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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

    CRUCIAL

    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.

    CULTURAL

    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: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    A stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school leaves 20 students injured; Rep. Vance McAllister’s staffer resigns after kissing incident; Police search for a possible serial sniper in Kansas City; and a new breakthrough in paralysis research has occurred. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway put a cabaret spin on some top hip hop songs; Prince George has a play date down under; and Miley discusses her freedom without Disney or Liam Hemsworth.

    Shameless Plug Alert: Congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers, my (Veronica’s) hometown hockey team, on clinching a NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs spot last night. Let’s go Flyers!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    DEVELOPING STORY: 20 injured in Pittsburgh-area high school stabbing: http://rtvote.com/1qqQ250
    At least 20 students have been injured at Franklin Regional Senior High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An adult is also being treated for an unspecified medical condition. Four students have been taken to the hospital via helicopter and some students’ injuries are life-threatening. A hallway and a classroom were the setting for the potentially deadly stabbing. All schools are now secure, but the district’s elementary schools are closed for the day. The suspect, a sophomore boy, is now in custody.

    Spinal cord work is unexpected shocker: ‘This is a breakthrough’: http://rtvote.com/1qiwa5T
    Neuroscientist Susan Harkema had been running a study to try to learn more about “nerve pathways” by stimulating the spinal cords of paralyzed people through electricity. However, she managed to enable her patients to move their legs. All of her patients have been able to move their toes, move their legs around, sit up on their own, and even do sit ups! Harkema says this is the first time electrical stimulation to the spine and show results. Co-founder of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Dr. Barth Green says that “This is a breakthrough. It shows you can have a living spinal cord under the layer of their injury.” Scientists hope this will open the door to the possibility of new breakthroughs.

    Staffer caught kissing Rep. McAllister resigns, while Congressman keeps his job: http://rtvote.com/1k3Q4Qr
    Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) was caught on tape Monday kissing a staff member. The Congressman and the staffer, Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, are both married. Peacock has since resigned her post as district scheduler to McAllister. McAllister, conversely, says he has “no plans to resign” and insists that he will campaign for reelection this year. On Monday, the Ouachita Citizen posted a surveillance video showing the two kissing. McAllister admitted the affair and apologized to his constituents: “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was “pleased” with the apology, but he has not yet commented on whether McAllister should keep his job.

    Kansas City authorities seek perpetrator after some shootings linked: http://rtvote.com/1kKJBby
    The FBI has joined the hunt for a shooter in Kansas City, Missouri area. So far, thirteen shootings have been reported along parts of Interstate 435 and Interstate 470, most of which are near exit and interchange ramps. No one has been killed, but three people have been wounded; one was shot in the arm, the others were shot in the leg. Law enforcement believes that at least a part of the thirteen shootings are linked. The FBI and ATF have put out a $7000 reward for anyone who might know anything about the shootings or the possible shooter(s).

    UConn Women’s Basketball completes 40-0 season: http://rtvote.com/1k3Y9ED
    UConn’s women’s basketball team has completed their 40-0 season with a 79-58 win over Notre Dame. They are now repeat champions and it is the fifth time the team has gone undefeated under the head coach, Geno Auriemma. Auriemma has won nine National Titles in nine tries after the win. Notre Dame finished 37-1 after the loss.

    CULTURAL

    Paul Rudd joins Billy on the Street’s Billy Eichner for some Funny or Die fun: http://rtvote.com/R2X9GB

    Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway sing Broadway versions of…rap songs? http://rtvote.com/1lKl5J3

    Prince George’s royal play date: http://rtvote.com/ODqMfM

    Miley Cyrus talks “being free”: http://rtvote.com/1eks0sJ

    Samantha Harris diagnosed with breast cancer, due to receive double mastectomy: http://rtvote.com/1hsHbR3

    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-Roundup: Tuesday January 14th,2014

    Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

    Nigeria says NO to gay rights; a man was shot in a movie theater over a text message; and congressional negotiators revealed a $1.1 trillion dollar bipartisan compromise. Meanwhile, Downtown Abbey’s new episode creates controversy; Gabourey Sidibe silences her critics with a witty response; and Beyoncé writes an essay on gender equality.

     

    CRUCIAL

     Nigeria says No to gay rightshttp://rtvote.com/L04P9c
    Nigeria’s President Goodluck Johnson signs an unusually harsh anti-gay rights bill. The new bill includes 14 years in prison and bans all citizens from gay marriage and homosexual relationships. The bill was passed by the national assembly last May, but was only signed into law recently according to the President’s spokesperson Reuben Abati.

    Egyptians vote on a two-day referendum on a revised constitutionhttp://rtvote.com/1d0uzM7
    Egypt’s top military officer General Sisi has cast a precursor to bid for the presidency. General Sisi has emerged as Egypt’s dominant force to the overthrow of President Mubarak and President Morsi. The Muslim brotherhood has called for a boycott of the vote and, as a result, the size of this two day turn out is crucial. The proposed constitutional changes include broader language protection of religious freedom and women’s rights.

    $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill revealed in bipartisan compromise-http://rtvote.com/1dnDYyD
    The new compromise would ease the stress from the largely unpopular sequester and restore cuts to many federal programs, such as: Head Start, Medical research and job training. The bill also gives federal workers a 1 percent raise. White house officials and leaders of both parties are pleased due to the bill which funds the rest of the fiscal year and ends threat of a government shutdown previously scheduled for the current bill’s expiration midnight on Wednesday.

    Man shot in movie theater over text message http://rtvote.com/1fuJmDh
    A couple in a theater just north of Tampa were texting during the theater previews when a retired police officer, Curtis Reeves, began a dispute with the couple over the text messages.Reeves fatally shot the man, and the woman is currently at a hospital recovering from her injuries after trying to shield her husband from that fatal shot.

    FBI investigators clear suspicion of IRS crimes against conservative groups- http://rtvote.com/1kA5jD3
    FBI investigators do not believe that the IRS did any wrong in regards to the unusually heavy scrutiny against conservative groups who applied for tax-exempt status. Although, the matter still has to go up against the Department of Justice, charges against the IRS seem unlikely due to the conclusion of the FBI investigators.

     CULTURAL
    Gabourey Sidibe’s witty response to Golden Globes wardrobe disaster - http://rtvote.com/1m54gGD

    New Outkast album in the works for 2014- http://rtvote.com/1dsMFsY
    It’s official, Christine McVie has rejoined the Fleetwood Mac band - http://rtvote.com/1hTxgnh

    Vogue editor in chief : Anna Wintour, is coming to a TV near you soon with new show: “The Fashion Fund” - http://rtvote.com/1iOgrIb

    Did you miss Sunday’s episode? Catch up on the Downtown Abbey Season 4 shocker here - http://rtvote.com/1dnslaX
    First Lady Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown will be at the Smithsonian, AGAIN - http://rtvote.com/JYzF1v
    Beyoncé writes Essay on gender equality- http://rtvote.com/1m57rhH

    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: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

    President Obama negotiates on job creation; NC Governor signs abortion bill into law; Israeli-Palestinian peace talks commence; and Zimbabwe youth set to take to the polls. Meanwhile, Lea Michelle reacts to Monteith’s passing; Taylor Swift sings with Carly Simon; and preview for season 3 of Homeland is released.

    - Ally + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    With deficit negotiations at an impasse, Obama offers Republicans a ‘grand bargain’ on jobs, http://rtvote.com/1632bnU
    President Obama’s Tuesday trip to an Amazon.com distribution center prompts a proposal to invest in middle-class jobs. In order to see progress, the President will drop his former insistence on an individual tax overhaul. He will offer corporate tax cuts while demanding job creation.

    More than 100 teens rescued in weekend sex-trafficking raids, FBI says, http://rtvote.com/162Z92V
    Victims as young as age 13 were rescued in a nationwide sex-trafficking crackdown across over 70 cities. More than 100 teenagers were rescued, and 159 “pimps” were arrested. This was “the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children.”

    Pat McCrory Signs Controversial Abortion Bill Into Law, http://rtvote.com/13jIOIM
    After passing the state Senate and House earlier in July, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed an anti-abortion bill into law on Monday. The bill eliminates abortion coverage for those covered by State or Federal health plans, imposes regulations on abortion clinics, and bans sex-selective abortions. During his campaign for Governor last year, McCrory said he would not pass additional restrictions on abortion.

    A guide to the 2013 Israeli-Palestinian peace talkshttp://rtvote.com/1630gQ4
    Peace talks began in Washington last night between Israeli and Palestinian officials. They are expected to last nine months. This article outlines what to expect of the process and outcomes.

    Swiss train crash: Driver’s body recovered after head-on train collision leaves 26 injuredhttp://rtvote.com/162Zt1A
    After two trains collided in Switzerland on Monday, 26 people were injured and one driver was killed. Switzerland is thought to have one of the safest rail systems in the world, but the event is striking, especially following last week’s deadly train crash in Spain.

    Youth, rural voters may hold key to Zimbabwe electionhttp://rtvote.com/19uSsvQ
    The influence of young voters is expected to be significant in tomorrow’s presidential election in Zimbabwe. In the first round of elections, neither candidate won a large enough margin of votes, thus leading to a second vote. Leading up to this second round, nearly 750,000 new voters have been registered (the country’s population is approximately 13 million). A representative of the Election Resource Centre says that “the winner will be whoever captures the new youth voters.”

    CULTURAL

    Lea Michele Breaks Her Silence: “Cory Monteith Will Forever Be in My Heart,” http://rtvote.com/13jJXQs

    Lindsay Lohan to Guest Host Chelsea Lately August 5!, http://rtvote.com/1630maG

    Taylor Swift Brings Carly Simon On Stage To Sing ‘You’re So Vain,’ http://rtvote.com/1630w1N

    1990 Things From The 90s To End The Nostalgia Once And For All, http://rtvote.com/1631jzG

    Homeland Season 3: First Trailer Teases Brody Trying to “Survive,” http://rtvote.com/1631Wcn

    Ally.f@rockthevote.com
    Bio: My name is Ally Filler and I am a Field Intern at RTV this summer! I recently graduated from McGill University where I studied Linguistics. In addition to marveling at the linguistic hotspot that is Montreal and eating many croissants, I assisted hundreds of American students in their quest to vote from abroad. I'm excited to be a part of such an amazing team here at Rock the Vote!

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, May 30, 2013

    Thursday, May 30th, 2013

    Syria has received first missile shipment from Russia; Obama plans to nominate former Bush official to lead FBI; a man is charged for the murder of soldier Lee Rigby; a U.S. soldier accused of murdering 16 on a shooting spree in Afghanistan makes a plea bargain; a letter sent to Mayor Bloomberg tests positive for ricin; Saudi Arabia reports three more dead from SARS-like virus; smoking and unemployment prove to cut lifespan; and France celebrates its first same-sex wedding. Meanwhile, a Disneyland employee is held of $1 million bail for a dry ice blast, and Netflix talks “more ‘Arrested Development’.”

    Maura + Alexis

    CRUCIAL:

    Assad says Syria received Russian missile shipment: Lebanese media, http://reut.rs/19ocNRm
    Syria has received the first shipment of an advanced air defense system sent from Russia. Western objections aside, Russia has promised the delivery of the S-300 missile system to the Syrian government. As of June 1 the EU will lift its arms embargo on Syria, which could open up the opportunity for the West to arm Syrian rebels.

    Former Bush Official Said to Be Obama Pick to Lead F.B.I., http://nyti.ms/18yt5Zi
    President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey for the position of director of the FBI to replace Robert S. Mueller III. Comey served as a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush and played a role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Bush administration – refusing to acquiesce to White House aides and reauthorize a program for eavesdropping without warrants. By nominating Mr. Comey, a Republican, President Obama makes a strong statement about bi-partisanship.

    Woolwich attack: Michael Adebowale charged with murder of soldier Lee Rigby, http://bit.ly/ZfUucZ
    Michael Adebowale has been officially charged with the murder of soldier Lee Rigby. The 22-year-old was arrested at he scene in Woolwich immediately after killing Rigby. In addition to charging him with murder, police have also charged him with possession of a firearm.

    US soldier accused of Afghan killing spree in deal to avoid execution, http://nbcnews.to/140dDkV
    Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier accused of murdering 16 civilians in Afghanistan during active duty for the U.S. Army, has reached a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty. Bales’ lawyer Emma Scanlan has reported that her client will plead guilty to premeditated murder charges and then present himself before a military jury for sentencing. The sentencing phase will begin in August.

    Letter sent to NYC Mayor Bloomberg tests positive for ricin, http://fxn.ws/135DvLa
    Anonymous letters were sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the director of the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns located in Washington, D.C. containing material laced with ricin. Although he refuses to comment on what specific threats were made in the letters or where the letters were postmarked, Bloomberg asserts that he doesn’t “feel threatened” and will continue to fight for what he believes in – stricter gun control.

    Saudi Arabia Reports 3 More Deaths From New Virus, http://nyti.ms/16suWyQ
    Saudi Arabia has reported three more deaths caused by a newly discovered respiratory virus similar to SARS. The number of deaths globally now sits at 30. The World Health Organization says the virus that was first seen in the Middle East appears to be spreading worldwide.

    Joblessness Shortens Lifespan of Least Educated White Women, Research Says, http://nyti.ms/10Bik45
    A new study has left researchers with an explanation as to why the country’s least educated white women have shorter lifespans. Researchers have found that the two factors most strongly associated with higher death rates are smoking and unemployment. The study will be published Thursday in The Journal of Health an Social Behavior.

    Meet France’s First Married Gay Couple, http://ti.me/15a2i1B
    France celebrated its first gay marriage in Montpellier on Wednesday. With hundreds of people in attendance, it was clear that Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau were not the only ones in support of same-sex marriage. Before taking their vows, the two grooms proclaimed, “Our society cannot have any prejudices.”

    CULTURAL:

    Disneyland Explosion: Employee Arrested for Dry Ice Blast, Held on $1 Million Bail, http://eonli.ne/19p7XUf

    Blake Shelton and Usher Duet for Oklahoma Tornado Benefit, http://eonli.ne/15lDdQw

    Netflix Is Now Open to the Idea of More Arrested Development, http://vult.re/12QiDWw

    ‘Machete Kills’ Trailer: Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson & Charlie Sheen Made A Movie Together, http://huff.to/135IH1O

    Movie Trailers’ Time Challenged By Theater Owners; Trailer Length May Be Cut By 30 Seconds, http://huff.to/135BuPl

    alexis.m@rockthevote.com
    Bio: My name is Alexis Macdermott and I will be starting my third year at Duke University this fall. I am currently pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in economics. I am a native of Southwest Florida and am an avid runner and film enthusiast. I look forward to joining the Marketing and Communications team for the summer here at RTV!

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