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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: Monday, April 14th, 2014

    Monday, April 14th, 2014

    The man responsible for yesterday’s shooting in Kansas has been arrested; a Utah mom has been arrested after authorities found seven dead babies in her garage; a bus blast in Nigeria kills over 70 people; and President Obama gives his opinion on voter ID laws. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio busts a move at Coachella; the top 5 moments from the MTV Movie Awards have been selected; and a college student’s mispronunciation costs him big time!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Police arrest ‘raging anti-Semite’ in Kansas Jewish center shootings: http://rtvote.com/Rikm7U
    Three people were shot and killed yesterday at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement community in Kansas. The shooter, Frazier Glenn Miller (or Frazier Glenn Cross) is in custody. Miller is a life-long anti-Semitist and both the founder and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan party called the Carolina Knights and the White Patriot Party. He also had an online presence and advocated for the killing of Jews. The 73-year-old perpetrator is being charged with premeditated first degree murder. The victims were an elderly woman at the retirement community and a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather. The boy, Reat Griffin Underwood, was going to the community center to audition for a singing competition. His grandfather, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, was driving him there.

    7 dead babies found in Utah mom’s garage: http://rtvote.com/1eqe14n
    The estranged husband of 39-year-old Megan Huntsman was cleaning out his garage when he found the remains of a baby. The police investigated and found the remains of six more, deposited in cardboard boxes. The children had been born between 1996 and 2006. However, no one knew Huntsman was pregnant, despite living with three daughters. The husband also appeared to not know anything about the killings and is not a person of interest. Neighbors never suspected anything, allowing Huntsman to babysit their children and describing her and her family as an average family. One neighbor said “We enjoyed having them as a neighbor. This has just blown us away.” Huntsman is being charged with six counts of murder.

    Nigeria violence: More than 70 killed in Abuja bus blast: http://rtvote.com/1iNlIgW
    A massive explosion occurred at a bus station on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, as passengers began to board busses and taxis to get to their jobs in the city. Authorities believe that the attack was carried out by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group. It has staged attacks in Abuja before, but most of its attacks have been in the northeastern part of the country, where poverty is rampant. The Abuja Emergency Relief Agency has confirmed that 71 people are dead and 124 are injured. More than 30 vehicles were destroyed and a 4-foot crater was left in the ground. The bomb is suspected to have been located in a vehicle. The police are on “red alert” and are increasing surveillance at possible targets. Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack; if they do, the Nigerian government worries that it means that the militants are expanding their areas of operation.

    Obama says voter rights threatened from ID laws: http://rtvote.com/1gwdxIQ
    On Friday, President Obama addressed voting rights in a speech to a rights group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton called the National Action Network. The president said that the right to vote is threatened by increased legislation making it difficult for people to vote, particularly through the voter ID requirement states are passing. The Justice Department has sued both Texas and North Carolina for their voter ID laws, saying that they are discriminatory towards people who don’t have ID’s, particularly minorities. The increase in voting laws are a direct consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Currently, a bipartisan measure is being passed through the House and Senate that would require states who want to change their voting laws to have their new laws approved by the federal government.

    CULTURAL

    Celeb Coachella sightings! http://rtvote.com/1iND11p

    Watch Leonardo DiCaprio bust a move at Coachella: http://rtvote.com/1hO29nI

    The biggest televised epic fail ever…Wheel of Fortune-style: http://rtvote.com/1iOkFyH

    The top 5 moments from the MTV Movie Awards: http://rtvote.com/1t0OxP8

    The Red Carpet arrivals from the MTV Movie Awards: http://rtvote.com/P0zRPK

    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: Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Thursday, April 10th, 2014

    A possible norovirus outbreak cripples a cruise ship; an arrest warrant is out for the man responsible for a day care center crash; new details emerge on yesterday’s Pennsylvania high school stabbing; and healthcare enrollment reaches 7.5 million. Meanwhile, Naya Rivera and Big Sean split; Jimmy Fallon performs a Tom Petty classic with a special guest; and BREAKING NEWS: Stephen Colbert has been chosen to replace David Letterman as the host of The Late Show!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Stomach illness hits 83 on cruise ship; may be norovirus: http://rtvote.com/1qkWzAd
    Princess Cruises spokeswoman Karen Candy says that 66 passengers and 17 crewmembers on the Crown Princess cruise ship came down with a “quickly-spreading digestive bug.” All of the illnesses have been isolated in their cabins, and the ship has undergone extensive sanitation procedures. Princess Cruises believe that norovirus, a quickly-spreading stomach virus that is highly contagious, is the cause. Norovirus has plagued a few cruise ships over the past few months. Norovirus affects many people on land, but is more reported via cruise ships because heath officials from cruise lines track the disease. The close quarters on a cruise ship make it easy for the disease to spread.

    Authorities issue arrest warrant in deadly Florida day care center crash: http://rtvote.com/1lMZwrf
    On Thursday, police issued an arrest warrant for Robert Corchado. Authorities believe that his SUV hit another car and cashed it into a Florida day care center, killing one child and injuring 14 others. Corchado’s car was found abandoned after he fled the scene. Police also believe that Corchado was trying to flee the area when the accident occurred. The driver of the car that crashed into the day care center due to Corchado’s actions was not injured and remained at the scene.

    After PA school stabbing, authorities and community ask: ‘Why?’: http://rtvote.com/1sGqa9i
    Although new details about yesterday’s school stabbing in Murrysville near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have emerged, authorities are still trying to determine a motive. The perpetrator, 16-year-old Alex Hribal, has been described as “quiet” and “having few friends,” but was also thought to be a “really nice kid.” Murrysville Police Chief Tom Seefeld believes that the stabbing was a random act of violence since, at this point, no one was known to be targeted. Hribal also is stated to come from a good, solid, normal family with no history of abuse or violence. Hribal is being charged with four counts of attempted murder and 21 counts of aggravated assault and is being held without bail. Four of the 21 people injured were injured seriously; one of the four’s injuries are so grave that he or she is not expected to survive.

    UConn sorority suspended for alleged hazing: http://rtvote.com/1edNkQd
    The University of Connecticut chapter of the Delta Zeta sorority has been put under an interim suspension after reports of hazing reached school officials. Among other things, members of the sorority have been accused of forcing men in a UConn fraternity to “consume alcohol and eat dog treats,” according to the reports in The Hartford Courant, a local newspaper. Both the national and UConn chapters of Delta Zeta have not commented on the alleged offences, which occurred in a UConn residence hall. This is the third Greek organization to be suspended over the last few months for hazing reports.

    Health exchange enrollment reaches 7.5 million: http://rtvote.com/1iy56JT
    As of Thursday, 7.5 million people have enrolled for health insurance. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Senate panel Thursday that since last week, 400,000 additional people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act. 11.7 million people have also been found to be eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The official closure of enrollment was on March 31st, but enrollment continues because thousands of people had started the enrollment process but hadn’t been able to finish enrolling by the deadline.

    CULTURAL

    No more wedding bells for Big Sean and Naya Rivera: http://rtvote.com/1kNZiyN

    Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique might be the next X-Men spinoff: http://rtvote.com/1lTaHkK

    Jimmy Fallon (aka Tom Petty) and Stevie Nicks perform a classic: http://rtvote.com/1lN7ErN

    DEVELOPING: David Letterman to be replaced by… Stephen Colbert! http://rtvote.com/1iAIvxv

    Kendall and Kylie Jenner react to a prank gone wrong! http://rtvote.com/1hllwsR

    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: Thursday, February 20, 2014

    Thursday, February 20th, 2014

    Ukrainian protest deaths climb to 100; DC to push voting rights for congressional representatives; and the death penalty could be the end result for a child kidnapper and murderer. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio talks about marriage; celebrities duke it out by playing charades; and Lorde talks about her fashion icons.

    - Veronica + Maura


    CRUCIAL

    Truce crumbles amid gunfire in Ukraine; protesters claim 100 dead: http://rtvote.com/1glfTaw
    The truce reached between Ukrainian protesters and their government has fallen apart after another 100 protesters were killed on Thursday. Another 500 were injured. The government has not released its casualty figures, but reports state that 25 police officers have been injured. A doctor who had volunteered to help the wounded protesters believes that the government has been using snipers to target protesters. Ukrainian athletes at the Sochi Olympics wore black bands and held a moment of silence to mourn the fallen.

    DC to push voting rights support in New Hampshire: http://rtvote.com/1eaLppd
    Washington DC councilmember David Catania will travel to New Hampshire to plead his case before a committee from the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Catania plans to get New Hampshire congressmen and women to support voting rights for DC congressional representatives. This would give full congressional representation to the district. The executive director of DC Vote will also testify.

    Homeland Security alerts airlines to possible shoe-bomb threat: http://rtvote.com/MeFqsA
    Homeland Security officials believe that there is a credible threat to passenger jet attacks through use of shoe-bombs. Airlines will now pay even closer attention to shoes of passengers, including “explosive trace detection swabs” to check for explosive material, particularly on flights headed to the United States. Although there is no specific attack planned, nor are the threats particular to any country or airline, Homeland Security believes that there is enough of a threat that travelers should be warned of extra screenings.

    Suspect in killing of MO girl could face death penalty: http://rtvote.com/1oWnpPp
    45-year-old middle school employee Craig Michael Wood has been accused with kidnapping, armed criminal action, and murdering 10-year-old Hailey Owens. Wood was tracked by the help of witnesses and brought to police for questioning. After obtaining a search warrant, authorities found Owens’s body at Wood’s home. Wood may face the death penalty at his trial.

    2 Americans found dead on “Captain Phillips” ship: http://rtvote.com/OeDIt4
    American security officers Mark Kennedy and Jeffrey Reynolds have been found dead on the Maersk Alabama container ship. Both men worked for a Virginia-based security firm. The cause of death for both men is unknown at this time, and a police investigation is ongoing. The Maersk Alabama gained notoriety after being targeted by Somali pirates in 2009; the movie Captain Phillips is named after it.

    CULTURAL 

    That 70s Show star is a dad! http://rtvote.com/OeFMBj

    Celebrity charades showdown on The Tonight Show: http://rtvote.com/1fCrws9

    It’s here! See the Bonnaroo 2014 music festival lineup: http://rtvote.com/1gloSsm

    Leonardo DiCaprio talks marriage: http://rtvote.com/1glpmOZ

    Who are Lorde’s fashion icons? http://rtvote.com/1mehym2

    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