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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

    Arizona’s governor has yet to make a decision on the latest controversial bill; secession fears emerge in Ukraine; and a California couple finds $10 million worth of Gold Rush-era coins. Meanwhile, another celebrity couple splits; more controversy emerges for Justin Bieber; and Kanye West talks music.

    - Veronica + Maura


    Arizona governor takes time on anti-gay bill: http://rtvote.com/1mHkU4T
    Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has been pressured for days to take a stance on bill SB1062, that would allow businesses and restaurants to refuse to serve gays based on religious beliefs. People from all professions and belief systems have called on Brewer to veto the bill including: the LGBT community, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, religious leaders, business giants like Apple, and Arizona’s two senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake. The NFL is also watching the bill’s progress; if it passes, the 2015 Super Bowl’s Arizona location might be challenged. Brewer has until Saturday at 11:59pm to make her decision, but her inaction so far has drawn criticism.

    Tensions rise in Ukraine’s pro-Russian Crimea amid secession fears: http://rtvote.com/1fHdjOg
    Pro-Russian protesters faced off with pro-Ukrainian protesters in Simferopol, a city within Ukraine’s Crimea region. Some fear that Crimea, due to its extreme loyalty to Russia, will secede from Ukraine, although parliament speaker Volodimir Konstantinov has denied that there are secession plans in the works. Currently, eastern and southern Ukraine has a heavier Russian influence, while Western Ukraine favors the majority of Europe. Currently, Ukraine is trying to create a new government in the midst of the continuing political instability throughout the country.

    No bluff: US planning possible withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan: http://rtvote.com/1gCjscp
    If no security agreement is signed, the Obama administration told Afghanistan that they would withdrawal all of the United States troops that remain by the end of the year. This comes after Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, refused to sign the security agreement, which would keep American troops in Afghanistan after combat operations end this year. A Pakistani official believes that if the United States leaves Afghanistan completely, a civil war will ensue. Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah said he would sign the deal if elected.

    UAE Islamic affairs authority warns Muslims against a mission to Mars: http://rtvote.com/1ewcRhg
    The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) has issued a ruling telling Muslims not to travel to Mars, despite supporting space travel in general. The GAIAE is against travel to Mars because they believe people won’t come back: that they’ll die in space. This, they say, is similar to committing suicide because the traveler willingly went to Mars knowing he or she may not return. Suicide is strictly against Islamic principles. Mars One, the Dutch nonprofit planning the first tourist mission to outer space (through Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic) this year, issued a statement saying that human lives would not be at risk for tourism-based space travel and that the GAIAE should revoke the ruling.

    California couple unearths Gold Rush coins worth $10 million: http://rtvote.com/1jAakb3
    Two Californians stumbled upon 1,427 gold coins buried by a tree on their property while walking their dog. The discovery is believed to be “one of the greatest buried treasures ever unearthed in the United States” says the trade journal Coin Update. The coins worth $5, $10, and $20 were in mint condition and had never been circulated, though they have been dated from 1897 to 1894. Most of the coins are $20 coins minted between 1855 and 1894. Some experts say some coins could be auctioned for $1 million. No one has any idea who might have buried them. The couple plans to sell the majority of the coins on Amazon and plan on using the proceeds to help their community.


    Katy Perry and John Mayer hit splitsville: http://rtvote.com/1pthPUZ

    Justin Bieber’s security guard and driver arrested: http://rtvote.com/1llFOoy

    Kanye West to make “kid-friendly” music? http://rtvote.com/1khb5pg

    Miley Cyrus debunks some rumors: http://rtvote.com/N3mGgH

    Paul Rudd vs. Jimmy Fallon…at lip syncing: http://rtvote.com/1bM4aEN

    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 6th, 2014

    Thursday, February 6th, 2014

    An All-Star pitcher is diagnosed with cancer; NYC schools undergo some holiday changes; outrage erupts after a trial’s conclusion; another murder trial begins; and Sochi officials fire back at critics. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber makes headlines yet again; Kevin Jonas posts an adorable picture of his daughter; Jon Gosselin has some serious things to say; and Emma Watson’s Wonderland interview is out!

    - Veronica + Maura


    Curt Schilling diagnosed with cancer: http://rtvote.com/1fKY2vI
    47-year-old pitching legend Curt Schilling shocked the sports community yesterday when he revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer. He had pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Boston Red Sox, winning three World Series Championships. Schilling was due to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team this MLB season.

    NYC Schools to Get Islamic, Lunar Holidays Off: http://rtvote.com/1jiuyIO
    New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio has begun instigating some new schooling policies. Soon, NYC public schools will close for various Muslim holidays (including Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two Islamic holy days) and the Chinese New Year. De Blasio says he wants to take time to adjust school calendars to make these new changes.

    No jail for ‘affluenza’ teen in fatal car crash draws outrage: http://rtvote.com/1byx3SA
    The Texas boy responsible for hitting a group of people (killing four and injuring nine) due to driving under the influence will not receive jail time. Instead, 17-year-old Ethan Couch will be on probation for ten years and will attend rehab for an unspecified amount of time. His defense team used the ‘affluenza’ defense; this stated that Couch had been spoiled by his wealthy family and felt entitled and lacked good judgment. Psychologists believe that the future use of the affluenza defense could almost reinforce recklessness and bad judgment.

    ‘Loud music’ murder trial begins: http://rtvote.com/1eBp5t2
    The trial for the Florida man accused of shooting and killing a 17-year-old in late 2012 is being put on trial. The man, Michael Dunn, noticed an SUV was playing loud music at a gas station and asked the people inside to turn it down. Allegedly, one occupant withdrew a shotgun, prompting Dunn to grab his own gun and shoot eight times into the car, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn waited before calling police, who did not find a weapon in the SUV. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. The trial should not last until February 14th.

    Russian Officials Fire Back at Olympic Critics: http://rtvote.com/1ndDX1C
    Dmitry Kozak, the top person responsible for the Sochi Olympic preparations, has been firing back at critics, saying they have surveillance video of people purposely trying to sabotage their hotel rooms. Kozak also said they’ve only received 103 complaints after housing over 100,000 guests. Olympic athletes like American speed skater Sugar Todd say that their hotel rooms do not have any problems. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson says that Sochi’s organizers are almost definitely working to solve the problems.


    The truth behind Justin Bieber’s “Pot Plane” scandal: http://rtvote.com/1fWnDRK

    Cute pic of Kevin Jonas’s daughter! http://rtvote.com/1fL6dYS 

    Jon Gosselin spouts off some serious stuff about Kate: http://rtvote.com/1khikAc

    See parts of Emma Watson’s Wonderland interview: http://rtvote.com/N8WRfD    

    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, September 28th, 2012

    Friday, September 28th, 2012

    The alleged producer of the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” film is arrested; China’s Bo Xilai faces criminal charges; and Bank of America will pay a massive settlement in a class-action suit. Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake prepares for marriage, and Apple apologizes for its flawed map app.

    Caitlin + David


    Producer of anti-Islam film arrested, ordered held without bail, http://bit.ly/PKOJxW
    Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the alleged producer of the inflammatory anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims,” has been ordered to be held without bail following his arrest in his home in Cerritos, California. Nakoula, who also identified himself as Mark Basseley and is known to have used at least 17 false names, has been on probation since his conviction in 2010 of bank fraud. Nakoula’s lawyer has argued for a $10,000 bail, and says that his client would be in danger if put in prison due to anger over the film. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale says Nakoula engaged in a “pattern of deception” and is “a person who cannot be trusted.” Nakoula faces up to 24 months in prison for defying the terms of his probation period, which forbade him from using aliases or accessing the Internet.

    China’s Bo Xilai expelled and faces criminal charges, http://bbc.in/S5rClJ
    One of China’s most influential politicians, Bo Xilai, the former leader of the Communist Party in the city of Chongqing, has been expelled from the party and will face justice, Chinese state media has said. His wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence for her involvement in the poisoning of British national Neil Haywood, and Mr. Bo faces charges of abuse of power and corruption in a series of incidents related to the scandal. The news comes with the Communist Party of China set to elect its new leadership on November 8th. A statement made by state news outlet Xinhua says Bo “took advantage of his office to seek profits for others and received huge bribes personally and through his family” as well as having had “affairs and…improper sexual relationships with a number of women,” and urged party officials to take heed of the “negative example” set by him. Respondents on Chinese social media responded positively to the verdict, saying that “justice will prevail” on Bo, who was once on the short-list for the most important positions in the Chinese government.

    Bank of America to pay $2.43B to settle shareholder suit related to Merrill Lynch acquisition, http://wapo.st/V59GXy
    In order to settle a class-action lawsuit related to its acquisition of the investment firm Merrill Lynch during the height of the financial crisis, Bank of America has agreed to pay $2.43 billion to a group of shareholders. In September 2008, the bank purchased Merrill Lynch for $20 billion, shortly afterward disclosing that Merill Lynch was set to post $27.6 billion in losses that year. The move necessitated a $20 billion government bailout on top of the $25 billion Bank of America had already received. In their announcement of the settlement proposal, Bank of America denied the shareholders’ allegations, saying it agreed to the settlement to end the costs and uncertainty of the lawsuit.


    Joey Fatone: Marriage Will ‘Bring Out the Best’ in Justin Timberlake, http://bit.ly/OtLgXW

    Apple CEO Apologizes For Flawed Maps App, http://bit.ly/Qv73x1

    Rappers Snoop Dogg, DMX, A$ap Rocky, Mystikal and More Taking Part In BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher, http://bit.ly/RnYbc5

    PCP, Scientology & Dead Cats! More Details Emerge In Johnny Lewis’ Murder Case, http://bit.ly/QAwjSm

    David Heckman
    Bio: David is a senior English major at UMBC and Communications Intern with Rock the Vote.

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

    News Round-Up: Monday, April 11, 2011

    Monday, April 11th, 2011

    In today’s news, President Obama plans to address the nation about the deficit on Wednesday which will keep the subject front and center. In other eye-popping news, everyone’s favorite “Runaway General” McChrystal makes a comeback to public life by leading an initiative that will help the president and Mrs. Obama support military families, meanwhile Tim Pawlenty’s aggressive targeting of potential young voters gets a boost as he hires 28-year-old Nick Ayers for the big job of managing his campaign.

    Elsewhere, Facebook is headed to China (will they experience the same political woes that Google did?), Natalie Portman goes un-vegan, Charl Schwartzel out-puts Tiger et al. to win the Masters, and Rhianna finds another famous collaborator after last week’s American Country Music Awards in Britney Spears.


    Obama Puts Taxes on Table, http://on.wsj.com/erKwmz

    President Obama will speak about the deficit on Wednesday, after remaining quiet for some time. He plans to lay out his goals of increasing taxes for the wealthy, reducing defense spending, and cutting from both Medicare and Medicaid.

    McChrystal to Lead Program for Military Families, http://nyti.ms/gwVziq

    Obama asked General Stanley A. McChrystal to oversee the support for military families initiative, despite the fact that the General was forced to retire after Rolling Stone “quoted his subordinates as disparaging senior civilian leaders.” The goal of the program is to support our forces who have voluntarily fought during the last decade of war.

    Police Detain Women Protesting on First Day of French Islamic Veil Ban, http://wapo.st/efgoEu

    After the law banning the niqab, a veil worn by a small group of Muslim women that reveals only their eyes, took affect in France today many women came out in protest, and some were taken by the police for participating in an unauthorized protest. Veiled women can be charged up to $215, and people who force women to wear the veil will pay a much heftier fee.

    Facebook Goes to China: A Test of Zuckerberg’s Values, http://bit.ly/gjsIg9

    Zuckerberg has made a deal with China’s largest search engine to develop a a website that will meet censorship laws in China. A number of problems exist with the creation, such as who will monitor posts and status updates, how this will be handled remains to be seen.

    Tim Pawlenty Taps Nick Ayers as Campaign Manager, http://bit.ly/gp6Y4w

    Tim Pawlenty hired a 28 year old with an impressive resume to be the campaign manager for his presidential exploratory committee. Nick Ayers served as the executive director of RGA at age 24.

    Nial Ferguson on when social media goes bad: http://bit.ly/hftKsV

    Andrew Brandt highlights the NFL courtroom showdown: http://huff.to/g1naXi


    Pregnant Natalie Portman quits being vegan: http://bit.ly/hHIcPf

    Queens of Pop Britney and Rihanna team up: http://bit.ly/i4HbEL

    Jersey Short casts gets huge pay raise for Season 4: http://bit.ly/fzl6x7

    NJ Nets fined $50,000 for Jay-Z’s mishap: http://on.mtv.com/fuNOck

    Taylor Lautner talks Twihard tattoos: http://on.mtv.com/fPvQbN

    Charl Schwartzel trounces Tiger to win Masters: http://ti.me/dPXTsz

    Albums art meets book covers: http://bit.ly/i3sg3K

    Heather Reid
    Bio: Heather is Rock the Vote's Field Intern.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com