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    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


    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.


    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: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

    Jimmy Fallon rocked The Tonight Show stage; Saudi Arabia appointed its first female editor-in-chief of a national newspaper; and Venezuela expels three U.S. diplomats. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon and Will Smith walk us through the evolution of hip hop dancing; new godmother, Kate Middleton, and Prince George attend a christening; and the U.S.A. wins the first ever gold medal in ice dancing.

    - Gianna + Maura



    First night a hit for ‘Tonight’ host Jimmy Fallon: http://rtvote.com/1e3Kp6b
    Last night, Jimmy Fallon transitioned from his hit show “Late Night” to NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and made a splash with viewers. Mr. Fallon proved once again that he’s a natural host and he excited the audience with his witty humor on topics like Sochi & hip hop. The “Tonight Show” made its first return to New York City in almost 40 years and that was the most exciting part of the evening. In the theme of celebration, Mr. Fallon introduced his parents to viewers and ended the show with a performance by U2.

    School’s Arab Mascot Draws Fire in California Valley That Prizes Dates: http://rtvote.com/1h0ulW4
    This past Friday, Riverside county in California held its National Date Festival, an annual tribute to a local industry that began in the Middle East. Riverside County has held the festival intermittently since 1921 and since the 1940s the county has decided to honor the history of the date and the culture of its Arabian origin. Unfortunately the festival sparked backlash from Coachella Valley High School’s Arab mascot. Although the mascot has been in existence since the 1930s, the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee has deemed the mascot a “gross stereotype” and the high school is currently seeking other mascot options as a result of the Committee’s petition.

    Saudi Arabia’s first female editor of national newspaper appointed:http://rtvote.com/1bhDJqj
    For the first time ever in Saudi history, a female journalist, Somayya Jabarti, was named editor-in-chief of a national newspaper. When reporters asked about her views on this historic appointment, Jabarti said, “There’s a crack that has been made in the glass ceiling. And I’m hoping it will be made into a door”. She continued by saying, “Being the first Saudi woman [editor-in-chief] is going to be double the responsibility … One’s actions will reflect upon my fellow Saudi women.”

    Oklahoma pharmacy won’t provide drug for Missouri execution:http://rtvote.com/1cljrdA
    The Apothecary Shoppe of Tulsa, according to court documents, will not provide drugs for use in the execution of Michael Taylor that is scheduled for this month. Michael Taylor currently sits on death row for the brutal rape, murder, and kidnapping of a southeast Kansas girl. In this court case, Taylor argued that in several recent executions in which the compounded pentobarbital was used, showed it would likely cause him “severe, unnecessary, lingering, and ultimately inhumane pain.” 

    Venezuela raids opposition party office, expels three U.S. diplomats:http://rtvote.com/1c0Ltrw
    Late last evening, Venezuelan Security Forces raided the headquarters of an opposition party accused of being the driving force behind recent violent protests. While raiding the headquarters, the Venezuelan national government also expelled three U.S. diplomats on charges of conspiring with demonstrators. The U.S. State Department has called the charges against the U.S. diplomats, false and baseless.


    Kate Middleton Is a Godmother, Attends Friend’s Baby Christening with Prince George, http://rtvote.com/1jO6zRW

    Pete Wentz Expecting Baby With Girlfriend Meagan Camper, http://rtvote.com/1jCbzGj

    Jimmy Fallon and Will Smith Perform “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” on The Tonight Show—Watch Now!: http://rtvote.com/1f9kSi1

    BAFTA Party Sightings: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, Oprah Winfrey and More!: http://rtvote.com/1fduWVI

    Winter Olympics 2014: Meryl Davis and Charlie White Win First Ever U.S. Gold in Ice Dance: http://rtvote.com/1kRJo9I

    Gianna Judkins
    Bio: My name is Gianna Judkins& I'm a proud Angeleno. I'm also a Political Science Major at Howard University. I pride myself in being Michelle Obama's biggest fan and always being "FLOTUS Inspired”! As a Political Science major, my ultimate goal is to one day call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue my office. I'm a very determined young woman who understands the power of education and value of hard work while striving to achieve my goal of being one of the nation's next great leaders. I'm not that serious all the time though, for fun I enjoying singing in the choir and hanging out with friends.

    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


    Thursday, April 12th, 2012

    The United States has few options for responding to a North Korean Missile Launch; war seems inevitable between Sudan and South Sudan; George Zimmerman will be tried for the death of Trayvon Martin; Amazon is making moves in the e-book department; Obama has elected not to sign an anti-discrimination bill; and Congress is trying to take on “bath salts.” Additionally, JK Rowling is set to release a new book; a French presidential candidate uses a “Watch the Throne” song in a political ad; Axl Rose will not attend his hall of fame induction; and Serbian police have found a stolen piece of art.

    Aaron + Caitlin


    Few U.S. Options as North Korea Readies Missile Launching http://nyti.ms/HDhLLx
    There is little President Obama and the United States can do as North Korea
    prepares to test launch a missile. It seems that the best option is for the
    US to downplay the significance of the test, for it’s impractical to prevent
    it. The US will, however, revoke the recent food-aid it granted to the
    totalitarian state. The reason that the US will not request sanctions on
    North Korea is that the country is already a heavily sanctioned nation, and
    the US does not want to waste its international capital dealing with China
    and Russia on North Korea when it is also dealing with Syria and Iran.

    Sudan, South Sudan mobilise as border violence intensifies http://f24.my/HBYGcB
    After South Sudan captured an oil field from Sudan yesterday, the two
    nations have started to ready for war. As a result, the African Union led
    peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan have been put on hold. After
    leaders failed to sign a treaty in Ethiopia, both sides have ramped up their
    wartime rhetoric.

    Prosecutor Files Charge of 2nd-Degree Murder in Shooting of Martin http://nyti.ms/I6gLN6
    Trayvon Martin’s family is celebrating a special prosecutor’s decision to
    charge George Zimmerman in the February shooting of the 17-year-old. The
    decision to charge Zimmerman was made by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey,
    who has downplayed any racial issue in this case.

    Post-ABC News poll shows drop in Republican support for Afghan war http://wapo.st/HCa2BA
    For the first time ever, a majority of Republicans do not think that the war
    in Afghanistan is worth fighting. This is an interesting revelation,
    considering likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney has come out in favor of
    the war. Even though Obama supported increasing troop totals in the
    beginning of his term, he has started to draw back troops and plans to turn
    Afghanistan over to local control by 2014.

    For John Edwards, isolation is a symbol of his downfall http://wapo.st/I5UFxB
    As John Edwards prepares for trial, it seems that his life is a lonely one.
    Living in the same palatial Chapel Hill estate that he built with his late
    wife Elizabeth, Edwards is persona non grata in Chapel Hill. Many old
    friends are disgusted that he cheated on Elizabeth while she was sick and
    have abandoned the former presidential hopeful. Others feel spurned, saying
    Edwards was so power hungry after his 1998 senatorial elect that he forgot
    who helped him get there.

    Obama delays ban on discrimination by U.S. contractors, disappointing gay
    rights advocates http://wapo.st/HE35M8
    President Obama did not sign a ban that would prevent federal contractors
    from discriminating based on sexual orientation. White House aides said that
    the president has planned a multi-pronged effort to urge companies not to
    discriminate, but for many gay rights advocates, that is not enough. Groups
    have been working to present this ban as widely supported and popular, but
    Obama will still not budge. Many are still holding hope that the president
    will sign the bill if he wins reelection.

    ‘Bath salt’ poisonings rise as legislative ban tied up http://usat.ly/IHXl5v
    Legislators are working to ban legal drugs marketed as bath salts or
    synthetic marijuana strains. Senator Rand Paul is holding up the passing of
    these bills as his Libertarian views require that states, and not the
    federal government, make decisions about drug laws. Poisonings from bath
    salts jumped from just over 300 in 2010 to over 6,000 in 2011, creating a
    sense in Congress that something has to be done. These substances mimic
    illicit substances like ecstasy and cocaine and have proven dangerous.

    Better tests find record concussions among U.S. troops http://usat.ly/HyYCgC
    In recent years, medical technology has improved for troops, especially in
    concussion detection. New reports show that on any given day last spring, an
    average of 16 troops suffered brain injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq. While
    increases in terrorists’ use of improvised explosive devices contribute to
    this this rise in concussions, experts say that the real reason for the
    increase is better testing.

    Death Penalty Repeal Goes to Connecticut Governor http://nyti.ms/HMFUwW
    The Connecticut House of Representatives has echoed the sentiments of the
    Connecticut State Senate, approving a bill that would end the death penalty
    in Connecticut. The Democratic governor has said she will sign the bill.
    Currently, there are 16 other states that do not have a death penalty, and 5
    different states have repealed the death penalty in the last 5 years.
    Connecticut’s bill has been in the works for over two decades. It was vetoed
    by a Republican governor in 2009; at the time a gruesome home invasion had
    just taken place and the only survivor of the incident was in favor of the
    death penalty.


    Axl Rose declines Rock Hall induction, http://usat.ly/HyiXTC

    Hollande: ‘Vote for me, N***** in Paris!,’ http://bit.ly/HJopkz

    Mel Gibson, Screenwriter Feud over Jewish Hero Movie, http://bit.ly/IYLOva

    Feud of the Day: Courtney Love vs. Dave Grohl, http://eonli.ne/HxFWt5

    Obama Says Kanye West is ‘Very Talented’ But Still a ‘Jackass,’

    Serb police find painting believed to be stolen
    Cezanne, http://fxn.ws/HCMtbO

    J.K. Rowling announces first novel for adults: ‘The Casual Vacancy,’

    Aaron Ghitelman

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

    News Round-Up: Wednesday March 9,2011

    Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

    NPR CEO Vivian Schiller resigns, WI Governor Walker angers Dems further by exposing negotiation emails, President and Mrs. Obama launch a campaign against bullying on StopBullying.gov, and Lady Gaga parts ways with Target over their stance on LGBT issues. TIP OF THE DAY: There’s a program called ‘Tinted Sheen’ that makes Charlie Sheen’s existence disappear from your computer.


    Vivian Schiller, NPR CEO, Resigns, http://huff.to/hMGZGV

    An NPR Media Reporter said that Vivian Schiller had been “‘ousted’ by the board” after a scandal earlier in the week with an NPR top fundraiser making a video knocking the Tea Party and proposals to cut NPRs federal funding due to bias.

    Libya Official Flies to Egypt With Gaddafi Message, http://huff.to/i0oeeJ

    Britain and France want the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone while other countries such as China and Russia are likely not on board. There have been numerous internal deliberations in the Obama administration as to what course of action to take.

    Quinn Expected to Sign Death Penalty Ban, http://bit.ly/fCKDq0

    Illinois governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation that will ban the death penalty this week. Chicago could join New York, New Jersey and New Mexico who have all banned the death penalty in the last three years.

    Walker Releases E-mails From Talks With Key Dems- And Dems Fire Back, http://bit.ly/e6i48w

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released emails that contained discussions with Democratic State Senators Tim Cullen and Bob Jaunch, much to their dismay. Walker released the emails in hopes of proving that he was open to negotiation.

    For Lawmaker Examining Terror, a Pro-I.R.A. Past,  http://nyti.ms/gugyzS

    Rep. Peter King says he does not regret past ties to the Irish Republic Army, which many are holding against him in his fight against domestic Muslim Extremists.

    The President and First Lady post a video on Facebook to address bullying, http://1.usa.gov/g3U9gQ

    Charlie White’s Indictment: “Piercing” The Veil of Voter Fraud, http://huff.to/hTZ3hM

    Donna Brazile writes an Op-Ed about the unlikeliness of voter fraud and how voter ID laws are disenfranchising voters in states across the nation.

    Sony Adds Extra Features to iTunes Movies, http://huff.to/fvZYfu

    Now when users buy select Sony movies from iTunes they are able to search the film for actors, songs and dialogue, making it easier to select clips and share them using social media.

    New Hampshire to Candidates: Prove Where You Were Born, http://politi.co/e3Wd30

    New Hampshire proposed a law that will require candidates to provide a copy of their birth certificate in order to run. Although the bill has been amended to start in 2013, it might affect New Hampshire as an early primary state.

    Amanda Little asks why we don’t count our energy consumption like we count our calories: http://nyti.ms/gtf454

    Erica Payne writes about the women of Wal-Mart fighting back, and wonders if they will succeed: http://huff.to/fZNDzP

    Akbar Ahmed discusses Muslim American culture and the upcoming hearings: http://nyti.ms/dMZqAI


    LeBron and Jordan sued by…LeBron Jordan?: http://bit.ly/eVEkRB

    Delete Charlie Sheen from your newsfeed: http://bit.ly/fH2E8

    Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr found dead: http://on.mtv.com/e35R7J

    Lady Gaga boycotting Target: http://nydn.us/gLRH7M

    Latest in a series of Spider-Man musical delays: http://eonli.ne/fkgxME

    Kristin Andrews
    Bio: Kristin is Rock the Vote's Communications Intern

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