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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

     CRUCIAL

    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.”

    CULTURAL

    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: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

    The U.S. Senate sheds new light on the attack in Benghazi; new details are released in the New Mexico middle school shooting; and Governor Chris Christie of NJ addresses “Bridgegate” in his State of the State address. Meanwhile, 2014 gets off to a rocky start for Justin Bieber and Kanye West after two high-profile incidents.

    Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Senate report: Attack on U.S. compound in Benghazi could have been prevented: http://rtvote.com/1j7nle7
    The bipartisan report on the 2012 attack on the United States compound in Benghazi, Libya shows that the State Department was warned about the potential for attack but did not increase security around the compound. The report also blames intelligence agencies for not discussing CIA outpost locations within the U.S. military. However, the report does not discuss in depth whether the Obama administration downplayed the attacks, saying that no one knew when the attacks were to occur.

    Shooter may have warned some students: http://rtvote.com/1b39JIV
    The 12-year-old suspect accused of opening fire in a New Mexico middle school’s gymnasium yesterday morning may have warned certain students against coming to school early. This discovery is currently being investigated by police, along with other claims. So far, police have not been able to determine a motive for the shooting; however, the shooter is in custody. Two students were injured in the attack.

    Can Christie change the subject? http://rtvote.com/Kj1Nfm
    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered his State of the State address yesterday. He acknowledged the mistakes his administration has made recently in regards to the closing of bridge lanes on the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee (dubbed “Bridgegate”). After apologizing, Christie tried to change the subject to focus on more pressing policy issues in the state. However, many people believe that Christie’s reputation is now too tarnished to allow a potential presidential bid in 2016.

    CBS airs video of chaotic scene at Asiana crash site: http://rtvote.com/1hqMYnc
    CBS has recently released video footage of firefighters and emergency personnel tending to survivors and the wreckage of the Asiana plane crash. The crash occurred last summer at San Francisco airport. The story received national attention not only due to the crash, but also because of the death of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan, who survived the crash but was struck and killed by a fire truck at the scene.

    Va. Democrat Jim Moran to retire from Congress: http://rtvote.com/1eDrVLC
    After serving twelve Congressional terms, Representative Jim Moran will not run for re-election.  Moran, an occasionally combative and passionate member of Congress, represents Virginia’s 8th District. His retirement could potentially create a heated primary election because of the 8th District’s reputation as being a Democratic stronghold.

    CULTURAL 

    Police raid Justin Bieber’s house after incident: http://rtvote.com/1m7g7nA 

    Are Johnny Depp and girlfriend Amber Heard engaged? http://rtvote.com/K2E17V

    How Harry Connick Jr. can save American Idol: http://rtvote.com/1m7gs9M

    Kanye West allegedly assaults a young man: http://rtvote.com/1aoR914 

    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, December 18, 2013

    Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

    Hundreds are announced dead in South Sudan violence; two people have won the Mega Millions jackpot; and a retired Microsoft executive is set to oversee healthcare.gov. Meanwhile, Christina and Gaga perform together as The Voice crowns a new champion (spoiler alert!); Pippa Middleton is engaged (sorry guys!); and Jonah Hill talks about working with DiCaprio inThe Wolf of Wall Street.

    -Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Jackpot grows: Two winners to split $648Mhttp://rtvote.com/1bQc2l7
    Well it looks like the hope of winning the big bucks are over for most of us. Two winners have been identified: one in San Jose, California and one in Atlanta, Georgia. The winners will be splitting the second-largest jackpot of all time with the odds of winning at 1 in 259 million. The Virginia Lottery Executive Director said that this 22-drawing run generated more than $300 million in profits for programs in the states that participate. In case you missed the numbers, here they are: 8, 20, 14, 17, 39 and 7 (Mega Ball).

    Kurt DelBene, former Microsoft executive, will take over HealthCare.gov,http://rtvote.com/1fENQ6S
    President Obama continues to seek advice from high-tech executives in response to the rocky roll-out of healthcare.gov. The administration announced Tuesday that Kurt DelBene who recently retired from Microsoft, will serve as an unpaid senior advisor on the website. This is a response to the concerns of several lawmakers that the administration needed outside experts in order to overcome the difficulties of the launch. Many people have given a positive endorsement of DelBene, including Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.

    UN Told up to 500 killed in South Sudan clashes: diplomats, http://rtvote.com/1eowHkI
    For the second day in a row, violence has rippled through South Sudan. Local sources and diplomats reported an estimate of 800 wounded and 400-500 killed, though the numbers have not been officially confirmed. The government in the capitol of Juba announced that they captured 10 major political figures and are searching for its former vice president who they believe led this failed coup. Despite its rich oil reserves, South Sudan remains one of the poorest & least developed countries in Africa. The U.S. is urging its citizens to leave the country and will proceed to suspend normal operations at the embassy.

    Senate Asks C.I.A. to Share Its Report on Interrogationshttp://rtvote.com/19SRe9i
    The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested one of the C.I.A.’s internal studies regarding U.S. interrogations. Last year, the C.I.A. completed a report about the interrogation program that was one of the most controversial policies of the post-Septemer 11th era. The Senate report totaled more than 6,000 pages and has yet to be declassified. Those who have read the study disclose that the report does not hold back on criticism of the now-defunct interrogation program whose brutal methods led to little valuable intelligence.

    Obama, Biden, Top U.S. Officials To Stay Away From Sochi Olympics,http://rtvote.com/18RsvlI
    The 2014 Winter Olympics games will be held in Sochi, Russia, but with no representation from top United States officials. Instead, a former federal official, Janet Napolitano will be leading the U.S. delegation, along with two LGBT athletes—Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow. This announcement comes just two months before the opening ceremony and is a signal of U.S. disagreement with Russia’s anti-LGBT laws among other human rights concerns.

    CULTURAL

    Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco Welcomes a Baby Boy, http://rtvote.com/1cbn4nK

    Pippa Middleton Engaged to Boyfriend Nico Jackson, http://rtvote.com/19SDHPl

    Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga Perform on The Voice, Effectively Putting Feud Rumors to Rest,http://rtvote.com/1fmOsgw

    Jonah Hill Talks Making Leonardo DiCaprio Throw Up and Why Loving Leo Made The Wolf of Wall Street Better, http://rtvote.com/1i1u8ph

    The 9 Brand New Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, http://rtvote.com/1i1uCvy

    Maura
    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: November 26, 2013

    Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

    The Supreme Court will hear Hobby Lobby’s case that challenges Obamacare’s birth control coverage requirement; Hollywood partakes in animal cruelty; and the CIA has turned Guantanamo Bay prisoners into double agents. Meanwhile, Seth Rogen and James Franco make a painfully funny spoof of Kim and Kanye’s “Bound 2” video, and Kendall Jenner puts some Harry Styles rumors to rest.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Supreme Court to take up Obamacare contraception casehttp://rtvote.com/1aVZJTO
    The Supreme Court has accepted an Obamacare law appeal over contraception coverage. The court justices will review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay. The issue of focus is whether private companies and non-profits can refuse this, based on the claim that it violates their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby, Inc. is one of the plaintiffs.

    ‘Pretty Woman’ producer says he was Israeli spyhttp://rtvote.com/1bl239I
    The Israeli-born producer behind Hollywood hits, like Pretty WomanFight Club, and L.A. Confidential, has revealed that he used to serve as an Israeli spy for years. Arnon Milchan said he helped buy technologies and arms on Israel’s behalf to operate nuclear bombs. The producer also said other big Hollywood names were connected to his covert affairs.

    Sandy Hook killer took motive to his gravehttp://rtvote.com/194lkGA
    Connecticut authorities have released a 44-page summary of their investigation on Adam Lanza – the shooter behind Newton’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza’s motive behind the atrocious crime remains a mystery, and he gave “no clear indication” that he planned the Sandy Hook killings. Lanza’s mental illness, reclusion, and obsession with school shootings are detailed in the report.

    Animals Were Harmed: Hollywood’s Nightmare of Death, Injury, and Secrecy Exposed,http://rtvote.com/1exhrP2
    Too many Hollywood films and television shows, including Life of PiThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, HBO’sLuck, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (the list goes on), have caused the brutal injuries and deaths of animals on set. The “No Animals Were Harmed” trademark accreditation in the ending credits means nothing anymore. It’s time to own up to animal cruelty, Hollywood… and it’s time for us to stop it.

    Penny Lane: Gitmo’s other secret CIA facilityhttp://rtvote.com/1hfZdVQ
    After 9/11, the CIA made double agents out of some Guantanamo Bay prisoners. They trained them and sent them home to help the U.S. kill former and current terrorists. The prisoners/double agents were promised freedom, the safety of their families, and some very hefty bags of money from the CIA’s secret accounts. The program was carried out in a secret facility, nicknamed Penny Lane, located yards away from the Guantanamo Bay prison. This has some heavy-duty controversy written all over it.

     

    CULTURAL

    Kim Kardashian Thinks Seth Rogen and James Franco’s “Bound 2” Parody Is…, http://rtvote.com/17QURPH

    Demi Lovato: “I Would Rather Sacrifice My Privacy to Help People,” http://rtvote.com/1bSyasn

    Kendall Jenner Breaks Her Silence About Harry Styles Dating Rumors: “We’re Friends,” http://rtvote.com/Il8pd3

    Kristen Bell Had to Make “Pretend Love” to Her Best Friend’s Husband Hours After Getting Married,http://rtvote.com/Il97Hu

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Thursday, September 12th, 2013

    Vladimir Putin writes NY Times Op-ed; CIA delivers weapons to Syrian rebels; Colorado flash floods kill 2 people; and a secret Koch brother’s group is revealed to the public. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks has jury duty issues; Lady Gaga talks Miley; JT and Jessica Biel caught smooching; and Prince William leaves the military to be full-time royal.

    -Maura

    CRUCIAL

    U.S weapons reaching Syrian rebels, http://rtvote.com/17Z1gG3
    A flow of materials from the U.S. to Syrian rebels now marks what is being viewed as a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war. The CIA began delivering weapons to rebels ending months of delay in lethal aid promised by the Obama Administration. Other types of aid that includes vehicles, communications equipment, and advanced combat medical kits are also being delivered.

    Vladimir Putin’s comments on American exceptionalism, Syria cause fusshttp://rtvote.com/17Z2jpq
    Vladimir Putin has caught the attention of Americans by writing an opinion piece in today’s New York Times op-ed column, causing a flurry of reactions. Putin says he wrote the article to “speak directly to American people and their political leaders.”

    Flash floods wash away homes, kill at least 2 near Boulder Colorado, http://rtvote.com/17Z3Fk3
    Torrential rains caused at least 2 deaths Thursday in Boulder, Colorado. The National Weather Service described the conditions as “life threatening” in an emergency message issued just after midnight local time for areas around Boulder where 6.5 inches of rain fell in the last 24 hours.

    Exclusive: The Koch brothers’ secret bank, http://rtvote.com/17Z4p8R
    An Arlington, Virginia based conservative group called Freedom Partners, that raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape the political and policy debate nationwide, has been revealed. The group served as an outlet for the ideas and funds of the mysterious Koch brothers, cutting checks as large as $63 million to groups promoting conservative causes, according to an IRS document to be filed shortly.

    CULTURAL

    Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Share Rare PDA at U.S. Open, http://rtvote.com/15mUaMX

    Lady Gaga Talks Miley Cyrus at the VMAs On ‘WWHL’: ‘Lighten Up and Leave Her Alone’, http://rtvote.com/15mS3Jh

    ‘Breaking Bad’ Spinoff: ‘Better Call Saul’ Prequel Happening at AMC, http://rtvote.com/15mT1VU

    Prince William to Leave the Military and Become Full-Time Royal, http://rtvote.com/17YWSH5

    Tom Hanks’ jury duty service leads to misconduct allegation, http://rtvote.com/17Z0Tv6

    Maura
    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