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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, February 10, 2014

    Monday, February 10th, 2014

    Iranian warships head towards the United States; a top NFL prospect comes out; a Danish zoo kills a healthy giraffe and sparks internet outrage; Julia Mancuso wins another medal; and a young girl is rescued from Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, Anna Kendrick talks about Pitch Perfect 2; Kristen Stewart defends her past; Matt Damon starts a conga line; and…wait…are these stars actually related?

    - Veronica + Maura 

    NEWS 

    Iranian warships headed close to US borders: http://rtvote.com/1bFgPUz
    Iran is sending warships to US maritime borders in response to the ongoing American presence near Iranian borders. The vessels are equipped with navy cadets and a regular crew and include a destroyer and supply ship carrying helicopters. They are intent upon carrying out a three-month mission following a push from the Iranian government to “project its power”.

    Top NFL prospect says he’s gay: http://rtvote.com/1fZ7cVf
    Former college football star Michael Sam, one of the top NFL draft picks this year, came out to ESPN’s Chris Connelly Sunday night. Sam will be the first openly gay draft pick and, subsequently, since most high draft picks enter the NFL, the first openly gay football player in NFL history. The 2014 NFL Draft will be a test to see if the NFL is truly open to players of differing sexualities.

    Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe, feeds body to lions: http://rtvote.com/1h4c3Yn
    The online petition, dubbed “Save Marius”, garnered 27,000 signatures but made no difference. The Copenhagen Zoo euthanized a 2-year-old male giraffe, named Marius, to prevent inbreeding. After the giraffe’s death, an autopsy was performed outside in front of a crowd of people (including children). Marius’s body was then fed to the zoo’s lions, tigers, and leopards. Other zoos and the online petition encouraged the Copenhagen Zoo to find Marius a different hope, but to no avail.

    Mancuso wins her fourth Olympic medal: http://rtvote.com/1dCfTQq
    Julia Mancuso won her fourth Olympic medal on Monday in the super combined event, becoming the record-holder for most Olympic medals won by an American female skier. Only four other women skiers in history have won more Olympic medals than Mancuso. The super combined event begins with a downhill run and concludes with a slalom run. Despite not training for slaloms as heavily, Mancuso still managed to walk away with the bronze. 

    Firefighters rescue autistic girl from Lake Michigan ice: http://rtvote.com/1h4hRRQ
    A 13-year-old girl was rescued from Lake Michigan after jumping over a fence and walking onto the ice. She was not wearing shoes, and tried to fight off firefighters during her rescue. She was suffering from hypothermia at the time of her rescue and was transported to Saint Joseph Hospital in stable condition.
     

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Anna Kendrick talks Pitch Perfect 2: http://rtvote.com/1aO3u1a

    Kristen Stewart has no regrets: http://rtvote.com/1bO5Wmu

    Are these celebrities really related to each other? You be the judge! http://rtvote.com/1f9RRgX

    Celebrity conga line starring Matt Damon: http://rtvote.com/1eNUZmj

    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: Friday, January 17, 2014

    Friday, January 17th, 2014

    President Obama addresses the nation on NSA spying programs; the $1.1T spending bill will head to the White House; and a harsh Pennsylvania voter ID law is struck down by a state court judge. Meanwhile, FLOTUS turns 50 and fabulous!; Kim K flashes new photos of baby North; and the 2014 Sundance Film Festival commences.

    - Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens, http://rtvote.com/1adj0Ug 
    Addressing the nation Friday morning from the Department of Justice, President Obama called for new reforms to NSA spying programs on U.S. citizens. After a six-month controversy, the president has ordered significant changes to the way the NSA collects & uses telephone records of U.S. citizens. He also advocated to end eavesdropping on many foreign leaders and allies of our country in order to rebuild their trust in the U.S. intelligence community.

    With Senate’s OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads to Obama,http://rtvote.com/1hywNEt
    The massive $1.1 trillion spending bill will now head to President Obama’s desk for a signature. The bill will prevent any gaps in government funding and provide a less harsh effect on automatic spending cuts. The Senate voted 72-26 to pass the spending legislation and reduce the likelihood of a government shutdown, at least for the upcoming election season.

    Putin: Gay people will be safe at Olympics if they ‘leave kids alone’http://rtvote.com/KnCoRK
    During a question and answer session Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, offered a statement that was apparently meant to be a reassuring answer for visitors to the Games. After being asked about Russia’s attitude toward gays, a controversial subject surround the upcoming events, Putin said that “one can feel calm and at ease. Just leave the kids alone.” Unfortunately Mr. Putin, I don’t think that’s the reassuring answer that most people were hoping for…

    Members of Congress Introduce New Fix For Voting Rights Act,http://rtvote.com/1m9ngUq
    Last summer the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when they released their ruling to the Shelby County v. Holder case. This ruling made it much easier for states with a history of discriminatory voting laws to enact new restrictive laws without federal supervision. Yesterday, the first bi-partisan solution was offered when legislation was introduced to help strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

    Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down, http://rtvote.com/19zLsPB
    Judge Bernard L. McGinley, a state court judge, struck down a controversial voter ID law in Pennsylvania Friday morning. After a twelve-day trial last summer debating the law, Judge McGinley ruled that the law placed an unreasonable burden on people trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote. 

    CULTURAL

    Kim Kardashian Shares New Pics of Baby North West, Talks Summer Wedding With Kanye West, http://rtvote.com/1avSIqX

    Michelle Obama Proudly Shows Off Her AARP Card on 50th Birthday,http://rtvote.com/1fFFqzJ

    Drake, Nina Dobrev, and More Degrassi Alums: Where are they now?,http://rtvote.com/1adbmcs

    Melissa McCarthy Returning to Host Saturday Night Live on February 1,http://rtvote.com/1jbj4GI

    Sundance 2014: Miles Teller Talks Divergent, Getting Naked in That Awkward Moment and His Rock Band Past, http://rtvote.com/KnzLzi

    Michelle Obama Turns 50! Let’s Look Back at FLOTUS’ Best Fashions So Far, http://rtvote.com/1jbjKvL

    Maura
    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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



    News Round-Up: Monday, July 29, 2013

    Monday, July 29th, 2013

    Obama set to back student loan deal; Israel-Palestine peace talks to resume; 51 are dead in Iraqi car bombings; and Pope Francis says he will not judge gay priests. Meanwhile, Diane Lane to play Hillary Clinton in new miniseries; and Johnny Depp discusses ending acting career.

    -Ally + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    At least 51 dead in Iraq car bombingshttp://rtvote.com/15ZvrvV

    Monday morning rush hour saw a series of car bombings in central and southern Iraq. The attacks were reportedly led by “insurgents determined to undermine the government.” Since April of this year, similar events have killed over 3,000, reviving fear from the violence of the last decade.

    Thief Gets Away With Estimated $50 Million in Jewelry at a French Riviera Hotel, http://rtvote.com/15Zw5JQ

    An armed thief stirred the Carlton InterContinental Hotel in Cannes on Sunday, following the escape of an imprisoned member of the Pink Panther gang of jewel thieves in Switzerland. The jewels were exhibited in the hotel by the Leviev diamond house.

    Israeli-Palestinian peace talks set to resume Monday, http://rtvote.com/15ZwewB

    The U.S. State Department has announced that peace talks will resume this evening, with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho representing Israel, and Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh for Palestine. In anticipation of the talks, Israel released 104 Palestinian prisoners. These actions suggest hope for fruitful negotiations.

    Pope Francis says he won’t ‘judge’ gay priests, http://rtvote.com/13gRu2z

    Following a visit to Brazil’s World Youth Day, his first foreign trip as Pope, Francis says he will not judge gay priests. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” This view is in stark contrast to his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

    White House Muted in Response to New Mass Killing of Egyptian Protesters, http://rtvote.com/19sN24y 

    Sunday marked the second mass killing of Egyptians in three weeks. The Obama administration remains quiet on the event, while Western diplomats work to calm tensions. The event revives the question as to whether Congress should suspend its aid to Egypt.

    Obama backs student loan bill, http://rtvote.com/13gUZpE

    After the Senate passed a bipartisan agreement to reverse the immediate doubling of student loan rates, linking rates to the interest rates, the bill will be brought to vote today in the House. The House is also expected to pass the bill, and President Obama signaled he would follow suit.

    CULTURAL

    Diane Lane to Play Hillary Clinton in NBC Miniseries, http://rtvote.com/13gYiNJ

    Johnny Depp to Quit Acting? “It’s Probably Not Too Far Away,” http://rtvote.com/13gXR5S

    Box office report: ‘The Wolverine’ earns $55 million; Plus ‘Despicable Me 2’ crosses $300 million mark, http://rtvote.com/19sO9Ba

    Lady Gaga Unveils ‘Applause’ Single Name, Artwork, http://rtvote.com/13gXaJR

    Michael Jackson & Freddie Mercury Duets To Reportedly See Release This Fall, http://rtvote.com/15ZEcWM

    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: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

    Chinese hackers hack into U.S. weapons systems; fire burns 1,000 acres in Santa Barbara; three Lebanese soldiers are killed at an army checkpoint; News Corp claims no record of subpoena from the U.S. government; Royal Caribbean cruise cancels trip due to fire onboard; a baby is rescued from a sewer pipe in China; South Korea suspends two nuclear reactors due to unauthorized parts; a gay activist in New York is punched in the face; and BuzzFeed collaborates with CNN and YouTube. Meanwhile, police crack down on Justin Bieber’s reckless driving, and Daniel Radcliffe talks about returning to film as Harry’s dad.

    Maura + Alexis

    CRUCIAL:

    Confidential report lists U.S. weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies, http://wapo.st/ZaMji4
    Chinese hackers have compromised more than two dozen advanced weapons systems, programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships. Experts on the subject of espionage warn that this access to our defense plans provides China with all that it needs to advance its own weapons system and weaken the U.S. military advantage that we once had.

    Campers, residents flee fire near Santa Barbara, http://lat.ms/11toN2k
    A fire in Santa Barbara has burned about 1,000 acres and sent thousands of residents and campers running. Over 5,000 people were ordered to evacuate, but it looked like most were able to return home Monday night. The white fire started at a campsite and soon covered over 1,000 acres.

    Lebanese soldiers killed at checkpoint, http://aje.me/ZbdjxX
    Three Lebanese soldiers were killed at an army checkpoint in the Bekaa Valley Tuesday. The armed men who shot the three soldiers fled towards the Syrian border. In February, four Lebanese soldiers and two fighters were also killed in the same region near Arsal. Lebanon continues its effort to keep sectarian tensions at bay.

    News Corp says has no record of Fox News subpoena, http://reut.rs/14ZwHj1
    News Corp claims Monday it is still investigating whether or not it has received any form of notification from the U.S. government regarding a subpoena for a Fox News reporter’s phone records. The Justice Department maintains that it informed News Corp of the seizure of phone records for Fox News reporter James Rosen in August of 2010. News Corp spokesman Nathaniel Brown claims, “While we don’t take issue with the DOJ’s account that they sent a notice to News Corp, we do not have a record of ever having received it.” Fox News, owned by News Corp, also says it has not received a notification of a subpoena either.

    Cruise passengers expected back in US after fire on Royal Caribbean ship cancels trip, http://wapo.st/ZaSym0
    Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas was headed for CocoCay, Bahamas for a seven-night cruise when it had to stop in Freeport due to a fire that broke out onboard the ship Monday afternoon. The fire was completely extinguished within two hours of when it began, and all 2,224 passengers will received a full refund in addition to a certificate for a future cruise.

    Baby in China saved from sewer pipe, http://bit.ly/12KD3QZ
    A newborn baby boy was rescued from a sewer pipe in eastern China on Saturday afternoon after allegedly being flushed down a toilet. A resident in an apartment building in the wealthy province of Zhejiang reported the sound of a baby crying to which firefighters responded by checking all around the building until finding the baby in a sewage pipe directly underneath a toilet. Reports of abandoned babies in China are far too common. Due to the one-child rule as well as poor health care for new mothers, many women cannot legally keep their children and some of them are not even aware they are pregnant until right before giving birth.

    South Korea suspends more nuclear reactors over unapproved parts, http://bbc.in/14158mm
    South Korea, a country whose 23 nuclear reactors supply close to a third of its electric energy needs, has decided to suspend operations at two more nuclear reactors due to unauthorized parts. Knowledge Economy MInister Hong Suk-woo has shared that the two reactors will not continue to operate until the unauthorized parts are replaced. Six nuclear power engineers and suppliers were sentenced to jail time for supplying components with forged safety certificates to nuclear plants.

    Gay Activist Punched in Latest Homophobic Attack in Midtown, http://bit.ly/12JF1RE
    Eugene Lovendusky, a gay activist who has spent the past few weeks talking to the public about the recent slew of homophobic attacks in New York, became a target Saturday morning. Lovendusky was punched in the face early Saturday by a group of boys shouting anti-gay comments at him and his boyfriend. The couple was leaving a nightclub around 42nd Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues around 3 a.m.when the slurs grew clearer and then the group became visible. Police have arrested 19-year Manuel Riquelme and have charged him with felony assault as a hate crime and misdemeanor aggravated harassment. Lovendusky has declined medical treatment.

    BuzzFeed, CNN and YouTube Plan Online-Video Channel, http://on.wsj.com/140Kpz2
    BuzzFeed announced Tuesday that it will join with CNN and YouTube to create a new online-video channel, “CNN BuzzFeed.” Jon Steinberg, COO of BuzzFeed says he intends to create three videos a week for the channel. The plan is a part of a larger initiative to establish the company as a news source targeted at 18-34 year olds. Kenneth Estenson, senior vice president for CNN Digital explains that the new alliance “will enable both organizations to engage new audiences.”

    CULTURAL:

    Justin Bieber: Police Visit Singer’s Home Following Complaints of Reckless Driving, http://eonli.ne/19iRYH0

    Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn Go Jet-Skiing With Golfer’s Kids—See the Pic, http://eonli.ne/19jf28C

    Amanda Bynes Backtracks (Kinda) on Rihanna Diss, Claims She’s Completely Sober and a “Model Citizen”, http://eonli.ne/19j6vT4

    Daniel Radcliffe: ‘Harry Potter’ Return As Harry’s Dad Could Work, http://huff.to/10EIKhR

    Jesse Eisenberg On ‘Now You See Me’ Role: ‘This Allowed Me To Feel Not Only Good, But Arrogant’, http://huff.to/115IdWh

    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