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    News Round-Up: November 15, 2013

    Friday, November 15th, 2013

    San Francisco turns into Gotham City for a day; Toronto’s city council strips notorious mayor, Rob Ford, of some power after another public embarrassment; and one of the largest child pornography schemes has been busted. Meanwhile, Chris Breezy is out of rehab, and RiRi and Drake drop $17,000 at a strip club together.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    San Francisco transforms into Gotham to make 5-year-old’s wish to be Batkid come true,http://rtvote.com/HXc0ht
    San Francisco is no more. The City by the Bay is officially Gotham City… at least for today. The city-wide transformation is all for Miles, a five-year-old who has successfully battled leukemia since he was only a year old. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the power of social media, Miles’s dreams will come true as he fights villains alongside Batman as “Batkid”. Thanks for keeping Gotham City safe, Batkid!

    Toronto’s City Council votes to strip embattled mayor of some powerhttp://rtvote.com/1bAbMHq
    Toronto mayor Rob Ford just can’t help himself. After adding to his list of missteps with some very vulgar comments about oral sex on live Canadian television, Toronto’s city council decided Friday to strip Ford of his ability to appoint and dismiss his senior staff. Even though his power on the political stage is shrinking, don’t expect to see any less of him. Mayor Ford and his brother, Doug, will begin their new “Ford Nation” television show on Monday (No, I’m not kidding. I wish I was.).

    Woman sells wedding ring for tickets to Chiefs-Broncos gamehttp://rtvote.com/1dyLTqX
    A woman found a buyer on Craigslist who traded his football game tickets for her wedding ring. Don’t stress – she claims the ring was from a previous marriage. The buyer will be using his new ring to propose to his girlfriend this Sunday. Smart trade, guys. The ex-wife gets to see some men with tight butts play a good game of football, and Mr. Buyer gets a happy fiancée. What could be better?

    Canada Says 386 Kids Rescued in Child Porn Busthttp://rtvote.com/HQpZor
    Canadian police have released the details on one of the largest child porn busts they’ve seen to date. The investigation, dubbed the Project Spade operation, has led to the rescue of 386 children around the world and the arrest of 348 people. 108 of those arrests were made in Canada, and 76 in the United States. The remaining arrests were made in other countries. Amongst the perpetrators were school teachers, doctors, and actors.

    China easing 1-child policy amid elderly bloomhttp://rtvote.com/1j9xH99
    The ruling Communist Party of China has said they will loosen its decades-old one-child policy. Labor camps, which are currently used by local officials to deal with people who challenge their authority on issues including land rights and corruption, will also be abolished.

     

    CULTURAL

    R&B singer Chris Brown out of rehab, working on community service requirement,http://rtvote.com/HULoNE

    Adam Levine Plays Coy About People’s Sexiest Man Alive Rumor, Reveals Wedding Details onTodayhttp://rtvote.com/17yAvwH

    Rihanna and Drake Drop More Than $17,000 Together at Strip Club in Houston: Exclusive Details,http://rtvote.com/1aXNHfa

    Pregnant Megan Fox Covers Baby Bump During Lunch Outing With Hubby Brian Austin Green,http://rtvote.com/18ACSdl

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: October 30, 2013

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologizes at a hearing; retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiates a gay marriage ceremony; and a wine shortage hits the world (oh, say it ain’t so). Meanwhile, Chris Brown returns to rehab, and Ashton Kutcher expands his ever-growing resumé with Lenovo.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Health chief Sebelius apologizes for botched websitehttp://rtvote.com/1gciabr
    At today’s hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, formally apologized for the technical problems Healthcare.gov has been experiencing. More Republicans are calling for her resignation, and the panel intensely scrutinized Sebelius and the sub par performance of the healthcare website. The Obama administration has vowed to fix these issues by the end of November.

    After Retired Justice O’Connor Performs Their Wedding, Gay Couple Celebrates “Wonderful Day”,http://rtvote.com/1gcl146
    Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated the wedding of Jeff Trammell and Stuart Serkin. She is the second official of the High Court to have officiated a gay marriage ceremony; the first was current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Once considered a conservative justice, O’Connor was nominated to the bench by President Reagan and retired in 2006.

    Thirsty? There’s a global wine shortagehttp://rtvote.com/1h0vXmS
    Brace yourselves. There’s a wine shortage in the world. Global production fell by more than 5% last year, the lowest it’s been since the 1960s, while demand continues to increase. The main cause for the decrease in production was bad weather in France and Argentina. The French consume the most wine, followed by Americans and then the Chinese. Although the U.S. wine making industry is growing, don’t expect global wine production to improve anytime soon.

    Brazilian Footballer’s Decapitated Head Reportedly Sent to Wife by Drug Lordshttp://rtvote.com/1gcpnZ6
    Former pro Brazilian soccer player Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos was kidnapped and decapitated by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro. His head was sent to his wife’s residence on the morning of October 29. Police are unsure why Santos was targeted. Brazilian soccer is often linked to gang activity.

    Baylor students seek to remove gay ban from student codehttp://rtvote.com/1h0AMfN
    The student senate of Baylor University, a private Baptist school, voted to propose that university officials remove “homosexual acts” from the school’s sexual misconduct code. The proposal will go on to the Baylor University Board of Regents for review. Seems like a win for progress and equality? Not quite. One Baylor student says this rewording does not mean they are advocating homosexuality; they are simply not pinpointing homosexuals anymore: “It is saying homosexual acts are wrong but heterosexual acts committed outside of marriage are also wrong.”
     

    PUNDITS

    Joanne Bamberger discusses how certain voting models are compromising the rights of married or divorced women in “Voter ID laws threaten women’s rights,” http://rtvote.com/1gcv2hO

    Sally Kohn explains why losing your current healthcare plan under Obamacare is not something to cry over in “A canceled health plan is a good thing,” http://rtvote.com/1f482P4

     
    CULTURAL

    Chris Brown Kisses Karrueche Tran Before Heading to Rehab, http://rtvote.com/1f48cWG

    Kristin Cavallari Pregnant with Baby No. 2, http://rtvote.com/1h0PUtI

    Former Full House Child Star Blake McIver Now a Sexy Go-Go Dancer, http://rtvote.com/1h0Qec0

    Ashton Kutcher Hired as a Product Engineer to Help Design Tablets for Lenovo, http://rtvote.com/1f48Lj7

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: October 28, 2013

    Monday, October 28th, 2013

    President Obama halts NSA programs that have been targeting 35 world leaders; Dr. Conrad Murray is released from prison, after serving two years for his role in the death of the King of Pop; and the NY mayoral debate is postponed out of respect for the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, Chris Breezy gets arrested in DC, and Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr call it splits.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Report: President Obama unaware of spyinghttp://rtvote.com/1eZvWv1
    The NSA has been monitoring the communications of 35 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for years. The White House was previously unaware of this, but upon discovery during an internal review of NSA programs this summer, President Obama halted these operations immediately. European allies are upset by the news, and German intelligence officials have been sent to the U.S. for discussions.

    Conrad Murray’s jail time for killing Michael Jackson ends Mondayhttp://rtvote.com/19MRYz4
    Dr. Conrad Murray, the man charged for involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s death, is set to become a free man today after serving only two years of a four-year sentence. He is being let out early because of California prison rules that give an additional day credit for each day served. In 2011, a jury concluded that Dr. Murray’s negligence led to the death of the King of Pop, specifically from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol.

    Mayoral debate rescheduled to avoid Sandy anniversaryhttp://rtvote.com/19MVc5G
    The Campaign Finance Board has rescheduled New York’s mayoral debate from Tuesday to Wednesday so that it would not conflict with the first anniversary date of Hurricane Sandy. Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota both pushed for the move, saying that Tuesday “should be marked with solemn reflection.”

    N.D. town OKs building ban to deter Aryan enclavehttp://rtvote.com/1eZAr8G
    In Leith, North Dakota, a Canadian hate crimes fugitive has bought a home and twelve other lots. Craig Cobb, the neo-Nazi extremist, has invited all who hold white power views to join him in taking control of the small town. City officials have placed a moratorium on any new construction and are currently working on an ordinance that will require Cobb to install water and sewer services in his home; Cobb feels unfairly targeted by these actions.

    Was Beijing crash a planned attack?http://rtvote.com/1gVmU6G
    A Jeep plowed through pedestrians and policemen Monday, crashing in front of the Tiananmen Gate. Three of the car occupants and two bystanders died in the incident. An official investigation is underway, and it is not clear whether the crash was deliberate or accidental. Tiananmen Square has historically been the political heart of China, as evidenced by the infamous 1989 democracy protests.
     

    PUNDITS

    Robert Young voices his concerns on the bad decisions federal and state governments continue to make in the post-Hurricane Sandy effort in “Sandy, a year later, mistakes still made,” http://rtvote.com/1g6XHVs

    Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland discuss how the U.S. needs to do more to fix its drone program in “Did Obama keep his drone promises?” http://rtvote.com/1g6YGoC

    CULTURAL

    Chris Brown Arrested for Felony Assault Outside W Hotel in D.C., http://rtvote.com/19N0P3V

    Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr Split Up, http://rtvote.com/1g6Z1aI

    Alfonso Ribeiro, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Star, Welcomes Son Alfonso Lincoln, Jr., http://rtvote.com/19N1an7

    David Beckham Gets in Car Crash in Front of His Home, http://rtvote.com/1gVq9Lk

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Monday, April 8, 2013

    Monday, April 8th, 2013

    In today’s news, the U.S. plans a potential response to North Korea’s aggressive provocations, Margaret Thatcher dies at 87, and six Americans are killed in the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan this year, Meanwhile, Chris Brown and Rihanna call it quits, Jay-Z and Beyonce are criticized for vacationing in Cuba, and ACM award winners celebrate victories.

    Caitlin + Liza

    CRUCIAL: 

    U.S. Designs a Korea Response Proportional to the Provocation, http://nyti.ms/ZcORZU
    The United States and South Korea have prepared “counterprovokation plans” to respond to any attacks from North Korea in the most limited way possible so as to prevent escalation into a broader war. Officials say the plan would call for an immediate, proportional “response in kind” to hit North Korea with similar weapons in the event that North Korea makes good on its military threats. Tensions are still on the rise as North Korea has decided to cut off any cooperation with the South and continues to provoke the United States.

    Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female PM, dead at 87, http://bit.ly/11IMyS8
    Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the only woman ever to hold the position of Prime Minister in Great Britain, died after suffering a stroke Monday morning at the age of 87. Thatcher gained the position of Prime Minister in 1979, leading for 11 years with a signature fierceness that gained her the nickname “The Iron Lady.” A stroke prompted Thatcher to retire from public life in 2002, and she had maintained a low profile in recent years as she continued to suffer strokes.

    Public phase of immigration debate set to begin as Senate negotiators finalize deal, http://wapo.st/16Hygk6
    The Senate’s “Gang of Eight” who have been working on a highly anticipated immigration bill hope to finish their work this week, opening the measures to a heated public debate. The controversial bill includes provisions to secure the border, allow tens of thousands of foreign workers into the country, and grant eventual citizenship to around 11 million immigrants currently living illegally in the U.S. The “Gang of Eight” includes Democratic Senators led by Chuck Schumer of New York and Republicans led by Arizona’s John McCain. “There will be a great deal of unhappiness about this this proposal because everybody didn’t get what they wanted,” McCain said, alluding to the long road of debate the bill is likely to face.

    Six Americans, including three civilians, killed in attacks in Afghanistan, http://wapo.st/16FZycI
    Six Americans, including three civilians and three U.S. troops were killed in two attacks in Afghanistan on Saturday, marking the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan this year. The attacks highlighted the continued danger in Afghanistan as the U.S. moves forward with its plan to withdraw its remaining troops within the next 20 months and leave security in the hands of the Afghani army. Among those killed was Anne Smedinghoff, the first State Department diplomat to be killed in Afghanistan since the war began. Smedinghoff, 25, was traveling to deliver books to a school when a car bomb exploded.

    Kerry Said to Revive 2002 Arab Peace Plan During Israel Talks, http://bloom.bg/Y7iUpS
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel Monday with hopes of reviving stalled 2002 peace talks between Israel and Palestine. Kerry discussed with leaders of each nation the 2002 Arab League-endoresed plan, which called to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for withdrawal from all lands occupied by the 1967 Mideast War. Kerry met with President Abbas of Palestine, who said he will not negotiate until Israel stops construction in the West Bank. Kerry is currently making his third trip to the region this month.

    China rebukes North Korea, says no state should sow chaos, http://reut.rs/10FycR5
    China’s president issued warnings this weekend to North Korea, scolding its regional neighbor for raising regional tensions with threats of nuclear attack on the U.S. and war against South Korea. “No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain,” President Xi Jinping said. The comments were China’s strongest response yet to the threats of aggression from North Korea that have marked the past month. China, North Korea’s sole financial and diplomatic backer, has expressed frustration with the nation’s positions in recent years.

    CULTURAL: 

    Chris Brown and Rihanna Call it Quits, Says Source, http://eonli.ne/XzwUJD

    Jay-Z, Beyonce Taking Heat for Cuba Trip, http://eonli.ne/Y891nF

    Kardashians Sue Former Stepmom, http://thebea.st/ZcBSay

    ACM Awards 2013: See the Winners Here, http://bit.ly/14YUrX1

    Liza Dee
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Monday, April 1, 2013

    Monday, April 1st, 2013

    Prosecutors announce they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, South Korea promises it will respond if North Korea follows through on threats to launch an attack, and Caroline Kennedy will be named U.S. ambassador to Japan. Meanwhile, the star of MTV’s “Buckwild” has been found dead, Chris Brown confesses that beating women is wrong on “The Today Show,” and Cory Monteith checks into rehab.

    Caitlin + Liza

    CRUCIAL: 

    Prosecutors will seek death penalty against ‘Dark Knight’ theater massacre suspect, http://bit.ly/10swxvI
    Prosecutors will pursue the death penalty for James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 and injuring 70 when he opened fire at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in July. The announcement came at a court hearing days after the prosecution team publicly rejected Holmes’ lawyers’ offer to have him plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence rather than the death penalty. Holmes’ defense team is expected to argue that Holmes was legally insane at the time he carried out the attack. A final verdict on the case could still be years away, a district judge said.

    South Korea Vows Fast Response to North as U.S. Deploys Stealth Jets, http://nyti.ms/XTgyGM
    South Korea vowed on Monday that it is ready to strike quickly if North Korea carries out any attacks. North Korea had said that the two nations are “entering a state of war” in response to what it called “hostile” U.S. and South Korean joint military drills being and UN sanctions placed on North Korea for its February nuclear test. South Korea changed its engagement rules to allow local units to respond independently and immediately to any attacks without waiting for permission from the capital. North Korea continues to assert that nuclear war is imminent, though it has not yet taken any military action to follow through on these claims.

    Caroline Kennedy to Be Named Ambassador to Japan, http://abcn.ws/YO3HZE
    Caroline Kennedy is expected to be named the U.S. ambassador to Japan, replacing John Roos, who has served as the ambassador since 2009. The appointment of Kennedy, who is the only living child of President John F. Kennedy, has yet to be made official. Caroline Kennedy played a key role in President Obama’s reelection effort, campaigning for him in key states like New Hampshire. She is the author of ten books, and was once strongly considered as a successor to Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat.

    Killing of Texas district attorney, wife, seen as targeted, http://reut.rs/ZPGLZr
    A Texas district attorney, Mike McLelland, and his wife Cynthia were found dead on Saturday, just two months after fellow Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse was similarly gunned down. Mayor Darren Rozell of Forney, Texas acknowledged that the murder of a second prosecutor from the same county appeared to be a “planned attack,” and did not rule out a link between the two killings. Authorities have had yet to make any arrests in the murder of Hasse, and McLelland had vowed to bring his killer to justice.

    Keystone XL Spill Risk Troubles Nebraskans, Others Who Point to Previous Spills Like Mayflower, http://huff.to/XmhOqK
    The Keystone Pipeline controversy gained a boost on Friday when an Exxon Mobile pipeline exploded in Mayflower, Arkansas, releasing about 10,000 barrels of tar sands and forcing 40 families to evacuate. The incident fueled continuing protests by rural Nebraskans who oppose the construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which would be used to send tar sands oil from Canada through the American midwest to Gulf Coast ports through a 36 inch pipe. To American farmers, the Exxon Mobile spill appeared to be a preview of what might happen if the Keystone pipeline were to explode, endangering animals, crops, and water supply.

    CULTURAL: 

    ‘Buckwild’ Star Shain Gandee Found Dead, http://bit.ly/YWQfQ8

    Chris Brown on ‘Today’– I Finally Learned That Beating Women is Wrong, http://tmz.me/YqreQN

    Glee’s Cory Monteith Checks Into Rehab, http://eonli.ne/1264oNC

    Chace Crawford’s New Gal-Pal: 5 Things to Know About Rachele Goulding, http://eonli.ne/14J8ujk

    Liza Dee
    Bio:

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