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    News Round-Up: November 21, 2013

    Thursday, November 21st, 2013

    Partisan gridlock continues as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid considers a ‘nuclear option’; Congressman Radel (R-Fla) is busted for cocaine purchase but doesn’t resign; and a volcanic eruption has led to the arrival of a tiny new island in Japan. Meanwhile, Miley is at it again! as she bleaches her eyebrows & posts to Instagram; an O.C. cast member and former Gossip Girl star are set to get hitched; and Jennifer Lawrence gets teased by her Catching Fire co-stars.
    - Maura + Veronica

    CRUCIAL 

    Harry Reid may go ‘nuclear’ Thursday, http://rtvote.com/1h50yii
    Tension and dysfunction in Washington, D.C. continues and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is poised to do something about it. After a slew of executive nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was thwarted by Republicans, Senator Reid may move toward a historic change to the Senate rules that would eliminate the filibuster on most nominations as soon as Thursday. If a second round of votes to choose from the nominees fails, the Senator may move to make a change of rules the Senate based on a majority vote.  Stay tuned for more as this develops.

    Rep. Trey Radel of Florida to take leave of absence after guilty plea to cocaine charge, http://rtvote.com/1ek5Anu
    On Wednesday, the 37-year-old lawmaker and freshman Congressman, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug-possession charge in D.C.  Superior Court.  He was arrested last month outside of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. after purchasing cocaine from an undercover officer. In a late night press conference Wednesday, the Congressman apologized to his constituents in Florida, but will not resign from his post.

    Karzai Says Security Pack With U.S. Should Be Signed Next Year, http://rtvote.com/1dkJWT1
    President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan signaled that a security deal with the U.S. may not be finalized until next year, even if it is ratified by a grand council of Afghan leaders this week. He asked the council to place the agreement on hold until after his successor is elected, but was unclear on what that timeline looks like. This would put a final agreement on hold and could keep American and NATO forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

    Volcano spawns new Japanese island, http://rtvote.com/1dkMlx3
    Japan is fired up! A recent undersea volcanic eruption has given Japan a tiny new patch of territory that currently measures about 660 feet in diameter and is located just off the coast of Nishinoshima. However, the country will put naming its newest addition on hold until they are sure that the sea will not engulf it.

    LRA leader Joseph Kony ‘in surrender talks’ with CAR, http://rtvote.com/1ixTmtZ
    A spokesperson of the Central African Republic (CAR) has said that it is in talks with Joseph Kony, the infamous Ugandan warlard. His rebellion in northern Uganda began more than 20 years ago and his fighters became known for abducting children to serve as sex slaves and fighters. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and the United States government has offered up $5million for any leads that result in his arrest.

    CULTURAL
    ‘Catching Fire’ stars joke about Jennifer Lawrence’s ego: ‘You can hardly talk to her’, http://rtvote.com/19KDrkq

    Lullaby time: Kelly Clarkson is expecting first baby, http://rtvote.com/1bUmY1U

    Miley Cyrus Bleaches Her Eyebrows, Parties With Miranda Kerr and Lily Allen—See the Pics!, http://rtvote.com/1aTKCab

    Leighton Meester, Adam Brody Are Engaged! Former Gossip Girl Star and O.C. Stud to Wed, http://rtvote.com/19KFepp

    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 12, 2013

    Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

    Typhoon Haiyan wreaks total havoc on the Philippines; North Korea publicly executes 80 people; and a bionic suit gives the gift of walking back to a paralyzed veteran. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Olsen joins the cast of Avengers, and Kelly Clarkson may be pregnant!!

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL 

    Typhoon Haiyan: Ships head to Philippines amid devastation,http://rtvote.com/1eHTU0x
    It has been five days since Haiyan struck the Philippines, and the super typhoon’s victims need help now more than ever. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 1,774 people have been reported dead, 2,487 reported injured, and 82 are missing. More than 580,000 people have been displaced, and 41,000 houses have been damaged. However, there are still many areas that cannot be reached; people fear the death toll has reached at least 10,000 people, and that number is expected to increase within the next few days. Survivors have lost family, friends, and now struggle to find food and clean water. International aid and relief efforts are being organized.

    North Korea executes 80, some for minor offenses, newspaper says,http://rtvote.com/1hCVxi8
    The daily JoongAng Ilbo, one of South Korea’s largest newspapers, has reported on the gruesome public executions of 80 people in North Korea. Authorities in Wonsan, North Korea, gathered more than 10,000 residents in a stadium and forced them to watch officials brutally execute the “condemned” with sprays of machine-gun fire. The 80 people were hooded and tied to poles as they awaited their impending deaths on stage. The minor offenses that led to these fatal punishments included watching South Korean entertainment videos, possessing a Bible, or disseminating pornography.

    A wounded warrior, walking tallhttp://rtvote.com/1cRwCFu
    Former Army special ops officer Gary Linfoot has been paralyzed below the waist since 2008 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. On Veterans Day, Linfoot stood tall and took a walk around the Statue of Liberty, thanks to a bionic suit created by Ekso Bionics. Linfoot is the first vetertan to receive the suit, which acts like a wearable robot, for personal use.

    Toronto Mayor Says ‘I’m Not Going Anywhere’http://rtvote.com/1j20i02
    Despite mounting pressure from Toronto’s City Council, Mayor Rob Ford refuses to step down from office. A City Council member, Denzil Minnan-Wong, has filed a motion that asks the province of Ontario to pass legislation to remove the mayor if he doesn’t agree to take a leave of absence. If the motion fails, which seems likely, then Ford will continue to govern so long as he is not convicted of a crime.

    Details emerge in shooting death of woman seeking help,http://rtvote.com/1fz1nfX
    Renisha McBride, 19, was seen speeding down a street before she struck a parked vehicle, got out of her car, and fled the scene. More than two hours later, she was shot in the face by a man, 54, who told police he thought someone was breaking into his Dearborn Heights home. He claims his 12-gauge shotgun discharged accidentally. McBride’s family believes she was seeking help and was racially profiled. Dearborn Heights police said last week that there is no indication that race has anything to do with the shooting. The investigation is ongoing.

     

    CULTURAL 

    Justin Bieber walks off stage – again, http://rtvote.com/1bmIUz1

    Kate Upton Up for Entourage Movie Role: Report, http://rtvote.com/1ank7gn

    Elizabeth Olsen Joins Cast of Avengers Sequel, Age of Ultron,http://rtvote.com/1hDaf8A

    Kelly Clarkson Hints She May Be Pregnant on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,http://rtvote.com/1dm9c7d

    sandywu
    Bio:

    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



    News Round-Up: Monday, December 17th, 2012

    Monday, December 17th, 2012

    Newtown, CT’s first child victims will be buried today; Rep. Tim Scott will replace South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint; Boehner offers a surprising debt-ceiling increase in his new “fiscal cliff” plan; anti-constitution Egyptians continue their protests; and a blast in Pakistan kills fifteen. Meanwhile, “The Hobbit” breaks December box office records, and both Kelly Clarkson and Deadmau5 announce engagements.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    NEWTOWN PLANS BURIALS AS SCHOOL’S FUTURE DEBATED, http://bit.ly/12jDl2X
    The first two child victims of Friday’s Newtown, CT shooting will be buried today. The people of Newtown, CT are still grieving after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, where Adam Lanza, 20, opened fire on students and teachers. On Sunday, President Obama met with victims’ families and gave a speech about the tragedy that left 20 children and 6 adults dead. “We’re just now getting ready to talk to our son about who was killed,” said Robert Licata, a father whose son escaped. Officials in the town have yet to decide when school will resume and if they will reopen Sandy Hook Elementary.

    Ex-babysitter says Newtown, Conn. school shooter Adam Lanza’s mother warned: Don’t turn your back, http://cbsn.ws/XxT3SM
    The former babysitter for Newtown, CT shooter, Adam Lanza, has said that Lanza’s mother warned him to “never turn my back” on her son. A former security director at Newtown High School has also come forward, telling reporters that school officials were afraid Lanza “could hurt himself” and assigned him a school psychologist as a freshman. Lanza, 20, killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT before turning the gun on himself. Earlier that morning, he killed his mother in the house they shared.

    Tim Scott to Be Named for Empty South Carolina Senate Seat, Republicans Say, http://nyti.ms/UD6iAw
    South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is set to name Republican Rep. Tim Scott as Senator Jim DeMint’s replacement. DeMint announced two weeks ago that he would be stepping down to head the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Scott will be the first black Senator to represent South Carolina in more than 100 years. Haley will announce DeMint’s replacement at noon today.

    Boehner offers debt-ceiling increase in cliff compromise, http://wapo.st/SBBp3Z
    On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner proposed a “fiscal cliff” plan that offered to push the debt limit off for a year, leverage that Republicans did not want to give up. Boehner also offered to increase taxes on millionaires; however, the White House rejected his proposal saying the increase amount was not enough.

    Protests planned against Egypt charter vote, http://aje.me/TVQQza
    Egyptians who oppose the country’s draft constitution have taken to the streets after the first round of voting on the document. The National Salvation Front has encouraged its members to protest and “defend their freedoms, prevent fraud, and reject the draft constitution.” Islamists who support the constitution claimed victory after the first ballots were cast. President Mohamed Morsi has said that this particular constitution is crucial for the country’s future.

    Two wounded in theater shooting, http://bit.ly/Tq1X4O
    San Antonio police have arrested a suspect in connection with a movie theater shooting that left two wounded Sunday night. The shooter opened fire in a local restaurant and then moved on to the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 Theatre where movie-goers took cover before a law enforcement official intervened. The suspect also shot at a police car.

    Blast in Pakistani market kills at least 15 people, http://reut.rs/ULo4Cv
    At least 15 are dead and 20 wounded after a bomb exploded in a Pakistani market near the country’s border with Afghanistan. The attack seems to have taken place near a government official, but it’s unclear whether or not he was a target. Officials are uncertain if the blast was from a suicide bomber or planted explosives.

    2 KANSAS OFFICERS FATALLY SHOT OUTSIDE MARKET, http://bit.ly/ZBzwGw
    Two Topeka, KS police officers were fatally shot outside of a grocery store Sunday night. The officers were responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle parked outside the store when the 22-year-old suspect shot them both in the head. “It’s clearly beyond words,” Topeka Police Chief Ronald Miller said. “It’s unspeakable almost about why this happens and why this is happening in America at this stage in our history.”

    CULTURAL:

    School stumped by mail addressed to Indiana Jones, http://bit.ly/12u113w

    Box office report: ‘The Hobbit’ breaks December record with $84.8 million weekend, http://bit.ly/SAbRnI

    Kelly Clarkson is engaged, http://bit.ly/UM6ePI

    Brit Olympics Hero Jessica Ennis Leaves Kate Middleton Hanging On Awards-Show Handshake, Sparks National Outrage, http://deadsp.in/WgosxC

    Kat Von D and Deadmau5 Engaged! Announce News via Twitter, http://bit.ly/UuaNhe

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