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    News Round-Up: Thursday, March 20th, 2014

    Thursday, March 20th, 2014

    Searchers have yet to find the debris captured on a satellite image that could reveal Flight 370’s fate; Obama announces new sanctions against Russia as they move into Crimea; Police find over 100 illegal immigrants in a one-story house in Houston; and the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church has died. Meanwhile, Emilia Clarke talks about an embarrassing audition and Kim Kardashian gets a unique makeover.

    -Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    No sign of mystery objects as Australia suspends search for the day: http://rtvote.com/1nGw8XV
    A satellite captured images of what people believed to be debris in the Indian Ocean, prompting a search Thursday by Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Norway. The satellite captured objects 14 miles apart in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, about 1,500 miles from Australia. Unfortunately, no one was able to find the debris before nightfall. Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s interim Transportation Secretary said “[The debris] gives us hope. As long as there’s hope, we will continue.” Searches will resume Friday.

    Russian parliament moves to ratify Crimea takeover; Obama announces new sanctions: http://rtvote.com/1jbHywh
    President Obama said Thursday that the United States would be imposing more sanctions against Russia to respond to, in his words, “Crimea’s ‘illegal’ secession referendum and Russia’s ‘illegitimate move’ to annex Crimea.” Obama said that top Russian officials, other individuals, and a bank with ties to Russia will be sanctioned. Despite this, Ukraine’s power in Crimea is waning, with upcoming Ukrainian troop withdrawal, the closure of Ukrainian banks in the region, and the takeover of Ukrainian military bases. The Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta began printing in the Crimea region and issued passports to Crimea residents.

    Disgraced Army general, Jeffrey A. Sinclair, gets $20,000 fine, no jail time: http://rtvote.com/1dfYnbo
    General Jeffery Sinclair, who admitted to having inappropriate relations with three women (including an affair with one, a military crime), was fined $20,000 by a military judge and will not serve jail time. Sinclair had been charged with sexually assaulting and threatening the woman he had an affair with. The Army ended up dropping the sexual assault charge and agreed to a plea bargain. The monetary outcome could become worse for Sinclair; he will drop down to a lower rank when it comes time for him to retire, which would lower his benefits.

    NJ teen arrested after reaching top of World Trade Center: http://rtvote.com/1eq5rjO
    Weehawken, NJ teen Justin Casquejo managed to bypass security at the World Trade Center in New York City and get all the way to the top. The 16-year-old climbed through a hole in a fence at around 4:10am, climbed the scaffolding, and got into the building. He also managed to steer clear of a guard on the 104th floor, who has been fired. He was arrested inside the WTC at 6am and his cell phone and camera were seized and searched.

    Police find more than 100 immigrants in stash house: http://rtvote.com/1d40sab
    Houston Police found over 100 illegal immigrants living in a one-story stash house in horrendous conditions.  The house had only one toilet (that only half-worked), no hot water, and deadbolts on the doors, preventing the immigrants from leaving until the person responsible for getting them across the boarder was paid more money. The immigrants were made up of 94 adult men, 14 women (including one pregnant woman), and two elementary school-aged children. Police turned the immigrants over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and arrested 5 smugglers.

    Fred Phelps, fierce campaigner against homosexuality, dies: http://rtvote.com/1g4Yupt
    The leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has died at the age of 84. Phelps and his church followers gained notoriety for picketing military funerals and protesting against gays and Jews, prompting both President Obama and President Bush to sign laws creating a buffer zone for funerals. Phelps also occasionally ran for political office; in 1992, he ran for the US Senate in Kansas but lost in the primary round.

    CULTURAL

    Emilia Clarke talks about her embarrassing audition for her best-known role: http://rtvote.com/1jbZEOR

    Watch the latest Maleficent trailer! http://rtvote.com/1jc03AU

    Kim Kardashian gets a make…under? http://rtvote.com/1pfmKpm

    Leighton Meester takes a turn at Broadway: http://rtvote.com/1r0cgOs

    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: Friday, May 31, 2013

    Friday, May 31st, 2013

    A U.S. woman is freed from Mexican jail; a Texas man becomes person of interest in ricin-letter investigation; Arvind Mahankali wins the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee; Defense Secretary Hagal talks cyber-security; video shows Boston bombings suspects at a gym three days before attacks; more storms hit the midwest; a woolly mammoth carcass is found in Russia; a Michigan woman is reported dead in Syria; and Obama pushed Congress to do something about student loan interest rates by July 1. Meanwhile, a park employee pleads not guilty to a dry ice blast at Disneyland, and Philip Seymour Hoffman enters rehab for narcotic abuse.

    Maura + Alexis

    CRUCIAL:

    U.S. woman held in Mexico on drug smuggling charge freed, http://cbsn.ws/Zi9V4y
    An Arizona woman was freed from a Mexico jail after spending a week there on a suspected drug smuggling charge. Thanks to security footage from the bus, she was proven not guilty and was let go. Yanira Maldonado was arrested by the Mexican military last week after they found 12 pounds of pot under her bus seat at a security checkpoint. Maldonado was released from prison late Thursday night.

    Ricin-letter investigation identifies Texas man as person of interest, http://cbsn.ws/13oXaEW
    A Texas man was identified as a suspect Thursday in the case of ricin-laced threat letters sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and to President Obama. Police have not yet arrested him. The man is merely being questioned by the FBI at this point.

    Arvind Mahankali Wins The 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, http://huff.to/ZhV1v6
    Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-oldl from Queens, N.Y., wins the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee. He won the spelling bee with the word “knaidel,” a German derived Yiddish word that means a small mass of dough, like a dumpling. Mahankali had tied for ninth in 2010, tied for third in 2011, finished third in 2012 and finally won in 2013.

    Cyber threats pose ‘stealthy, insidious’ danger: defense chief, http://reut.rs/18CPAtm
    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke today about cyber threats and their ability to pose a “quiet, stealthy, insidious” danger to the US and other nations. Hagel said that he would address the topic in his speech on Saturday to the Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore. He also expressed that the issue would likely become a talking point in a brief meeting with Chinese delegates on the margins of the conference. He finished with a call to action that included creating “rules of the road” between the US and every other nation with regard to cyber conflict.

    Video shows Boston bombing suspects at gym days before attack, http://bit.ly/116PDrc
    A video shows that just three days before the Boston Marathon bombings, suspects Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev were working out at local gym. The footage shows the brothers arriving at the Wai Kru mixed marital arts center just before 2:45 p.m. April 12. The manager of the gym noticed a distinct change in Tamerlan’s appearance – no more bushy beard. Looking back, the manager wonders if the shaving of his beard may have been part of an Islamic purification ritual that takes place before death.

    More Heavy Storms on Tap for the Midwest; 3 Dead, http://abcn.ws/13q7z39
    Up to a dozen tornados hit Arkansas on Thursday as well as one in Illinois and three in Oklahoma. Nine people were injured, and at least three were killed as a result of the storms in the region. Forecasters warn that large hail and more tornados are possible today.

    Russians Find Mammoth Carcass With Liquid Blood, http://bit.ly/10D2QN5
    Russian scientists uncovered a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood on Thursday. The animal carcass was found on a remote Arctic island. Scientists are excited at the prospects of cloning the Ice Age animal. The blood found was very dark but still in its liquid form. The blood of woolly mammoths apparently did not freeze in even extremely cold temperatures in order to keep the animals warm. The animal’s muscle tissue was also found in perfect condition.

    US State Department Probes Report of Michigan Woman Killed in Syria, http://abcn.ws/15oPEuZ
    The US State Department is currently investigating reports that a US woman has been killed in Syria. Syrian state television has reported that an American woman from Michigan had been killed by government forces while fighting alongside the opposition in Idlib province. The State Department told ABC News that it is aware of what is going on and it is seeking more information through Czech protecting power. Monday, Sen. John McCain crossed the Syrian border to meet with rebel forces.

    Obama pushes Congress on student loans, http://wapo.st/11sMVMA
    President Obama urged Congress on Friday to pass a student-loan bill by July 1. Obama said “If Congress doesn’t act by July 1, federal student loan rates are set to double.” He equated this increase in loan rates to an average of $1,000 per student of additional debt. Obama was also quoted saying, “The House bill isn’t smart, and it’s not fair, so I’m asking young people [...] to make their voices heard once again.” The rates will rise automatically to 6.8% if Congress does not pass a bill by the end of the month to extend lower rates.

    CULTURAL:

    Disneyland Explosion: Park Employee Pleads Not Guilty to Dry Ice Blast, http://eonli.ne/19t6axo

    Billy Joel Gives Surprise Master Class for NYC High School Students, http://eonli.ne/19tfcKE

    Philip Seymour Hoffman Entered Detox for Narcotic Abuse, http://tmz.me/1169Mh7

    Boston Strong: Donnie Wahlberg, Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett and More Stars Come Together for Concert, http://eonli.ne/15otEjQ

    Lincoln Bell Shepard: See Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s 2-Month-Old Baby Girl!, http://eonli.ne/15mkx3j

    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



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

    Obama will announce his plan for Afghanistan tomorrow, a North Caronlina man robs a bank for health care, plaintiffs will pursue the Wal-Mart case, and we may need to take drastic efforts to keep our oceans alive.  Meanwhile, Mitt Romney remains the GOP 2012 frontrunner, while Huntsman officially launches his campaign.

    Caitlin, Katie, + Perry

    CRUCIAL:

    Obama to announce plan to pull 30,000 troops out of Afghanistan, http://bit.ly/msGyl0

    President Obama will announce tomorrow how he plans to end the war in Afghanistan. Specifically, he will address his schedule to bring troops home and how Afghanistan government will take responsibility.

    N.C. Man Allegedly Robs Bank of $1 to Get Health Care in Jail, http://abcn.ws/lzzB9y

    A 59-year-old North Carolina man robbed a bank, demanding just one dollar. What he was really after, though, was the health care he would get in prison. After handing his robbery note to the teller, he told her he would be “sitting right over here, on the chair, waiting for the police.”

    Despite Setback, Plaintiffs to Pursue Wal-Mart Cases, http://nyti.ms/jHS2xO

    The Supreme Court ruled that the 1.5 million women who worked at Wal-Mart could not file a class-action lawsuit together. The court did not make a decision on the allegation of gender discrimination, but it is a major blow to plaintiffs regardless. In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg noted that while 70% of hourly employees are women, only a third of management employees are female.

    24 killed in twin bombings in Iraq, http://wapo.st/mErDhn

    Two car bombs in south-central Iraq detonated at a compound that includes both the governor’s home and the provincial government headquarters.  Nobody died from the first detonation, but when police and emergency personnel arrived, the second car bomb exploded which killed at least 24 and injured at least 40.

    State Of The Ocean: ‘Shocking’ Report Warns Of Mass Extinction From Current Rate Of Marine Distress, http://huff.to/iPe0H3

    Scientists warn that a mass man-made extinction of marine life is on the way if drastic steps aren’t taken. All coral reefs could be gone by 2050, and oysters are already “functionally extinct” in the oceans.

    Fresh Libya civilian deaths pile pressure on NATO,
    http://yhoo.it/jkn30j

    The Libyan government reports that 19 civilians were killed in a NATO air strike on Monday.  Khouildi Hamidi, a member of Libya’s 12-strong Revolutionary Command Council, remains alive but some of his family members have been killed.  If the civilian death count is confirmed, the NATO-led military alliance could feel even more strain, as this operation is taking longer and costing more than planned.

    Montana ranks fourth-best in access for young voters, http://bit.ly/lVXIQY

    Rock the Vote’s Scorecard ranks Montana high in its treatment of young voters ages 18 to 29. “By providing Election Day registration, making the ballot box accessible and prioritizing teaching civics in high schools, Montana has addressed some of the key components of a modern and functioning elections system,” said Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote.

    (via POLITICO Breaking News)
    Jon Huntsman officially launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. “Today I’m a candidate for the office of president of the United States of America,” the former Utah governor and ambassador to China told a crowd of supporters.

    CULTURAL:

    Green Mile Actor, 51, Marries 16-Year-Old Aspiring Country Singer; Says “True Love Can Be Ageless,” http://eonli.ne/jTIuny

    Q&A: Brian Grazer And Ron Howard On 25 Years Together As Imagine Partners, http://bit.ly/jYKwGP

    Roger Ebert derided after tweet on Ryan Dunn’s death, http://bit.ly/kRi3vt

    Amy Winehouse Cancels Entire Tour, http://bit.ly/jcXqis

    Isner-Mahut II: What were the odds? http://bit.ly/lX0Hzs

    Katie Scholick
    Bio: Duke University, Class of 2013 Majoring in Psychology, Certificate in Markets and Management.

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