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    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

    Another shooting hits Fort Hood Military Base; a major aftershock in Chile causes massive evacuations; the US allegedly tried to undermine the Cuban government through the creation of a fake social media account; and a woman in Australia goes missing after being “taken” by a shark. Meanwhile, James Franco allegedly tried to meet up with a teenager via Instagram; a man arrested for trespassing on Selena Gomez’s property is sentenced; and Sarah Palin and “Vladimir Putin” have a phone conversation.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Fort Hood shooting spree: ‘Texans’ hearts are once again very heavy’: http://rtvote.com/1otWpcb
    Specialist Ivan Lopez went on a shooting spree Wednesday at Fort Hood Military Base in Killeen, Texas, wounding 16 and killing four others (including himself). All were army personnel. Lopez had had a history of depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. After his 4-month tour in Iraq, Lopez began to undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Lopez used his own gun in the shooting; it was not registered to the base, making it against the rules to have it on the base. In contrast to the 2010 Fort Hood shooting, authorities do not suspect that terrorism was the driving force behind Lopez’s actions.

    New evacuations in Chile after major aftershock: http://rtvote.com/PmTToC
    A 7.2 magnitude aftershock rocked the northern coast of Chile Wednesday night, just days after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake caused tsunamis and six deaths. After the 7.2 aftershock, the Chilean Emergency Office issued new tsunami warnings and subsequent evacuations of the entire Chilean coast, driving 900,000 people from their homes. Fortunately, no damage, deaths, or injuries have been reported after the aftershock, which is one of over a dozen that have hit Chile over the past few days. The aftershock was felt in Peru as well, once again leaving no damage or injuries in its wake.

    Crowd beats driver who stopped after hitting boy, 11: http://rtvote.com/1lqM7Fd
    On the East Side of Detroit, Michigan, a crowd beat a driver who hit an 11-year-old boy. The child was struck by the driver of a truck while trying to cross an intersection. The driver then got out of the car to check on the boy, at which point a crowd of approximately 30 people came to assist the child. Some members of the crowd then beat the driver, who sustained serious head injuries that could be life-threatening. The boy’s condition has not been released. Both the driver and the child were taken to the hospital.

    US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest: http://rtvote.com/1k3eXhG
    US government official Joe McSpedon, a team of technology contractors, and the Agency for International Development had been planning to undermine the communist government in Cuba by creating a fake social media website. The “Cuban Twitter,” or ZunZuneo, would have breached the information restrictions and bans put in place by the Cuban government. At its peak, the account reached thousands of Cuban citizens, giving many access to information that had previously been denied to them. Due to the financing being linked to a Cayman Islands account, the United State’s name was never connected with the project’s development. Whether the program is legal or not is unclear.

    Woman ‘taken’ by large shark in Australia: http://rtvote.com/1mDUf57
    63-year-old lifeguard Christine Armstrong was swimming in Tathra, Australia with her husband and fellow lifeguards when she disappeared. She headed off to shore alone, leaving her friends in the water, but appeared to never make it. A witness told police that he saw an 11-foot shark attacking something in the water that looked like a swimmer. After an investigation, neither Armstrong nor the shark could be found. Armstrong’s husband and friends who were with her that day are being given counseling to cope.

    CULTURAL

    British Olympic diver Tom Daley discusses his sexuality: http://rtvote.com/1fOPOzE

    It’s Amanda Bynes’ birthday! Take a look back through her career: http://rtvote.com/1scN1cd 

    James Franco tried to pick up a teenage girl on Instagram: http://rtvote.com/1gqOpyG

    Get the latest details about the guy arrested for trespassing at Selena Gomez’s house: http://rtvote.com/1hkyi5W

    Sarah Palin and “Vladimir Putin” talk: see the video! http://rtvote.com/QIBT8Z

    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: Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Thursday, March 27th, 2014

    President Obama holds his first meeting with Pope Francis; at least 90 people are missing as a result of the Washington mudslide; POTUS says that the government should stop holding phone data; and Northwestern University athletes are legally allowed to unionize. Meanwhile, Psych ended its 8-season run last night; the trailer for Jupiter Ascending has been released; and Joan Rivers has some harsh criticism for Lena Dunham.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Obama has first audience with Pope Francis: http://rtvote.com/1jyS19L
    President Obama and Pope Francis had their first meeting with one another on Thursday in Italy. The meeting was cordial and people hoped that the meeting would bring attention to important issues both leaders support. Much of the meeting was about the church’s role in current issues in the United States, international conflict, and human rights protection according to a statement from the Vatican. President Obama extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit the United States in 2015.

    Ukraine military dolphins to switch nationalities, join Russian navy: http://rtvote.com/1j9eoQt
    Russia is planning on taking control of Ukraine’s military dolphins. These dolphins are highly trained and specialize in detecting hazards to Ukraine like sea mines or enemy scuba divers trying to enter the country’s waters. Dolphins can detect noises and objects in the ocean that humans can’t, making them effective for security. A Russian news agency reported Thursday that “the combat dolphin program in the Crimean city of Sevastopol will be preserved and redirected toward the interests of the Russian navy.”

    Obama says government should stop collecting, holding bulk phone data: http://rtvote.com/1pcb9JM
    The United States expressed outrage when former contractor to the National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government collected data from people’s telephones. President Obama said Thursday that the government is trying to stop collecting phone records and wants to leave that up to phone carriers, who would then provide suspicious activity to counterterrorism agencies. Other changes include the requirement that a federal judge give its approval before the government can collect phone data.

    Mudslide recovery brings tears to searchers: http://rtvote.com/OY2H42
    Firefighters and volunteer rescuers in Washington are coming to the grim reality that some people missing in the mudslide might never be found. In the beginning, there was a list of people thought to be missing after the massive mudslide leveled Oso, Washington six days ago. 140 people have since been eliminated from that list, leaving 90 people missing and 35 others who were not confirmed to be in the area when the mudslide occurred. 25 bodies have been discovered, but searchers expect that number to increase. However, due to dangerous conditions like quicksand-like mud 30-40 feet deep, ice, rain, fallen trees, and other hazards, many bodies may never be found.

    Northwestern University football players can unionize: http://rtvote.com/1g4cxai
    Athletes at Northwestern University won the right to unionize after the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago recognized the athletes as employees of the university. Northwestern plans to appeal the decision, saying that the athletes are students, not employees. However, the board saw enough evidence to believe that the students were employees; they work between 20 and 50 hours a week, get paid through scholarships, and bring millions of dollars in revenue to the university. The students filed the petition to “get a seat at the bargaining table in college sports,” receive better medical coverage and concussion tests, be offered full four-year scholarships, and potentially get paid.

    CULTURAL

     Get the scoop on the Psych series finale: http://rtvote.com/1g4fs2O

    Zac Efron punched in the face during a fight: http://rtvote.com/1pA3pPY

    Joan Rivers attacks Lena Dunham’s weight: is a celebrity feud brewing? http://rtvote.com/1rFLueK

    The reviews for Noah are in! See what the critics are saying: http://rtvote.com/1o4x5cI 

    Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum steal the show in their Jupiter Ascending trailer: http://rtvote.com/1jRq3BL

    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: Thursday, February 27, 2014

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoes SB 1062; Michelle Obama supports the FDA’s new rules for food labels; President Obama unveils “My Brother’s Keeper”; and NASA discovers 715 new planets. Meanwhile, Seth Rogan goes to Washington; Fast & Furious 7 resumes production soon; and it’s almost Oscar Night: see the nominees one more time!

    - Veronica + Maura

     CRUCIAL

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes anti-gay bill: http://rtvote.com/1hshIoc
    Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, the highly controversial Arizona bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to or turn away members of the LGBT community based on religious beliefs. Brewer said in a statement: “I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.” Opponents to the bill praised Brewer, while supporters of the bill believed the veto was a shot to religious freedom.

    Obama to detail program to help minority youth: http://rtvote.com/1fLN6xW
    President Obama will announce details on his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative on Thursday. The initiative is a partnership between businesses, organizations, and the government that will hopefully help “high risk” minority men stay out of jail through skills training. Several philanthropic groups have already pledged to funnel $200 million over the next five years into the program. The Obama administration and the organizations involved will analyze the effectiveness of existing programs that have similar aims as “My Brother’s Keeper” does and figure out how they can be reformed or maintained to improve effectiveness.

    Nutrition labels getting a makeover: http://rtvote.com/1ccfA5d
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed changing the nutrition labels found on every packaged food and drink. New labels would put a heavier focus on calories per serving and percent daily value, and the serving sizes will be changed to reflect the average amount of the product people consume. First Lady Michelle Obama is vehemently supporting the changes, saying in a press release that the new labels will “make a big difference for families all across the country.”

    Seoul: N. Korea fired short-range missiles into sea: http://rtvote.com/1ftGjum
    South Korean officials report that North Korea fired four short-range missiles into the sea on Thursday in an apparent protest of military exercises occurring between the United States and South Korea. Pyongyang believes that these exercises are a “rehearsal for invasion”. The launch could also be a plea for international attention in order to obtain more aid negotiations from foreign countries.

    NASA discovers 715 new planets: http://rtvote.com/1gEUNE6
    NASA announced Wednesday that they have found 715 new planets, making it the largest planetary discovery in history. To put this in perspective, before the announcement, there had been 1,000 planets discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. Four of these planets, scientists believe, have the potential to support life. The four are each about twice the size of Earth, and one orbits a star half the size of the sun every 30 days. The planets were discovered using the Kepler space observatory’s telescope. Launched in 2009, these 715 planets are only from Kepler’s first two years in space, meaning there could be more to come.

    CULTURAL

    Watch Seth Rogan in Congress! http://rtvote.com/1jDz3v7

    More Bieber drama after police release footage: http://rtvote.com/1jDzrKf

    Are Matthew Bellamy and Kate Hudson breaking up? http://rtvote.com/1cq4nZk 

    Fast & Furious 7 scheduled to resume production in April: http://rtvote.com/1eqa9OS

    Quick refresher before Oscars Sunday: see the nominees! http://rtvote.com/1mIZq7C

    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: Thursday, January 24, 2014

    Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

    A strange new agency is being formed in Florida; a young Illinois girl murders her younger sister; a supernova provides a spectacle for astronomers both amateur and professional; and polls about the United States’ beliefs on income inequality are released. Meanwhile, the story everyone is talking about: Justin Bieber’s arrest; a new celebrity couple become engaged; and some of the biggest ‘90’s stars are returning to TV for the Super Bowl.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Good with people? Willing to capture crocodile, if needed? Apply now! http://rtvote.com/KNOPr5
    Advertisements for “crocodile response agents” have been circulating around Florida due to the increasing number of crocodiles being born. To be considered, a person must be “flexible, mature, a good listener, and non-confrontational,” although experience is optional. Crocodiles have been moving back into residential areas along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Florida Keys. The program currently consists of nine agents who make $25 an hour.

    Girl, 14, stabs sister 40 times because she felt unappreciated: http://rtvote.com/1dyGJst
    An 11-year-old Illinois girl is dead after being stabbed nearly 40 times by her older sister. The sister initially called the police using an intruder as a cover story, but later confessed to the crime when questioned. The 14-year-old sister was angry at her sister for not appreciating all that she did for her. She has been arrested and charged with murder.

    Supernova! Exploding star lights up nearby Cigar Galaxy: http://rtvote.com/1iqKrMZ
    A supernova, also known as an exploding star, has just become visible in the night sky. It is located between the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper and is so bright that it is easily visible for people to see through a telescope (or even a pair of binoculars) in the Northern Hemisphere. The phenomenon is approximately 12 million light-years away from Earth. Although exciting to behold, astronomers may be able to use the supernova to help study dark energy.

    Poll: United we stand on wealth gap: http://rtvote.com/1f9qlna
    A new poll shows that 65% of Americans surveyed believe that the gap between the wealthiest people and the rest has increased. People also believe that the system “unfairly favors the wealthy.” Interestingly enough, nearly the same percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents also believe that inequality is growing, and a majority of those surveyed believes that the government must take action to curb inequality. 

    CULTURAL

    Justin Bieber arrested for DUI and drag racing: http://rtvote.com/1hOxIRb 

    A Full House reunion commercial during the Super Bowl: is an even bigger reunion in the works? http://rtvote.com/1mx973E

    Megan Park and Tyler Hilton are engaged! http://rtvote.com/1f9hxh5

    Ralph Lauren returns to design the 2014 United States Olympic uniforms. See the pictures here: http://rtvote.com/1f9i8i

    He’s back! Bill Cosby returns to NBC to star in a new family comedy: http://rtvote.com/1egECdY

    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: October 22, 2013

    Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

    The U.S.’s drone strikes are being heavily criticized internationally; many mourn the death of a heroic teacher, who passed during a school shooting Monday; and the unemployment rate dropped only slightly, but things may not be as bad as they seem. Meanwhile, Kim and Kanye are engaged, and Pauly D is now a father!

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL 

    Six Key Parts of a New Report That May Change Your View on Droneshttp://rtvote.com/1eGD9Qz
    A report has been issued by the international NGO Human Rights Watch, that accuses the U.S. of failing to comply with international law in its use of drones to fight counterterrorism. The author, Letta Tayler, focuses on six specific drone strikes that caused the death of 82 people; at least 57 of the casualties were civilians. Non-governmental organizations, like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have criticized the civilian deaths as well as the Obama administration’s continued approval of drone strikes when no imminent threat is defined.

    Meeting set over Iraq veteran’s SpongeBob gravestonehttp://rtvote.com/1fT9nuN
    Kimberly Walker, 28, was an Iraq veteran and a lover of SpongeBob Squarepants. The Army vet was beaten and strangled in a Colorado hotel room, and her boyfriend, another Army soldier, has been charged with her murder. Her family ordered a seven-foot headstone of Mr. Squarepants, clad in an Army uniform, to be erected in her honor. However, cemetery officials have deemed it inappropriate for a traditional resting ground. They have removed the headstone and are meeting with the family to discuss alternative options.

    Nevada school shooting victim was ‘trained to help’http://rtvote.com/1eGHvHe
    Michael Landsberry, a math teacher at Sparks Middle School in Nevada, is a hero. On Monday, he was shot and killed in the school shooting. Mr. Landsberry, an adored teacher, husband, father, and member of the Nevada Air National Guard, stepped in front of another male student who seemed to be the shooter’s next target. Mr. Landsberry calmly tried to stop the shooter and was subsequently killed. The targeted male student was not harmed. The Monday shooting left two students wounded, and the shooter also took his own life.

    First Take: Not many jobs – but the right kindhttp://rtvote.com/19s1jw5
    Reports reveal that only 148,000 jobs were added in September – 32,000 short of expectations. Unemployment dropped from August’s 7.3% to 7.2%. However, a closer look at the types of jobs gained gives us more optimism about the future. Several sectors essential for a 2014 recovery benefitted from these job gains; among them are construction, government, business services, transportation, and retailing.

    Facebook lets beheading clips return to social networkhttp://rtvote.com/19s3Whr
    Facebook temporarily banned decapitation clips in May after a slew of complaints claimed that these videos could cause long-term psychological damage. The social media firm has brought them back because they believe users should be free to watch, share, and condemn such videos and behaviors. Many have critiqued the firm for its actions, including some of Facebook’s own staff members. The social media site has updated its terms and conditions to state that any photos or videos that “glorify violence” will be removed, among other banned material.
     

    CULTURAL

    Melissa McCarthy: ‘I picked the coat!’, http://rtvote.com/1gC3Een

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Engaged, http://rtvote.com/1eGRSLc

    Kelly Clarkson’s Country Wedding: Details on the Dress, Venue, and More, http://rtvote.com/1fTm09j

    Pauly D is a Dad! Jersey Shore Alum “Very Excited” About Newborn Daughter, http://rtvote.com/1gC57RF

    sandywu
    Bio:

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