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    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: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Uganda’s Anti-Gay christian mafia has American ties; a Virginia Senator called pregnant women “hosts” to unborn children; and Governor Bobby Jindal was rather rude at a recent White House Press Conference. Meanwhile, Paula Patton and Robin Thicke are separating; Lena Dunham will host SNL for the first time; and Ellen Pompeo killed her Charlie Sheen impression.

    -Gianna & Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Hillary, ‘The Family,’ and Uganda’s Anti-Gay Christian Mafia: http://rtvote.com/1et5x5
    The President of Uganda recently signed into law anti-gay legislation that establishes a crime of “aggravated homosexuality” which includes acts where one person is infected with HIV, “serial offenders,” and sex with minors. The maximum sentence for “Aggravated Homosexuality” is life in prison. The legislation was crafted by David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan Parliament and core member of the American Evangelical Christians called “The Family”. “The Family” proudly calls itself the “Christian Mafia” and for over 75 years “The Family”s main goal has been to consecrate America to God.

    Virginia senator under fire after calling pregnant women ‘hosts’ to unborn babies: http://rtvote.com/1mvWXty
    Virginia Senator Steve Martin is under fire after his Facebook response to a letter from a pro-choice coalition. The letter from the coalition reportedly stated, “All women deserve access to their full range of reproductive health options — including preventing unintentional pregnancies, raising healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion.” Senator Martin responded to the letter by saying, “Once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.” Needless to say, Senator Martin received various hate mail, nasty grams, vile comments and death threats after his very controversial Facebook post.

    Bobby Jindal rips Obama at bipartisan White House event: http://rtvote.com/1cLJ8nU
    After the National Governors Association’s annual meeting, the governors held a press conference and many spoke on the need to emphasize areas of common agreement, the concern about the recent defense spending cuts, increasing transportation and their shared contempt of Washington. Governor Pete Shumlin of Vermont said it best, “We governors actually have to get things done. It’s not like Congress down here.” But, despite positive remarks, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana stirred controversy with comments about President Obama’s leadership in the White House. He remarked that “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy” and also accused President Obama of “ waving the white flag of surrender job growth.”

    Amid the coverage of Ukraine, is a crisis in Venezuela being ignored?: http://rtvote.com/1fQMwLJ
    Unless you’ve been completely absent from TV, Social Media or The Internet, then there’s a 99 percent chance that you’ve heard about the crisis in Ukraine. However, as the crisis in Venezuela continues to grow, many are wondering why it hasn’t received equal media attention in comparison to the extensive coverage on Ukraine. A Venezuelan-born journalist, Mariana Atencio, made a remark that shed light on the situation for the media: “The domestic media blackout imposed by President Nicolas Maduro makes coverage by international outlets all the more crucial.” We’ll have to keep an eye out as this story develops, but the Venezuelan crisis is crucial and definitely should be a big news story.

    CULTURAL 

    Ellen Pompeo Does a Killer Charlie Sheen Impression: http://rtvote.com/OyP8YK

    Lena Dunham Set to Host Saturday Night Live For the First Time: http://rtvote.com/1fnifU0

    Reese Witherspon and Usher Play Catch Phrase on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon—Watch Now!: http://rtvote.com/1fnirm1

    Late Night With Seth Meyers Premiere: 10 Things to Know About Amy Poehler, Joe Biden and the Big Night: http://rtvote.com/1jxlGMZ

    Robin Thicke and Paula Patton Split: Inside Their Roller Coaster Past Year Together: http://rtvote.com/1etlvgv

    Gianna Judkins
    Bio: My name is Gianna Judkins& I'm a proud Angeleno. I'm also a Political Science Major at Howard University. I pride myself in being Michelle Obama's biggest fan and always being "FLOTUS Inspired”! As a Political Science major, my ultimate goal is to one day call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue my office. I'm a very determined young woman who understands the power of education and value of hard work while striving to achieve my goal of being one of the nation's next great leaders. I'm not that serious all the time though, for fun I enjoying singing in the choir and hanging out with friends.

    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