda meeting video surfaces and unsettles United States intelligence; a cold case has been solved after over 40 years; and two backpacks wreak havoc at the Boston Marathon Commemorative Ceremonies. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital; Paul Walker’s brothers will help finish filming Fast & Furious 7; and Pharrell shares a “Happy” moment with Oprah despite some tears.

    - Veronica + Maura


    Rescuers search dark, cold sea for survivors of shipwreck off South Korea: http://rtvote.com/1t9Riha
    300 people are still missing after a ferry, charged with taking passengers to a South Korean resort, capsized and sank Wednesday. Rescue teams are still searching the Yellow Sea for potential survivors. Out of the 459 people on board, four people (three men and one woman) are known to be dead and 164 have been rescued. Most of the passengers were students and teachers from a high school in Seoul, who were on a four-day field trip to an island resort nearby. A loud bang was heard before the ship began to rapidly take on water. The crew told the passengers to put on lifejackets and jump into the ocean. Some survivors said they tried to help people get out, but were not able to in time. The cause of the accident remains a mystery.

    Unsettling video shows large al Qaeda meeting in Yemen: http://rtvote.com/1qJdDjo
    A video deemed authentic by the US government shows what has been considered the largest gathering of al Qaeda militants in years. What’s more, either the CIA or the Pentagon did not know the gathering was occurring or they could not get a drone there in time. US officials have yet to comment on their lack of action, but the video is being heavily analyzed by US intelligence. Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the group’s second in command leader worldwide, is depicted to be standing in the open greeting followers, completely unconcerned that he could be hit by a drone strike. He said in his speech: “We must eliminate the cross…. The bearer of the cross is America.” Experts say there is cause for worry, stating that the recent video means that a new round of plotting is at hand. The al Qaeda group in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is the most dangerous sect of the terrorist organization.

    Case of missing South Dakota girls solved after 40 years: http://rtvote.com/1mcP4th
    Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller were on their way to a party in 1971 when they mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Authorities originally believed it was homicide, but were forced to drop the charges against the accused man due to false evidence. Since then, the case was considered a cold case. Last September, a car was found in a creek near the girls’ destinations. Inside were skeletal remains found in the cab of the car and Miller’s driver’s license, as well as personal items like notes and photographs. DNA analysis of the remains confirmed the identities of Jackson and Miller. There was no sign of alcohol, the keys were in the car’s ignition, the car was in gear, and a tire was damaged. 40 years later, the police are finally able to provide the families with a definitive answer: the girls’ deaths were an accident.

    Man with ‘hoax device’ frays nerves at Boston Marathon site: http://rtvote.com/1gANfSa
    Commemorative ceremonies for the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing had just ended when police found two backpacks and a suspicious person, forcing them to evacuate the area. The man was lurking with a backpack near the Boylston Street finish line and was “acting peculiarly”. The Boston Police Department called in the bomb squad and blew up both backpacks as a precaution. Police also arrested the man, the owner of only one of the bags, who said the bag contained a rice cooker. The contents of the other bag are unknown. The man was arrested and charged with possession of a hoax device, disturbing the peace, and disorderly conduct.

    Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes: http://rtvote.com/Qpuue1
    A study published in a neuroscience journal found that recreation marijuana use (as in, using a few times a week) is “enough to physically alter crucial brain structures”. Since there is little research on the effects of casual marijuana smoking, this study shed some light on the subject. Hans Breiter, the leader of the study, analyzed the brains of 20 light marijuana users and 20 nonsmokers. The brains of the smokers began to change in two major areas- the areas linked with emotion, motivation, and mental illnesses. The study parallels with the study of Staci Gruber, who focused on a batch of heavier marijuana smokers but found similar results. She said that the studies show that marijuana “is not quite the benign substance people thought it was.”


    Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital: http://rtvote.com/P5h4TE

    Paul Walker’s brothers to complete Fast & Furious 7 scenes: http://rtvote.com/1qJx0sP

    After a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, Valerie Harper says she is cancer-free! http://rtvote.com/1qJy3Ji

    Pharrell sheds tears with Oprah: watch the video! http://rtvote.com/1gGITfR

    Get the inside scoop on how Mila stays fit and healthy during her pregnancy: http://rtvote.com/1qJF0tD

    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: Friday, January 31, 2014

    Friday, January 31st, 2014

    Amanda Knox is convicted of murder in an Italian court…again; U.S. is seeking the death penalty against the Boston Marathon Bombings suspect; and Ukraine’s president signs an amnesty agreement after protests become extremely violent and deadly. Meanwhile, one of the NYC Real Housewives gets a divorce; The Amazing Spider-Man 2 teaser trailer is released; and Miley gives some advice to Bieber on getting in trouble.

    - Maura 


    Amanda Knox: ‘I Will Never Willingly Go Back’, http://rtvote.com/1dSsHCb
    After 11 hours of deliberation, Italian jurors came down with a guilty verdict for American Amanda Knox (26 years old) and Italian born Raffaele Sollecito (29 years old), for the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007. This is the fourth ruling in the case and the second time that the court has decided to convict them of murder. In an emotional interview Friday, Knox said that she did not expect the verdict and vowed that she would never “willingly go back” to Italy.

    U.S. Is Seeking Death Penalty in Boston Case, http://rtvote.com/1hXDNdD
    On Thursday The Justice Department announced that it would seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tzarnaev, the man accused of killing and maiming participants and spectators at the Boston Marathon last April. Citing that Tsarnaev showed no remorse for the attacks and that the youngest victim was 8 years-old, prosecutors argued that the death penalty was warranted.

    Dow Tumbles: Stock Roller Coaster in Dive Mode, http://rtvote.com/1iTViPx
    New worries about the economy emerge as stocks fall sharply on Wall Street wrapping up the month of January. For the first time since 2010 the S&P 500’s might close in the negatives—a poor start that history says could be a bad omen for the rest of the year. When the first month of the year is negative the chances of finishing the full year in the plus column drop to 50-50 according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac. I guess only time will tell!

    Ukraine Activist Says He was Abducted and Tortured, http://rtvote.com/LhRbhj
    After Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a trade deal in November with the EU in favor of closer economic ties with Russia, protests against the president spilled into the streets. But, since January 22, protests have turned violent with at least 3 protesters and 3 police officers dead and a leading Ukraine activist who says he was abducted, tortured, and left to die in the cold. Today, President Yanukovych has signed an amnesty for protestors and the repeal of harsh anti-protest-laws.


    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Super Bowl Teaser Trailer, http://rtvote.com/1bdTVqc

    Zac Efron Was on a Six-Week Liquid Food Diet After Breaking His Jaw, http://rtvote.com/1edNlTp

    Ramona Singer Slams Jill Zarin: She’s Using My Divorce to “Try to Make Herself Relevant”, http://rtvote.com/1aMSkKi

    Miley Cyrus Gives Justin Bieber Advice: “Pay People to Make Sure You Don’t Get In Trouble”, http://rtvote.com/1kkXtd5

    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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

    News Round-Up: July 11, 2013

    Thursday, July 11th, 2013

    Judge in the Zimmerman case holds hearing to decide if jurors should consider lesser charges; Mohamed Morsi is still in an unknown location; Pope Francis responds to UN on child abuse; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleads not guilty in Boston Marathon bombings; missing people presumed dead in Canada train crash; and House Republicans are resistant to immigrating reform legislation. Meanwhile, the media is already setting up for Kate Middleton to give birth; Randy Travis is out of surgery; Adam Lambert does Glee; and John Mayer buys guitar for a fan.


    Judge Considers lesser charges in Zimmerman case
    , http://rtvote.com/12oNnB7
    This Thursday morning, state prosecutors are asking the judge in the Trayvon Martin murder case to instruct jurors to consider lesser charges, like aggravated assault or manslaughter, when they begin deliberations. Zimmerman is currently being tried for second-degree murder.  Zimmerman’s attorneys have objected and the judge is holding a hearing to decide.

    A week after the coup, Egyptians ask: ‘Where is Morsi?’, http://rtvote.com/18PImp4
    It has been one week and nobody knows where former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is located. Authorities promise he is in a “safe place” and have also issued warrants for hundreds of other Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters. The warrants target Senior Islamist officials accused of provoking the violence that led to the fatal shooting of more than 50 pro-Morsi demonstrators on Monday.
    Pope Expands Sex Abuse Laws in Response to U.N. Criticisms, http://rtvote.com/155qgKd
    Pope Francis is finally complying with the United Nation’s Commission for the Rights of the Child about the Vatican’s poor record on child abuse.  The Holy See was given until January to submit a detailed report to the United Nations that answers specific questions and hands over confidential files about the movement of “predatory priests” between dioceses.

    Boston bomb suspect pleads not guilty, http://rtvote.com/12oYzxB
    Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faced more than 2 dozen survivors of that attack Wednesday as he pleaded not guilty to killing four people and wounding more than 200. He is charged with 30 federal counts stemming from the April 15 attack.

    Body count rises in Canada train crash, http://rtvote.com/155um53

    The official death toll from Saturday’s train crash in Quebec has reached 50. On Wednesday evening officials said that 20 bodies were found in the area following a crash of a runway oil train in Canada’s deadliest railway tragedy in almost 150 years. Authorities informed grieving families that the dozens of people still missing are now presumed dead.


    Republicans in House Resist Overhaul for Immigration, http://rtvote.com/18PIrc6

    On Wednesday, House Republicans came down overwhelmingly against a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, putting in jeopardy the future of sweeping legislation that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.  Speaker Boehner warned about the consequences if they do nothing to answer the immigration measure passed by the Senate last month.

    Cameras Line Up Weeks Early at Kate Middleton’s Hospital, http://rtvote.com/155wiKV

    Randy Travis Out of Surgery, Remains in Critical Condition, http://rtvote.com/12p0zpx

    ‘Glee’: Adam Lambert to Appear in Season 5, http://rtvote.com/12p0O3S

    John Mayer Buys Guitar for Girl, Makes Her Biggest Fan Ever, http://rtvote.com/155xfmo

    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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

    News Round-Up: Friday, May 3rd, 2013

    Friday, May 3rd, 2013

    A massive fire causes hundreds to evacuate Southern California; unemployment drops to a 4-year low; Rhode Island legalizes same-sex marriage; the Tsarnaev brothers originally planned an attack on Fourth of July; the death toll from the Bangladesh factory collapse surpasses 500; and a rare snowstorm pounds Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. Meanwhile, 33 students are suspending after “twerking;” Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman dies; and Reese Witherspoon pleads no contest.

    Fleeing the flames in Southern California, http://rtvote.com/11HcDPk
    A massive fire on the Pacific Coast near Malibu has forced hundreds of residents to evacuate their Southern California homes.  ”I opened the door, and the whole mountain was on fire,” said Ventura County resident Paul Doebler, 80.  The brush fire has already burned 8,000 acres and damaged 15 homes.  Only 10% of it has been contained.

    Unemployment Drops to 4-Year Low, http://rtvote.com/Hjsai8
    The economy added 165,000 jobs in April, and unemployment has dropped to a 4-year low of 7.5%. The number of jobs added in March has also been revised up, totaling 138,000 for the month.  Economists say that, despite the good numbers, the economy is still slow.  400,00 jobs were added in the first two months of the year and since then, the growth has declined.

    Official: July Fourth celebration Boston bombers’ original target, http://rtvote.com/11HdsHS
    Dzokhar Tsarnaev told investigators Thursday that he and his brother, Tamerlan, had originally planned their bombings for Fourth of July.  However, they finished making their bombs early and as a result, chose to attack on New England’s Patriots’ Day.  Tamerlan’s body was returned to his family Thursday, causing outrage that it arrived at a funeral home 30 miles south of Boston.  His body will not be sent to Russia as Dagestan has refused to conduct his funeral.

    Prosecutor in Bhutto Killing and Mumbai Attacks Is Assassinated in Pakistan, http://rtvote.com/104PxWf
    Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali, the prosecutor for the murder of ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has been assassinated.  He was driving to work in an Islamabad suburb when assailants on motorcycles ambushed his car.  No one has claimed responsibility for the killing.  Former military chief Pervez Musharraf is being charged with Bhutto’s death.

    Death toll from Bangladesh building collapse rises above 500, http://rtvote.com/11Hewf6
    The death toll in the Bangladeshi factory collapse has surpassed 500.  On Thursday, Bangladesh’s Finance Minister Abud Maal Abdul Muhith said the event was “not really serious.” He added, “These are individual cases of … accidents…. It happens everywhere.”  Muhith insisted that the collapse would not adversely affect the country’s garment industry.  However, last month, Disney stopped manufacturing its apparel in Bangladesh, causing some to speculate that other companies could follow.

    Rare May snowstorm pounds Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, http://rtvote.com/107Bcme
    A rare May snowstorm hit Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa on Thursday.  Areas of Wisconsin received 18 inches of snow, while some parts of Minnesota received 15.  Both states have had snow in May before; however, this particular snowstorm hit the usually unaffected southern part of the states.  Three cities in Iowa broke their records for May snowfall, with 11 inches received in Algona and 10.5 inches received in two other towns.

    Attack on Syria village leaves ‘dozens dead,’ http://rtvote.com/11HgTyk
    Between 50 and 100 Syrians are estimated to be dead after Syrian government forces invaded the al-Baida village.  The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the number of casualties may have exceeded 100, and that many of the dead were executed by shooting or stabbed.  In what looks like bad news for diplomacy efforts, the United Nations–Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has chosen to resign his post.  On Thursday, President Obama said he is “looking at all options” regarding U.S. action in Syria.

    Rhode Island House passes bill legalizing same-sex marriage, 56 to 15, http://rtvote.com/18hUSeJ
    Rhode Island has become the tenth state to legalize gay marriage.  The House passed the measure with 56 votes in favor of the bill and afterwards, legislators broke into a rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”  The bill, which Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed, will allow same-sex marriages to begin August 1st.  Couples in civil unions will also be able to change their status to married. “At long last, you are free to marry the person you love,” Chafee said.
    33 students from Scripps Ranch High School suspended over ‘twerking’ video, http://rtvote.com/107CWvQ

    Founding Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman dies, http://rtvote.com/11HgRXp

    REESE WITHERSPOON PLEADS NO CONTEST …Hubby Pleads Guilty to DUI, http://rtvote.com/107DG4f

    Summer movie guide 2013, http://rtvote.com/18i1xWm

    Rolling Stones Charging $600 Per Seat, Tour Not Sold Out, http://rtvote.com/1050V4n

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    News Round-Up: Friday, April 19th, 2013

    Friday, April 19th, 2013

    More information about Chechen brothers Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev surfaces as they’re named the Boston marathon bombers; Boston is on lockdown after Tamerlan dies in a shootout and Dzokhar is still at large; Anzor Tsarnaev claims his sons are innocent; Chechnya’s president blames the suspects’ American upbringing for the Boston bombings; at least 35 are killed and 60 unaccounted for after the fertilizer-plant explosion in West, TX; The Boy Scouts may lift their ban on gay youth members; Pakistan police arrest ex-President Musharraf; and the United Nations calls Syria’s civil war a “humanitarian catastrophe.” Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts defies the lockdown and stays open in Watertown, MA; “Time” names its 100 most influential people; and Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries reach a divorce settlement.

    Boston Bombing Suspects: What We Know About the Tsarnaev Brothers, http://rtvote.com/11LeGDk
    A plethora of new information about the Boston marathon bombers, brothers named Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has surfaced after a police shootout with the suspects took place early this morning. Dzokhar is 19-years-old and attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he had received scholarship money, was on the wrestling team, and was described as a nice, normal guy with an active social life; many of his classmates told the media they couldn’t believe he would be a terrorist. The brothers, who are Chechen, may have been living in the U.S. for ten years, coming to the states from Kyrgyzstan. Reports show that Tamerlan, who was 26 and an avid boxer, had recently flown from JFK to Russia, where he stayed for six months. Both identified with Islam on their social media, with their uncle speculating that somebody may have radicalized them.

    Terror manhunt shuts down parts of Boston after shootings, chase, http://rtvote.com/11L9vTX
    After an early morning shootout between police and the Boston marathon bombers, parts of Boston is on complete lockdown. Tamerlan, the elder Tsarnaev brother, was killed in the shootout while officials believe Dzokhar is at large in the Watertown area of Boston. Before the shootout, the suspects shot and killed an MIT campus police officer, robbed a 7-11, and carjacked a Mercedes SUV before letting the driver go free. Tamerlan was found dead with an explosive device attached to him. There has been a no-fly zone issued over Watertown, and mass transit has been shutdown throughout the entire city. Residents have been strongly encouraged to stay indoors as officials continue to search for Dzokhar and potentially a third suspect.

    Boston Bomb Suspect’s Dad Tells Him to Surrender, Warns ‘ Hell Will Break Loose’ if Son Dies, http://rtvote.com/117LxRb
    Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the Boston marathon bombers, urged his younger son, Dzokhar, to “give up” and surrender himself to authorities.  He also maintained his sons’ innocence and threatened that if Dzokhar is killed by police, then “all hell will break loose.” Anzor said that he spoke to his sons on the phone this week after the bombings because he was worried about their safety.

    Report: As many as 35 killed in Texas plant explosionhttp://rtvote.com/17LIjrS
    As many as 35 people have been killed from a fertilizer-plant explosion in West, TX. Officials refuse to give an exact death toll as they are still searching through rubble for survivors. More than 160 were injured in the blast. Doctors have been treating mostly blast injuries instead of chemical ones. Police warned that the scene is still dangerous as ammonium nitrate is present in the air.

    On Instagram, Chechnya’s president criticizes America’s handling of the Boston manhunt, http://rtvote.com/11L6MtP
    Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov took to Instagram today to proclaim that the Chechen ethnicity of the Boston marathon bombers did not motivate their killings.  “Any attempt to link Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs, if indeed they are guilty, are futile,” he wrote. “They grew up in the USA, their viewpoints and beliefs were formed there. You must look for the roots of [their] evil in American.” Evan Kohlmann, an American terrorism consultant, furthered Kadyrov’s sentiments tweeting, “The official media arm of the Chechen mujahideen has rejected allegations that two Chechen men were responsible for the Boston Bombing.”

    Boy Scouts to consider lifting ban on openly gay youths, http://rtvote.com/XLgCeO
    In May, the National Council of The Boy Scouts will vote on allowing gay members in the organization as long as none of the adult leaders are openly homosexual. “Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” a report says.

    Pakistan police arrest ex-President Musharraf, http://rtvote.com/11Li558
    Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf was arrested and put under house arrest Thursday for his alleged dismissal of senior judges, including the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court. In two days, Musharraf will go to anti-terrorism court. “These allegations are politically motivated, and I will fight them in the trial court, where the truth will prevail,” Musharraf said.

    United Nations says Syria conflict a humanitarian catastrophe, http://rtvote.com/17LGKKp
    United Nations aid chief Valerie Amos has declared the civil war in Syria a “humanitarian catastrophe” as 22 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes and 1.3 million have fled to neighboring companies. The United Nations has not been able to take action in Syria as China and Russia, allies to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, have vetoed any plans that may jeopardize Assad’s government. “I do not have an answer for those Syrians I have spoken to who asked me why the world has abandoned them,” Amos said.

    According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, only one in four Americans are optimistic about the future of their finances. 46% of those surveyed said they approve of how President Obama is handling the economy, while 52% said they disapprove. Only 7% said they trust Washington to do the right thing “just about always,” while 66% said they trust the federal government “some of the time;” 11% said they never trust the federal government.

    60 Oklahoma Dental Patients Test Positive for Hepatitis, HIV, http://rtvote.com/XLmHaV
    At least 60 patients of Oklahoma dentist W. Scott Harrington have tested positive for HIV or hepatitis after a surprise investigation of the dentist’s facilities found used needles, dirty tools, and other unsanitary conditions. Over 7,000 people who have been treated by Harrington were notified of potential infection. So far 3,122 have been tested for HIV and hepatitis with 57 testing positive for hepatitis C, 3 for hepatitis B, and at least 1 for HIV.

    Time: The 100 Most Influential People in the World, http://time100.time.com/


    Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries finally reach settlement in divorce case, http://rtvote.com/XLk6hg

    Fame may ‘lead to a shorter life,’  http://rtvote.com/XLk8FN

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com