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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

    CRUCIAL

    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.

    CULTURAL

    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: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

    Friday, February 21st, 2014
    A new deal is presented to end bloodshed in Ukraine; the Dalai Lama’s visit to The White House causes reaction from China; and evidence of climate change continues as the Earth experiences its fourth-warmest January on record (despite the snow and chilly temps!). Meanwhile, Christina Aguilera makes a major announcement; U.S. women’s figure skaters talk about returning for 2018 Olympic games; and Kanye West is listed as a headline for Bonaroo for a second time.

    - Austin + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    New deal is signed in Ukraine to end bloodshed http://rtvote.com/1bsPNVM
    After yesterday’s short-lived truce, it seems that violence in Ukraine might finally be settling down. Opposition leaders have signed a deal with government officials that calls for early elections and reductions of presidential power. The deal is thought to be promising because of involvement from high-level European and Russian mediators. Since anti-government protests escalated earlier this week, hundreds of Ukrainian protesters and security officers have been killed.

    China calls Dalai Lama “political exile;” criticizes White House meeting http://rtvote.com/1fFf22L
    The Dalai Lama is known around the world as a spiritual leader. But it turns out he isn’t exactly revered by all. China today posted a statement (on its website of all places!) criticizing the U.S. for meeting with the Dalai Lama. China has considered the Tibetan monk a “political exile” since 1959 because of his advocacy for autonomous rule in Tibet.

    New York reconsiders solitary confinement http://rtvote.com/1dae3XH
    Corrections officials in New York this week indicated a move to reconsider solitary confinement policies. New York has been one of the worst offenders for overusing solitary confinement, a form of punishment that isolates prisoners for as much as 23 hours a day. What’s worse, the average length of stay in solitary confinement for New York prisons is five months. Clearly, the state is in need of reform and this is widely seen as a progressive move towards more humane treatment of prison populations. Kudos to New York.

    Earth has fourth-warmest January on record http://rtvote.com/1l5p2tu
    It’s been pretty cold on the East Coast this year, but this is by no means an indication of global averages. The Earth as a whole experienced its fourth-warmest January on record, marking the 38th straight year that January temperatures have been higher than 20th century averages. This definitely makes you think twice about the existence of climate change!

    German athlete tests positive for doping at Sochi games http://rtvote.com/1jQP28z
    For shame! Germany’s Olympic committee announced that one of Germany’s Olympic athletes has tested positive for illegal performance-enhancing drugs, although they declined to release the athlete’s name. USA Today reports that this is the first positive test of the Sochi games. Germany has won 16 Olympic medals in Sochi so far, including 8 gold.

    CULTURAL

    Lena Dunham: Jezebel’s $10,000 Vogue Retouching Expose “Was Messed Up”, “Felt Gross”, http://rtvote.com/1h5sCQG

    Grace Gold , Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds Talk About Figure Skating Results, Eyeing Return for 2018 Olympic Games, http://rtvote.com/1fhw5Ny

    Christina Aguilera Is Pregnant! Newly-Engaged Expecting Second Child, http://rtvote.com/MIEEVz

    Kanye West Headlines Bonaroo, take 2. How’s this going to play out?, http://rtvote.com/1fhwDmw

    SPOILER ALERT: Kate Mara’s Done Lying about House of Cards and That Huge Twist, http://rtvote.com/1jV7PD1

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    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: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

    The U.S. Senate sheds new light on the attack in Benghazi; new details are released in the New Mexico middle school shooting; and Governor Chris Christie of NJ addresses “Bridgegate” in his State of the State address. Meanwhile, 2014 gets off to a rocky start for Justin Bieber and Kanye West after two high-profile incidents.

    Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Senate report: Attack on U.S. compound in Benghazi could have been prevented: http://rtvote.com/1j7nle7
    The bipartisan report on the 2012 attack on the United States compound in Benghazi, Libya shows that the State Department was warned about the potential for attack but did not increase security around the compound. The report also blames intelligence agencies for not discussing CIA outpost locations within the U.S. military. However, the report does not discuss in depth whether the Obama administration downplayed the attacks, saying that no one knew when the attacks were to occur.

    Shooter may have warned some students: http://rtvote.com/1b39JIV
    The 12-year-old suspect accused of opening fire in a New Mexico middle school’s gymnasium yesterday morning may have warned certain students against coming to school early. This discovery is currently being investigated by police, along with other claims. So far, police have not been able to determine a motive for the shooting; however, the shooter is in custody. Two students were injured in the attack.

    Can Christie change the subject? http://rtvote.com/Kj1Nfm
    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered his State of the State address yesterday. He acknowledged the mistakes his administration has made recently in regards to the closing of bridge lanes on the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee (dubbed “Bridgegate”). After apologizing, Christie tried to change the subject to focus on more pressing policy issues in the state. However, many people believe that Christie’s reputation is now too tarnished to allow a potential presidential bid in 2016.

    CBS airs video of chaotic scene at Asiana crash site: http://rtvote.com/1hqMYnc
    CBS has recently released video footage of firefighters and emergency personnel tending to survivors and the wreckage of the Asiana plane crash. The crash occurred last summer at San Francisco airport. The story received national attention not only due to the crash, but also because of the death of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan, who survived the crash but was struck and killed by a fire truck at the scene.

    Va. Democrat Jim Moran to retire from Congress: http://rtvote.com/1eDrVLC
    After serving twelve Congressional terms, Representative Jim Moran will not run for re-election.  Moran, an occasionally combative and passionate member of Congress, represents Virginia’s 8th District. His retirement could potentially create a heated primary election because of the 8th District’s reputation as being a Democratic stronghold.

    CULTURAL 

    Police raid Justin Bieber’s house after incident: http://rtvote.com/1m7g7nA 

    Are Johnny Depp and girlfriend Amber Heard engaged? http://rtvote.com/K2E17V

    How Harry Connick Jr. can save American Idol: http://rtvote.com/1m7gs9M

    Kanye West allegedly assaults a young man: http://rtvote.com/1aoR914 

    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: November 26, 2013

    Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

    The Supreme Court will hear Hobby Lobby’s case that challenges Obamacare’s birth control coverage requirement; Hollywood partakes in animal cruelty; and the CIA has turned Guantanamo Bay prisoners into double agents. Meanwhile, Seth Rogen and James Franco make a painfully funny spoof of Kim and Kanye’s “Bound 2” video, and Kendall Jenner puts some Harry Styles rumors to rest.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Supreme Court to take up Obamacare contraception casehttp://rtvote.com/1aVZJTO
    The Supreme Court has accepted an Obamacare law appeal over contraception coverage. The court justices will review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay. The issue of focus is whether private companies and non-profits can refuse this, based on the claim that it violates their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby, Inc. is one of the plaintiffs.

    ‘Pretty Woman’ producer says he was Israeli spyhttp://rtvote.com/1bl239I
    The Israeli-born producer behind Hollywood hits, like Pretty WomanFight Club, and L.A. Confidential, has revealed that he used to serve as an Israeli spy for years. Arnon Milchan said he helped buy technologies and arms on Israel’s behalf to operate nuclear bombs. The producer also said other big Hollywood names were connected to his covert affairs.

    Sandy Hook killer took motive to his gravehttp://rtvote.com/194lkGA
    Connecticut authorities have released a 44-page summary of their investigation on Adam Lanza – the shooter behind Newton’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza’s motive behind the atrocious crime remains a mystery, and he gave “no clear indication” that he planned the Sandy Hook killings. Lanza’s mental illness, reclusion, and obsession with school shootings are detailed in the report.

    Animals Were Harmed: Hollywood’s Nightmare of Death, Injury, and Secrecy Exposed,http://rtvote.com/1exhrP2
    Too many Hollywood films and television shows, including Life of PiThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, HBO’sLuck, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (the list goes on), have caused the brutal injuries and deaths of animals on set. The “No Animals Were Harmed” trademark accreditation in the ending credits means nothing anymore. It’s time to own up to animal cruelty, Hollywood… and it’s time for us to stop it.

    Penny Lane: Gitmo’s other secret CIA facilityhttp://rtvote.com/1hfZdVQ
    After 9/11, the CIA made double agents out of some Guantanamo Bay prisoners. They trained them and sent them home to help the U.S. kill former and current terrorists. The prisoners/double agents were promised freedom, the safety of their families, and some very hefty bags of money from the CIA’s secret accounts. The program was carried out in a secret facility, nicknamed Penny Lane, located yards away from the Guantanamo Bay prison. This has some heavy-duty controversy written all over it.

     

    CULTURAL

    Kim Kardashian Thinks Seth Rogen and James Franco’s “Bound 2” Parody Is…, http://rtvote.com/17QURPH

    Demi Lovato: “I Would Rather Sacrifice My Privacy to Help People,” http://rtvote.com/1bSyasn

    Kendall Jenner Breaks Her Silence About Harry Styles Dating Rumors: “We’re Friends,” http://rtvote.com/Il8pd3

    Kristen Bell Had to Make “Pretend Love” to Her Best Friend’s Husband Hours After Getting Married,http://rtvote.com/Il97Hu

    sandywu
    Bio:

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