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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

    A Philadelphia high school drug ring is busted; violence escalates in South Sudan; and a man dealing fake art is arrested. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyong’o is named “Most Beautiful”; Drew Barrymore has her second child; and Justin Bieber gets in trouble for a seemingly honest mistake.

    - Veronica + Maura


    Drug ring targeting top suburban Philly schools busted: http://rtvote.com/1lEO7Jd
    18-year-old Timothy Brooks and 25-year-old Neil Scott were caught Tuesday by the police along with eight other people. The business: selling drugs to students at some of the best high schools and colleges in the area. Brooks and Scott were the two at the center of the drug ring; Brooks supervised the eight “sub-dealers” who sold the drugs at school while Scott was in charge of shipping the drugs from California to Pennsylvania. The drug ring, allegedly dubbed the “Main Line Take-Over Project” (after affluent towns near Philadelphia, where the ring targeted), was responsible for selling marijuana, hash oil, cocaine, and ecstasy (or MDMA). The schools targeted included the Haverford School, Conestoga High School, Radnor High School, Harriton High School, and Lower Merion High School: all prestigious, wealthy schools with some of the highest standardized test scores in Pennsylvania.

    UN: South Sudan rebels separate residents by ethnicity, kill hundreds: http://rtvote.com/1iL2dsZ
    Rebels stormed the oil town Bentiu last week in South Sudan, separated the terrified citizens by ethnicity, and then killed at least 400 people. 200 were killed and 400 were wounded at one mosque alone. The attackers warned certain ethnic groups to leave town and that they should no longer stay in Bentiu. Men, women, and children were killed when they did not cheer and offer support for the rebel attackers. The conflict stems from an overarching power struggle between two South Sudanese ethnic groups: the Nuers and the Dinkas. The rebel leader, Riek Machar (Nuer) was accused by the existing President, Salva Kiir (Dinka), of trying to kick him out of power through a coup. Since the coup allegations, violence between military and civilians has dominated the nation.

    Indicted art dealer, painter were ‘masters of forgery and deceit’: http://rtvote.com/1tCgv3Y
    Jose Carlos Bergatiños Diaz, his brother, and other associates are accused of making $30 million by selling fake artwork for almost 20 years. Diaz and his associates convinced wealthy people and New York art galleries that he was selling real Rothkos and Pollocks paintings. In reality, the paintings sold were made by Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese painter found by Diaz on the Manhattan streets. The brothers were arrested in Spain and have been charged with conspiracy and money laundering. Qian, who authorities believe fled to China as the scheme began to fall apart, has been charged with lying to FBI agents and other conspiracy charges.

    Gun checks miss millions of fugitives: http://rtvote.com/1l1QiYH
    Law enforcement agencies who fail to provide the FBI and national fugitive databases with information on felons could enable those felons to access, purchase, and use guns. In 5 states alone, police forces failed to give the FBI information on more than 2.5 million people with arrest warrants. A large number of those unreported people are wanted for violent offences.  A possible reason for the lack of reporting is that most states do not want to spend the money to track fugitives across state lines. Most agencies therefore see no reason to report with the FBI (a national tracking database) because they have no intention of tracking the fugitives who have left the state.


    Lupita Nyong’o named People’s “Most Beautiful”: http://rtvote.com/Qy51zv

    Daniel Franzese (Damian from Mean Girls) comes out: http://rtvote.com/Ptxcym

    Drew Barrymore has her baby! Find out her adorable name! http://rtvote.com/1noPuQa

    Rehearsals for Pitch Perfect 2 have begun! http://rtvote.com/1hj8yvl

    Justin Bieber in hot water again- although this might have been an honest mistake: http://rtvote.com/1jB3QGv

    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: November 5, 2013

    Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

    NJ mall shooter is found dead; nine skydivers survive a crazy plane collision midair; and Election Day 2013 has arrived with major elections in New Jersey, Virginia, NYC as well as other cities & states across the country. Meanwhile, Drew Barrymore is pregnant again (yippee!) and Lea Michele dedicates a song to her late love, Cory Monteith, on her new album.

    -Sandy + Maura


    New Jersey Mall Shooter Found Dead With Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Police Say,http://rtvote.com/1hK7rEn
    Richard Shoop, 20, opened fire in New Jersey’s Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall ten minutes before closing time last night. Shoop fired at least six shots, none of which were aimed at people; witnesses described Shoop’s demeanor as extraordinarily calm. His body was found in a back area of the mall at 3:20 AM this morning. There have been no other reported injuries at this time. Stay tuned as this story continues to develop.

    Watch nine skydivers survive fiery two-plane collision in midairhttp://rtvote.com/HEmNNg
    As if skydiving weren’t terrifying enough. Skydivers in Wisconsin pulled off the stunt of their lives last weekend as they found themselves in the middle of something that looks straight from a James Bond movie. Two planes collided 12,000 feet in the air on Saturday, and a group of skydivers, along with the pilot, jumped from the exploding wreckage. The second plane was landed safely by another pilot, despite damage to the wing and the propeller.

    Obama: ENDA vote in Senate an ‘opportunity’http://rtvote.com/1hKcfcW
    At a dinner for top Organizing for Action donors, President Obama praised Senate’s 61-30 vote to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Monday. The bill forbids employers from firing employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, it is still too soon to celebrate since the bill has yet to pass in the House.

    Takoma Park 16-year-old savors his history-making moment at the pollshttp://rtvote.com/1aCoAyi
    Ben Miller, 16, will step into a voting booth today and cast his ballot, along with 350 other 16- and 17-year-olds, who were granted the right to vote in municipal elections by the Takoma City Council in May. Montgomery County, Maryland, is the nation’s first community to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 in municipal elections; council member Tim Male said this was intended as a way to boost voter turnout. It seems to be working, as young Ben Miller proudly exercises his newfound civic duty.


    Election Day 2013: Five things to watch todayhttp://rtvote.com/HEmxhb
    Today, voters in Virginia and New Jersey will elect their new governors, while new mayors are chosen in New York, Boston, Detroit, and a heck of a lot of other cities. Important issues are at stake on many of these ballots. Here are five things to keep an eye out for.


    The New York Times Editorial Board discusses the ENA decision in “Toward Ending Workplace Discrimination”, http://rtvote.com/1aCD1m7

    Rocker Austin Estes tells us why young voters are a force to be reckoned with in “Young Americans Will Help Change History This Election Day – If They Vote,” http://rtvote.com/1a5stsW

    Writers respond to the increased incidents in gun violence in “LAX shooting heats up gun debate: Opinionline,”http://rtvote.com/177qaYc


    Teen Mom’s Amber Portwood Released From Jail, http://rtvote.com/1hgnV9B

    Drew Barrymore Is Pregnant, Expecting Second Child With Husband Will Kopelman, http://rtvote.com/1hKirlf

    Lea Michele Recorded a Song About Cory Monteith For Her Debut Album, http://rtvote.com/1bVBzrt

    Chris Pratt Was an Amateur Stripper at Age 18, http://rtvote.com/1a5vk5b


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

    News Round-Up: October 8, 2013

    Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

    The government shutdown continues even with enough votes to end it; Higgs and Englert are awarded the Nobel Prize for the Higgs boson; a salmonella outbreak hits 18 states; and North Korea is rumored to have restarted their plutonium reactor. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead premiere approaches fast, and Prince Harry is ready to get hitched!

    -Sandy + Maura



    Votes are there to break shutdown, but not the willhttp://rtvote.com/1ffKvgu

    According to an ongoing CNN survey, there are enough votes in the House to pass a clean continuing resolution (CR); the minimum number of votes needed is 217. However, the 18 Republicans who would vote to pass the clean CR are not pressuring Speaker John Boehner to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. They are still hoping to use the government shutdown as a way to defund or delay Obamacare.

    Peter Higgs, Francois Englert win Nobel Prize in Physicshttp://rtvote.com/1e69LCX

    The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in physics to Peter Higgs, 84, and Francois Englert, 80, for the discovery of the Higgs boson. Also known as the “God particle”, the Higgs boson is associated with an invisible field that is part of the basic infrastructure of the cosmos.

    Salmonella outbreak in 18 states linked to raw chickenhttp://rtvote.com/18MEfry

    Raw chicken contaminated with a strain of bacteria, called salmonella Heidelberg, has affected about 278 people 18 states. The USDA has released a public health alert, indicating three facilities operated by Foster Farms as the likely sources. An outbreak of the same strain of salmonella was also linked to Foster Farms chicken in 2012. The USDA and Foster Farms assure consumers that cooking chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees will kill any harmful bacteria.

    S. Korea spy agency says N. Korea restarts reactorhttp://rtvote.com/1e6dgcA

    North Korea is being accused of restarting a plutonium reactor at its main nuclear facility. The reactor can be weaponized to produce one or two atomic bombs a year; it already has enough plutonium to produce 4-8 crude weapons. South Korea, the U.S., and Japan are performing routine maritime drills this week; in response, North Korea’s military gave its troops an emergency order to re-examine operational plans and be ready to launch them if anything comes of these drills.

    5 Things to Know about Government Shutdown on Tuesdayhttp://rtvote.com/1fXd6Za

    As an update on the government shutdown, some Republicans are still skeptical on the dangers of not raising the debt ceiling as the October 17th deadline approaches; Pentagon employees returned to work this week, but many other federal workers remain at home; stocks are falling; and although almost everyone is mad at the White House and/or Congress, the Republicans seem to be receiving most of the blame.



    Richard Haass asserts that the U.S. must begin to govern properly and end the shutdown for the sake of its reputation and security in “The Real Threat to U.S. National Security”, http://rtvote.com/18MKz2i

    Mark A. Patterson explains why there is only one (difficult) solution out of the debt limit in “One way out on the debt ceiling”, http://rtvote.com/1fXeYBm



    The Walking Dead Countdown: Why Norman Reedus Likes It Dirty – and Why Season Four is the “Best So Far”,http://rtvote.com/1fg1Cia 

    Miley Cyrus Is “Happiest She’s Ever Been” Without Liam Hemsworth, Says Dad Billy Ray Cyrus,http://rtvote.com/1e6gXPt

    Drew Barrymore Wants to Have Another Baby “Right Away”, http://rtvote.com/1fXfXBn

    Prince Harry Ready to Marry Cressida Bonas, http://rtvote.com/18MMlk2


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

    News Round-Up: Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Scott Walker is the projected winner of Wisconsin’s recall election; Greece may be completely broke by July; Egyptians protest Mubarak’s appointee in Tahrir Square; 30 unpaid workers were forced to sleep under the London Bridge during the Queen’s jubilee; Mitt Romney’s e-mail may have been hacked; and Clinton breaks with Obama on Bush tax-cuts. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus is engaged; Sheryl Crow reveals her brain tumor diagnosis; and Amanda Bynes asks President Obama to intervene in her DUI.



    Greece Warns of Going Broke as Tax Proceeds Dry Up, http://nyti.ms/NhnqMA
    Members of the Greek government said Wednesday that the country could run out of its $161.7 billion bailout money by July. If this is the case, the government may have to temporarily stop paying salaries and pensions as well as halt fuel, food, and pharmaceutical imports. The European Central Bank met Wednesday in Paris and it’s expected that it will keep interest rates at 1%. Also on Wednesday, Moody’s downgraded six of Germany’s banks.

    Walker Wins Wisconsin Recall Election, http://bit.ly/L9SKYO
    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been projected the winner of the state’s recall election. Walker beat out Tom Barrett, the Democratic Mayor of Milwaukee, whom he was victorious against in 2010. Mitt Romney called Walker Wednesday night to congratulate him.

    Egypt’s Tahrir protesters take on Mubarak’s man, http://on.msnbc.com/M8dakA
    Egyptian protestors took to Tahrir Square Tuesday night to protest the presidential candidacy of Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s appointed prime minister during last year’s military crackdown. Protestors say they hold Shafiq responsible for the 800 people killed during last year’s 18 days of violence. “If Shafiq wins, we will overturn everything into fire and destruction,” said demonstrator Amr Sayed. Many demonstrators plan on voting for the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate in order to prevent Shafiq’s win. Egypt’s current rulers have created a 48-hour deadline for political parties to form an 100 member panel that will draft the country’s new constitution. If the deadline is not met, then lawmakers have threatened to write the constitution themselves.

    Call for inquiry into use of unpaid jobseekers as jubilee stewards, http://bit.ly/LqDOIq
    A report surfaced on Tuesday, that security firm Close Protection UK had broken the law by forcing 30 unpaid diamond jubilee workers to sleep under the London Bridge. Former deputy prime minister John Prescott has asked Home Secretary Theresa May to investigate the claims; he is also demanding the government review CPUK’s contract for the Olympic games. In response to the report, CPUK issued a “sincere apology” for the “London Bridge incident,” which they said was meant to provide work experience.

    Have they no Seamus? Tipster claims hack of Romney email, http://lat.ms/Kx0yc0
    A hacker has claimed to have accessed Mitt Romney’s email simply by answering the security question, “What is your favorite pet?” The anonymous hacker revealed to Gawker that he changed the account password, although he did not provide screenshots as proof. He also did not say whether or not the answer to the security question was Seamus, Romney’s dog whom he crated and tied to the roof of his car during family vacations. A spokeswoman for the campaign said that “proper authorities are investigating this crime.”

    Clinton breaks with Obama over Bush tax cuts, http://politi.co/LqD2eo
    In an interview with CNBC last night, former president Bill Clinton said that extending the Bush tax-cuts is “probably the best thing to do right now” in order to stimulate the economy – a notion that President Obama strongly disagrees with. He continued that Republicans want a permanent extension of the tax-cuts, which he agrees that Obama should not support. The Bush tax-cuts will expire next year, most likely causing a partisan battle in Congress.

    (via The Washington Post) New map, new rules shake up California primaries, http://wapo.st/MFlK0k
    Primary voters in California on Tuesday began to remake the face of Congress as a redrawn electoral map and new balloting rules promised a significant overhaul of the state’s delegation, which accounts for about 12 percent of the House of Representatives. Even before Tuesday’s competitive and expensive primary contests, the changes drove eight veterans of the House into retirement and rattled what had been one of the most stable rosters of lawmakers sent to Washington by any state. Democrats think this could make Rep. Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House again. They contend that they could pick up five seats in California on their way to the 25 they need to retake the majority next year. In California, Republicans say the changes, over the long term, have the potential to transform to GOP into a more competitive party, because the new map and the new voting system may force it to nominate centrist candidates who can appeal to the state’s burgeoning population of minority voters.


    Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth Are Engaged, http://bit.ly/JLKHQW

    Amanda Bynes Charged with DUI, Asks President Obama to Fire Cop, http://bit.ly/KQGlvG

    Sheryl Crow Reveals Brain Tumor Diagnosis, http://eonli.ne/KhTWK5

    Drew Barrymore: Wedding Picture with Will Kopelman, http://bit.ly/NJ6L22

    John Mayer: Taylor Swift ‘humiliated me’ with ‘cheap’ song, http://on.msnbc.com/JLOeyG

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

    News Round-Up: Monday, June 4th, 2012

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    Syrian rebels abandon the U.N’s attempts at a peace plan; a suicide car bomb kills 23 in Baghdad; gunmen surround the Tripoli airport; rescue workers sift through debris from yesterday’s deadly plane crash in Nigeria; suspected murderer Luka Rocca Magnotta is found in Berlin; and Mitt Romney’s popularity numbers increase. Meanwhile, Richard Dawson is remembered; Miss Rhode Island has been crowned Miss USA; and Drew Barrymore wed this weekend.

    Syria violence flares after rebel deadline, http://reut.rs/LfLRJn
    Syrian rebels killed 80 pro-government soldiers over the weekend, signaling that they no longer support Kofi Annan’s peace plan for the country. The rebels had given President Bashar al-Assad a deadline of last Friday for putting an end to violence in Syria. When the deadline was not met, the rebels decided to break ties with the U.N.’s efforts to intervene in the country. “We have decided to end our commitment to this [plan], and starting from that date [Friday] we began defending our people,” rebel spokesman Maj. Sami al-Kurdi told Reuters.

    Suicide car bomb kills 23 in central Baghdad in deadliest Iraq attack in 3 months, http://wapo.st/KqTTjF
    A suicide car bomb aimed at Baghdad’s Shiite religious-affairs office killed twenty-three and left dozens dead in what is the deadliest attack in Iraq in three months. The explosion caused the first floor of the religious-affairs office to collapse and damaged nearby cars and buildings. “The scene was horrific,” one witness told The Associated Press. The religious-affairs office manages religious sites for Iraq’s Shiite Muslim population.

    Libya militia surrounds Tripoli airport, http://reut.rs/Kr8JXl
    Armed members of the al-Awfea Brigade surrounded the Tripoli airport this morning causing flights to land at a nearby military base. “The situation in the airport is very tense, and tanks are surrounding the buildings,” an official told Reuters. “No one is allowed into the building.” Allegedly, the gunmen targeted the airport after one of their militant leaders was captured. It is unclear whether the situation has ended or not, although a rebel spokesman told CNN that the situation has been resolved and the gunmen are withdrawing.

    Fears of on-ground deaths from Nigeria plane crash, http://bit.ly/M66OSf
    A plane crash in Nigeria Sunday killed all 153 passengers on board. The plane crashed near Murtala Muhammed International Airport in an area populated with businesses and residences. Officials fear that the location of the crash could have caused people on the ground to have been killed. “The fear is that since it happened in a residential area, there may have been many people killed,” said National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib. The cause of the crash is not clear. Emergency workers have been sifting through debris and have recovered 48 bodies.

    Sandusky judge denies accusers’ bid for pseudonyms, http://apne.ws/K9JiVB
    Judge John Cleland in Pennsylvania has ruled that Jerry Sandusky’s ten alleged victims will not be able to use pseudonyms in courts. Judge Cleland also ruled that no form of communication, like tweets or electronic media, can be present in the courtroom. Jury selection will begin Tuesday for the case, in which Sandusky faces 52 charges over 15 years stemming from allegations that he molested ten boys. The former Penn State assistant football coach, who denies the charges, has been under house arrest pending trial. 250 reporters have registered attendance in the courtroom.

    Luka Rocco Magnotta arrested in Berlin, German police say, http://natpo.st/NcovVI
    Luka Rocco Magnotta, the Canadian man suspected in the brutal murder and dismemberment of a Chinese student, has been arrested in Berlin. Police believed that the 29-year-old had fled to France, but were notified when a Berlin cafe worker recognized Magnotta after seeing his picture in the press. The suspect had been on the run for about two weeks.
    Poll: Romney’s favorable rating jumps, but Obama still more popular, http://bit.ly/KK6Mn3
    A new CNN/ORC poll shows that Mitt Romney’s popularity rating has risen from 34% to 48%. 42% of those polled have a negative impression of Romney – which is the same number of those who dislike President Obama. The poll has the president’s popularity rating at 56%. According to those who worked on the survey, young voters have allowed Obama’s popularity to be higher than Romney’s. “The biggest gap between Obama and Romney’s favorability ratings is among younger Americans,” observered CNN’s polling director. “Romney may have a small advantage among independent voters, but that is offset by his lower favorability rating among Republicans than Obama has among Democrats.”
    Mike Tyson Broadway Play Will Be  a Spike Lee Joint, http://bit.ly/M0g6zG

    Queen’s Jubilee: Rock concert at Buckingham Palace, http://bit.ly/MbFK7v

    Richard Dawson remembered by Paula Abdul, Pat Sajak and more, http://cbsn.ws/KKqrmQ

    Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo to work on breast and ovarian cancer issues, http://cbsn.ws/JPBuf3

    Drew Barrymore’s Quiet Wedding, http://abcn.ws/KFfh2x

    Internet meme Mr. Trololo dies in Russia at age 77, http://bit.ly/LskAAm

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