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    News Round-Up: Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

    Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

    The race for the marriage equality in Virginia continues; Web companies release secret government data requests; a new winter storm is looming; and a restaurant’s customer leaves a $15,000 tip. Meanwhile, Olivia Newton John will be headlining a Vegas show; and Taylor Swift talks love.

    -Gianna + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Race on same-sex marriage cases runs through Virginia,http://rtvote.com/1ev4K8A
    The race for marriage equality is beginning to take a sharp turn in the commonwealth of Virginia. As lawsuits are filed on both sides on the issue, many are beginning to wonder if the Virginia fight for equal rights will land in the hands of the Supreme Court. Virginia’s new Attorney General, Mark R. Herring said recently that Virginia’s ban on gay marriage, which was voted on and approved by voters in 2006, is unconstitutional and cannot be defended. Although, many marriage equality cases in Virginia are moving quickly, none of the cases will reach a federal court during the current term and the cases have yet to reach an appellate court.

    Web companies give first look at secret government data requests,http://rtvote.com/1jbG7RW
    As of Monday, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have all released reports publishing details of government requested data. Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith said on Monday that the information requested by the government is not as vast as many citizens have feared. “We have not received the type of bulk data requests that are commonly discussed publicly regarding telephone records,” Smith said. Smith goes on to cite media reports in regards to Snowden’s leaked documents and finishes his remarks by saying, “Despite the President’s reform efforts and our ability to publish more information, there has not yet been any public commitment by either the U.S. or other governments to renounce the attempted hacking of Internet companies; We believe the Constitution requires that our government seek information from American companies within the rule of law.”

    Restaurant customer leaves $15K for three waitresses, http://rtvote.com/1ipw60F
    Three waitresses were discussing student loans and dreams of completing school when one of their customers walked over and asked for their names. The customer was a God send: she gave each young woman $5,000 dollars. The unnamed customer told the waitresses,“I want you girls to take these to help with school and everything else in life.You put that in your pocket. God sent me here to help you.” What an amazing story and act of kindness!

    Bundle Up: Another Blast of Snow, Nasty Weather Moves In,  http://rtvote.com/1ipOmHd
    Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog was not kidding: there really will be more winter! Another storm is heading in this week after cold weather already caused a few issues on Monday. More than 100 million people in 24 states could be impacted by this week’s looming winter storm. The forecast is said to stretch from the Great Plains to southern New England blanketing parts of the Midwest with up to a foot of snow on Wednesday. Stay warm everyone! 

     

    CULTURAL

    Olivia Newton-John headlining Vegas show, http://rtvote.com/1aZlPbM

    William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke Dead: Lead Singer Of Third World Dies At Age 65, http://rtvote.com/1jbTr8V

    Barbara Walters Defends Woody Allen, Fights With Sherri Shepherd on The View, http://rtvote.com/MXpYlR

    Taylor Swift Talks Love: “Never Give Anyone An Excuse to Say You’re Crazy, http://rtvote.com/1bnwwQ0

    Outkast, Soundgarden to play Sasquatch! Music Festival,http://rtvote.com/1jbVfPh

    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: December 9, 2013

    Monday, December 9th, 2013

    Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War vet, has been released from North Korea after six weeks; Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Yahoo have joined forces to fight the NSA; and local police agencies have started copying the NSA’s spying habits. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez throws a hissy fit on stage, and the mystery surrounding Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles’ relationship remains ongoing.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Merrill Newman has been deported from North Korea: reporthttp://rtvote.com/1gSBDfd
    The 85-year-old Korean War veteran, Merrill Newman, has finally been released after being detained in North Korea for six weeks. Newman had been held on charges of “hostile acts” against the state for his role in the war. North Korea released him because Newman apologized and also because of his age and medical condition. VP Joe Biden met Newman in Beijing to welcome him on his way home.

    Tech giants band together in anti-snooping coalitionhttp://rtvote.com/19c6WA0
    Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo have come together to form what is essentially an anti-NSA coalition. Dubbed the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition, these popular tech companies are determined to limit the federal government’s authority to collect user information. The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google have written an open letter to the federal government.

    Meet Mort Crim: The inspiration for Will Ferrell’s ‘Anchorman’http://rtvote.com/19wbw8G
    As theaters prepare for ‘Anchorman 2’, Ron Burgundy has been popping up on talk shows and sports events around the country. Even though the hilarious news anchor is a fictional character, he is based on someone very real. Meet the man who inspired Will Ferrell’s perfectly mustached character.

    Cellphone data spying: It’s not just the NSAhttp://rtvote.com/1dhAdbx
    The NSA is not the only one spying on people. Local police are now using new technologies to secretly collect data from people’s cellphones. About 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies have used a tactic known as a “tower dump”, and at least 25 police departments own a Stingray, a device that acts as a fake cell tower. 36 other police agencies refuse to say whether they’ve used either tactic.

    ‘127 Hours’ author arrested in Denverhttp://rtvote.com/1gSNw4F
    The man who James Franco portrayed in ‘127 Hours’ was arrested for assault and wrongs to minors in Denver on Saturday night. Aron Lee Ralston, 38, is due in court this afternoon. Ralston is best known for amputating his own arm with a dull blade after being trapped by a boulder for five days in a Utah canyon.

     

    CULTURAL

    Selena Gomez Curses During Performance, Walks Off Stage After Technical Difficulties, http://rtvote.com/1jEeZJQ

    Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles Leave NYC Hotel Together, http://rtvote.com/J7kByw

    One Direction Joins Paul Rudd and His Anchorman 2 Costars on SNL, Debut “Through the Dark,”http://rtvote.com/IXIWGn

    Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Attend Her Brother’s Wedding, http://rtvote.com/1cwnaVd

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Friday, February 22, 2013

    Friday, February 22nd, 2013

    Oscar Pistorius is granted bail set at $113,000; Russia accuses the U.S. of holding double standards with Syria; U.S. troops set up a drone base in Niger; and Google introduces a touch screen laptop. Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z announce the dates of their summer tour; Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose welcome their newborn son; and Prince Harry and his girlfriend come out as a couple.

    Caitlin + Liza

    CRUCIAL: 

    Oscar Pistorius granted bail ahead of murder trial, http://nbcnews.to/VALzkz
    Oscar Pistorius was granted bail set at $113,000 on Friday, despite protests from the prosecution. Pistorius, the double amputee and former Olympic track star, is accused of “premeditated murder” of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but maintains he mistook Steenkamp for a robber in his home. Though prosecutors had worried Pistorius would flee the country if granted bail, defense lawyers maintained he is not a “flight risk.” “What kind of life would Pistorius lead if he flees, given his protheses?” questioned Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair.

    Russia accuses U.S. of double standards over Syria, http://reut.rs/W7xYnq
    Russia accused the United States of having double standards on Syria, citing that the U.S. had blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning Thursday’s car bomb attack in Damascus as terrorist action. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the U.S. was threatening international unity in the “war on terror” by blocking a statement about the “terrorist attacks”. A U.S. representative at the United Nations denied that the U.S. had blocked the statement. The U.S.’s relationship with Russia has worsened since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency last May, and new Secretary of State John Kerry will have his first meeting with Lavrov next week.

    U.S. troops arrive in Niger to set up a drone base, http://wapo.st/UR7ftz
    President Obama announced on Friday the creation of a drone base in the West African nation of Niger, where 100 American troops will be deployed to spy on members of al-Qaeda in the Sahara. The opening of the Niger drone base marks the addition of another U.S. military operation against al-Qaeda to join those in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. U.S. troops in Niger will also support the France’s military operation in Mali, where al-Qaeda members and other militants have founded a refuge. “This is purely an intelligence gathering mission,” a U.S. defense official said.

    Las Vegas Strip Shooting Launches Multi-State Manhunt, http://abcn.ws/W6Gpzj
    Three people were killed in a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas strip on Friday, launching a multi-state manhunt for a group of men in a black Range Rover responsible for initiating the attack. Following an argument at the Aria resort and casino, the group of men shot at two people in a Maserati, prompting a multi-car crash resulting in a taxi exploding. The driver of the Maserati died from gunshot wounds, as did a driver and passenger who were inside the taxi. Nevada, Utah, California, and Arizona have all put authorities on alert for the Range Rover, which is carrying an unclear number of men and is considered armed and dangerous. “Clearly the suspects in this shooting have no regard for the lives and and safety of others,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Sheriff Doug Gillespie said.

    FBI battling ‘rash of sexting’ among its employees, http://bit.ly/VzqYx9
    CNN obtained FBI reports detailing a variety of misconducts inside the agency including sending nude pictures, paying for sex, and a “rash of sexting cases.” The incidents were detailed in a quarterly report issued to FBI employees as a way to deter such behavior in the future. Employees were found to have used government-issued devices to send many of the lurid messages. “We’re hoping (that) getting the message out in the quarterlies is going to teach people… you can’t do this stuff,” FBI assistant director Candice Will said. “When you are given an FBI Blackberry, it’s for official use.” Between 2010 and 2012, the FBI disciplined 1,045 employees for various violations.

    Obama: Voting Rights Act Provision Should Be Kept, http://huff.to/13twcLc
    The Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge on Wednesday to a key section of the voting rights law which requires local and state governments with a history of racial discrimination to get Justice Department approval before they make changes affecting elections. The Alabama appellate will argue that such a requirement is no longer necessary because areas with histories of racism have made such progress. President Obama defends the law, holding that ending federal oversight would make it harder to help people who believe their voting rights have been violated.

    Google Introduces a Touch-Screen Laptop, http://nyti.ms/157OjJh
    Google moved further into the laptop business on Thursday with the introduction of the Pixel, the newest version of Google’s Chromebook laptops, which store everything online in the cloud. The Pixel’s trademark will be a touch screen that is brighter, taller, and of a higher resolution than most other laptop screens. Analysts say the big question for the Pixel will be whether buyers are ready to do the majority of their computing in the cloud, using Google Docs and Gmail rather than software like Microsoft Word. The introduction of the Pixel marks a major shift by Google toward competition with Apple and Microsoft to sell high-end devices.

    CULTURAL: 

    Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z Tour to Launch This Summer, http://bit.ly/W86zld

    Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose Welcome Son Sebastian Taylor, http://bit.ly/WW9Ocu

    Prince Harry Let Secret Out After Heavy Night, http://thebea.st/12VLug5

    Megan Fox, Michael Bay Team for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, http://huff.to/XunWYu

    Oscars 2013: And the Winners Will Be…?, http://bit.ly/135H6uI

     

    Liza Dee
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Monday, January 7th, 2013

    Monday, January 7th, 2013

    President Obama will nominate John Brennan for CIA Director and Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense; the State Department dismisses Syrian President Assad’s public speech; and the Chinese government announces it will end labor-camp sentences. Meanwhile, “Texas Chainsaw” was number one at the box office this weekend; Justin Bieber is photographed smoking pot; and Lindsay Lohan heads to court again.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Who Is John Brennan, the Man Touted to Be the Next CIA Director?, http://thebea.st/TdJo2s
    President Obama will reportedly nominate counterterrorism advisor John Brennan for CIA Director on Monday. Brennan has been a proponent of the U.S. drone program, which could lead anti-drone advocates to dispute the nomination. Obama will also nominate former Republican senator Chuck Hagel to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. Hagel, who went against his party to oppose the Iraq war, may prove a controversial choice.

    Five accused of rape in India appear in court for charges, http://reut.rs/UC3aqm
    The five men accused of gang-raping and fatally beating a 23-year-old woman in New Dehli arrived in court today. Their charges include rape, murder, and abduction. The incident has caused public outrage in India, causing women to call for more protection due to India’s high number of sexual assaults. Because the case is so high-profile, the judge ordered that today’s court appearance be closed to the media in order to protect the suspects’ safety. The five men do not have lawyers as those admitted to the bar in India’s Saket district have refused to represent them. Police say they have recorded confessions from the suspects, two of which have offered evidence against the others in exchange for a lesser sentence. A prosecutor for the case has said that “The five accused persons deserve not less than the death penalty.”

    Bank of America to Pay $10 Billion in Settlement With Fannie Mae, http://nyti.ms/XDga3J
    Bank of America has agreed to pay Fannie Mae $10 billion in unsettled claims stemming from the housing market crash. Bank of America will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion and then buy $6.75 billion of discounted mortgages. In 2011, Bank of America paid Freddie Mac for the housing market crash. Its payment to Fannie Mae signals that it’s steering away from home-lending.

    In Rare Damascus Speech, Assad Acknowledges Suffering, http://thebea.st/VttAdv
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare public address Sunday. Assad, speaking in front of a photo collage of Syria’s war victims, proposed peace in the form of a national reconciliation conference as well as a new government and constitution. The State Department, which has urged Assad to resign, has dismissed the speech as “meaningless.” “His initiative is detached from reality, undermines the efforts of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, and would only allow the regime to further perpetuate its bloody oppression of the Syrian people,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

    Clinton Scheduled to Return to Work Monday, http://nyti.ms/13dPPZq
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will return to work Monday. Clinton was admitted to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on December 30th after doctors found a blood clot in her head. The State Department has released Clinton’s schedule, which shows her meeting with assistant secretaries Monday morning and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington on Wednesday.

    Sen. Rand Paul’s son arrested at North Carolina airport, charged with underage drinking, http://bit.ly/VxgDzd
    Senator Rand Paul’s 19-year-old son, William Hilton Paul, was arrested Saturday at North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport for disorderly conduct at an airport, being intoxicated and disruptive, and consuming alcohol underage. The Senator’s office said in a statement, “Sen. Paul is a national public figure and subject to scrutiny in the public arena, however, as many parents with teenagers would understand, his family should be afforded the privacy and respect they deserve in a situation such as this.”

    Chinese official says country will end labor camp sentences in move toward judicial reform, http://wapo.st/13aAxW7
    During a press conference, China’s Meng Jianzhu, the head of the Communist Party Politics and Law Commission, said that the Chinese government will no longer give out labor-camp sentences. China allegedly has 310 labor camps holding 310,000 prisoners and employing 100,000 staff. It’s unclear what the proclamation means for current labor-camp prisoners. One activist said, “This announcement is a very good thing, but we’d still like to hear them say that they’re getting rid of reeducation through labor entirely.”

    American Delegation Arrives in North Korea on Controversial Private Trip, http://nyti.ms/RBEoIm
    Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson arrived in North Korea Monday for what Richardson has described as a four-day private humanitarian mission. During the trip, Richardson is hoping to meet with an American citizen detained by North Korean officials for “hostile acts.” Richardson has said that Schmidt is joining him because he is “interested in some of the economic issues there, the social-media aspect.” The State Department is against the trip calling it “unhelpful.”

    CULTURAL:

    ”Texas Chainsaw” movie kills rivals at North America box office, http://reut.rs/UBZt44

    Justin Bieber Gets Caught Smoking Pot Post Selena Gomez Breakup, http://bit.ly/VKjLaP

    Lindsay Lohan heads to court again, this time over New York nightclub fight, http://bit.ly/UBiNC6

    Star Trek Fan Granted Dying Wish By J.J. Abrams Passes Away, http://bit.ly/ZxGRag

    Eliot Spitzer quits Current TV following sale to Al Jazeera, http://fxn.ws/VKedgy

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012

    SCOTUS upholds the Affordable Care Act; The Washington Post refuses to retract its article on Romney and Bain; and SCOTUS strikes down the Stolen Valor Act. Meanwhile, Google showcases its Nexus 7, and Anthony Davis trademarks his brow.

    Maureen + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare, http://bre.ad/1bs9md
    The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s individual health-care mandate earlier this morning, giving support to President Obama. The law had been challenged in several states due to a provision of the law that requires all Americans to buy health insurance. This morning, SCOTUS upheld this mandate as a tax. Four justices dissented, but Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority opinion to rule that the mandate is constitutional.

    High court tosses law making it a crime to lie about military medals, http://bit.ly/LwtWte
    The Affordable Care Act ruling wasn’t the only decision the Supreme Court made today. The Chief Justices also ruled 6-3 that the Stolen Valor Act violates freedom of speech. The court struck down the controversial law, which made it a crime to lie about winning military honors. In its decision, the court added that the act did have “substantial justification,” and could be rewritten by Congress in a narrower fashion that wouldn’t violate the First Amendment.

    Washington Post declines Romney request to retract article on Bain Capital, http://bit.ly/MsFKlD
    Despite a request from the Mitt Romeny campaign, a spokesperson for The Washington Post confirms that the newspaper will not retract a controversial report about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. Published earlier this month, the article found that the venture capital firm Romney helmed invested in firms that specialized in outsourcing American jobs.

    CULTURAL:

    Google showcase Nexus 7 tablet at I/O 2012 launch event, http://bit.ly/MVDWQy
    Apple’s iPad has some new competition. Google unveiled its first tablet computer, Nexus 7, at its annual developer conference yesterday. The 7-inch device, built and co-branded in partnership with hardware maker Asus, costs only $199. It features the new version of Google Android, a front-facing camera, a 1280×800 resolution screen, and an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor.

    ‘Vampire Diaries’ star Kat Graham rocks the vote at Pure, http://bit.ly/NRFiwF

    NBA Draft Stud Anthony Davis BROW Down To My Trademark, http://bit.ly/MsuYM8

    Teary Ann Curry says farewell to ‘Today,’ http://bit.ly/Qs4BoU

    Matt Damon could join Jeremy Renner in ‘Bourne 5,’ producer says,“ http://bre.ad/1c7efb

    David Beckham Fails to Make British Olympic Team, http://bit.ly/Ozllfy

    Maureen Dolan
    Bio: Maureen is the Marketing & Communications intern for Rock the Vote.

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