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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

    The State of the Union Address was delivered last night; southern states are caught completely unprepared for snowfall; Congressman threatens reporter; and reading gap due to wealth increases. Meanwhile, Bieber returns to the States; Miley and Madonna sing a duet on MTV; a possible real-life love triangle surfaces in Hollywood; and a famous rock and roll band calls it quits.

    - Veronica + Maura


    State of the Union: Obama calls for action, with or without Congress: http://rtvote.com/1fwyC2L
    Last night marked the delivery of President Obama’s fifth State of the Union Address. The address called for changes to the tax code, investment in alternative energy, and equal pay for women. President Obama received a standing ovation when he encouraged Congress to work alongside him instead of against him, and brought tears to the eyes of many Americans when telling the story of Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, an injured war veteran. Overall, a majority of viewers believed that the policies listed in the address will help the economy, and the address was generally well-received.

    Stranded, cold motorists spend nights on freeways after rare snow in South: http://rtvote.com/1k7ijfI
    Travelers in Alabama and Georgia were left in traffic, stranded on the roads- sometimes 16 hours after leaving work or school. Light snow, sleet, and freezing rain are wreaking havoc on Southern states unaccustomed to dealing with this type of weather. At the first sign of snow, people left their jobs, thinking they could deal with the weather. They couldn’t, resulting in spin-outs, accidents, and traffic jams miles long. Currently, people are trying to help stranded travelers while the government is telling its citizens to stay home.

    Rep. Grimm on why he threatened reporter: http://rtvote.com/1jJcxTW
    Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY), threatened a NY1 reporter, Michael Scotto, after last night’s State of the Union Address. Scotto tried to ask Grimm about a federal investigation pertaining to his campaign finances. This question sparked the threat. Grimm said in an email to NY1 and other news stations that Scotto took a “disrespectful and cheap shot” at the interview’s end, discussing a topic that was unrelated to the State of the Union Address, which was what Grimm was being interviewed about. Bob Hardt, NY1’s political director, was appalled by Grimm’s actions and wants a full apology.

    Reading gap between wealthy, poor students widens: http://rtvote.com/1jJfEv1
    A new report shows that 80% of fourth graders from low-income families do not read at their grade level, compared to 49% of their wealthier counterparts. Overall, 66% of all fourth graders do not read at their grade level, a figure regarded as shocking. Researchers believe that 8-year-olds, especially those living in low-income families, are not developed enough to be successful. To keep kids from falling behind, fewer children have to start kindergarten with undetected and untreated learning disabilities.


    Famous rock band Mӧtley Crüe to dissolve: http://rtvote.com/1aHIjOC

    Justin Bieber leaves Panama for LA: http://rtvote.com/1mXGEnZ

    Miley and Madonna finally duet! http://rtvote.com/1cuEE5p

    A real-life love triangle? http://rtvote.com/1fn3AMC



    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, August 27, 2013

    Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

    Forest fires sweep Yosemite; Obama administration considers military action against Syria’s chemical weapon attack; 12 workers killed by the Afghan Taliban; and Zimmerman to claim state funding on legal bills. Meanwhile, the VMAs are still the talk of the town, with ‘NSync and Miley Cyrus performances as big talking points.

    -Maura + Ally


    Crews get first break against Rim firehttp://rtvote.com/1aM6SIo
    Forest fires in Yosemite National Park reach their tenth day, charring nearly 161,000 acres. On top of the already tremendous damage, the fires are threatening groves of giant sequoias and historical structures in the park. Firefighters state that this is the hottest and fastest burning fire in Sierra Nevada history.

    After Syria chemical allegations, Obama considering limited military strike, http://rtvote.com/1aM75eN
    As a punishment for the use of chemical weapons, and as a deterrent, President Obama considers a short-term military strike against Syria, lasting only a few days. This response would keep United States from deep involvement in the Syrian Civil War.

    Afghan Taliban kill 12 ‘government’ workershttp://rtvote.com/17jzJPa
    The Taliban executed 12 Afghan workers who were seen “cooperating with the government.” These workers were engineers and trainers working on a World Bank-funded program to improve local project management. Negotiations were scheduled, but they were killed before the negotiations could begin.

    George Zimmerman will ask state to cover $200K-$300K of his legal bills, http://rtvote.com/17jAcAU
    Since George Zimmerman was acquitted in his trial for the death of Trayvon Martin, he is allowed by state law to request state coverage of thousands of dollars in legal bills. His motion asking the payments to be authorized “is in the works.”

    At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice, http://rtvote.com/17jDSmn
    As a new generation of teachers enters the classroom, we are finding that they stay for shorter time periods. This is especially true in charter schools. Education professionals have mixed opinions on this trend. While turnover means more passionate, less burnt out teachers, longtime teachers are also better able to build ties to communities, which is equally important.


    Madonna Tops Forbes 2013 List Of The Top-Earning Celebrities, http://rtvote.com/17jA3NO

    ‘N Sync Reunion Tour? “I’m Not Gonna Say It’s Never Gonna Happen,” Says Chris Kirkpatrick, http://rtvote.com/1aM9w15

    Paula Patton, Robin Thicke’s Wife, Was Fine With Miley Cyrus’ Twerking, But His Mom Wasn’t, http://rtvote.com/1aMc2UV

    Glee’s Cory Monteith Tribute Brings Back Some Original Cast Member, http://rtvote.com/1aMroZJ

    Bio: My name is Ally Filler and I am a Field Intern at RTV this summer! I recently graduated from McGill University where I studied Linguistics. In addition to marveling at the linguistic hotspot that is Montreal and eating many croissants, I assisted hundreds of American students in their quest to vote from abroad. I'm excited to be a part of such an amazing team here at Rock the Vote!

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

    News Round-Up: Tuesday, August 6, 2013

    Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

    George W. Bush recovers from surgery; tensions increase as people are told to evacuate Yemen; and the Washington Post gets sold to Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com. Meanwhile, ‘Glee’ begins Season 5 production; Lohan appears on Chelsea Lately; and Rihanna may soon top a Madonna record.

    -Ally + Maura


    George W. Bush has heart surgeryhttp://rtvote.com/16rSuzs
    Former President George W. Bush is recovering from surgery Tuesday morning, after doctors found blockage in an artery on Monday. A stent has been placed to ease the blockage. The event came as a shock since the President was physically active and often seen biking or golfing regularly.

    U.S. and Britain Withdraw Personnel from Yemen, http://rtvote.com/19KYFDW
    Amidst a security and travel threat around the Middle East, many government personnel have been removed from Yemen, where Al Qaeda leaders are allegedly planning an attack. Travelers have also been advised to leave the country and reschedule travel plans to the area.

    Turkish Court Gives 19 Life Sentenceshttp://rtvote.com/16rSGif
    In a ruling decided Monday, 19 Turks were sentenced to life in prison for plotting to overthrow the government. All 19 have pleaded innocence. The case represents a broader conflict between “the Islamist-rooted government and the secularist-dominated opposition.”

    Washington Post Staffers ‘Stunned’ By Sale To Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Hopeful About Futurehttp://rtvote.com/16rSKys
    Staff and the public alike were shocked by the news on Monday that the Washington Post would be sold to Jeff Bezons, the owner of Amazon.com. The transition will be sentimental, as the Graham family has operated the Post for the past 80 years. However, Bezos’ $25 million net worth keeps staffers hopeful that he will maintain the paper’s integrity rather than “tinker the editorial product.”

    U.S., other envoys meet with detained Muslim Brotherhood official in Egypthttp://rtvote.com/16rSP5g
    U.S. government officials attempted, on Monday, to ease tensions between the interim Egyptian government and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood. While the U.S. aims to improve relations between the two groups, they also made clear that they would like to be distanced from Morsi. Meanwhile, Egyptians express anger over the lack of U.S. support during the crisis.


    Lindsay Lohan, Spectacular of ‘Chelsea Lately,’ Is Alive Again, http://rtvote.com/19KZtJ0

    Brawl outside Hamptons nightclub with Justin Bieber’s bodyguards stirs police probe, http://rtvote.com/19KZwV6

    Glee Starts Production on Season 5, http://rtvote.com/19KZBrP

    Kim Kardashian Makes First Post-Baby Appearance on Kris Jenner’s Talk Show, http://rtvote.com/16rTxzo

    Rihanna’s ‘Right Now’ Gives Her A Shot At Breaking Madonna’s Dance Chart Record, http://rtvote.com/19KZFYH

    Bio: My name is Ally Filler and I am a Field Intern at RTV this summer! I recently graduated from McGill University where I studied Linguistics. In addition to marveling at the linguistic hotspot that is Montreal and eating many croissants, I assisted hundreds of American students in their quest to vote from abroad. I'm excited to be a part of such an amazing team here at Rock the Vote!

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

    News Round-Up: Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Thursday, June 20th, 2013

    The U.S. destroys some of its military equipment in Afghanistan in an effort to pull out of the war; MERS virus appears more deadly than SARS; pollution in Singapore hits record high; four people are arrested for kidnapping, assaulting and attempting to kill a gay man; the crash of TWA flight 800 is once again under investigation; the European Commission asks France and Britain to make the Eurostar passenger tickets more affordable; and Obama begins plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions in existing power plants. Meanwhile, Sam Taylor-Johnson agrees to direct Fifty Shades of Gray movie, and Madonna reveals a trailer of her new “secret project.”

    Maura + Alexis


    Scrapping equipment key to Afghan drawdown, http://wapo.st/14jxaLB
    The U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other equipment as it attempts to reduce its involvement in the Afghanistan war. This grand disposal is unprecedented and was the solution to the question of what to do with equipment that will not be returning home. The U.S. hopes to greatly reduce its involvement in the war by the end of 2014.

    Mysterious new MERS virus spreads easily, deadlier than SARS, http://fxn.ws/144QXxL
    A newly discovered respiratory virus spreads even more easily than SARS, said doctors Wednesday. The virus originated in the Middle East, and the largest outbreak was in Saudi Arabia. Over 60 cases and 38 deaths have been recorded by the World Health Organization in the last year. Although MERS appears very similar to SARS, one way in which they are different is their source, and doctors are still investigating to find an answer to that question.

    Pollution in Singapore Hits Record Level, http://nyti.ms/195lliF
    Widespread forestry burning in Indonesia has provided Singapore with the negative externality of pollution. This Thursday, pollution levels rose to record highs. The Pollution Sandards Index has hit 371. Because health officials consider anything above 300 to be hazardous to health, Singaporean residents have been urged to stay inside and to wear a mask if stepping outside is necessary.

    4 relatives sentenced for kidnap, assault of gay man in Kentucky, http://bit.ly/17oGxj5
    Four relatives have been sentenced to years in prison for kidnapping and assaulting a gay man in Kentucky. They are being accused of luring the gay man into a truck, driving him to a state park, assaulting him, and attempting to kill him. Luckily the man escaped before he was killed. The two men were sentenced to three decades and 17 years respectively, and then the two women were sentenced to eight years and four months and eight years respectively.

    What brought down TWA Flight 800? Group wants investigation reopened, http://lat.ms/12VTuzg
    A request has been made to reopen the investigation of the 1996 explosion and crash of TWA Flight 800 that crashed off the coast of Long Island killing all 230 people aboard the aircraft. The request has come from a group of former investigators who argue that new evidence shows that an external force may have caused the disaster of the Boeing 747.

    Britain, France face EU action over high Eurostar charges, http://reut.rs/1avdNUA
    The European Commission announced Thursday that they would give France and Britain two months to respond to a request to lower charges for passenger and freight trains operating in the Channel Tunnel or else they would face court action. Illegally high track access charges have resulted recently in higher ticket prices on the Eurostar train. Much of the tunnel has not even been used due to these increasing charges and fees. EU officials bring up the fact that if the charges were lower, the tunnel could begin working at full capacity and make up for the difference in price by doubling of the amount of freight trains in service.

    Obama Readying Emissions Limits on Power Plants, http://nyti.ms/14iXAgs
    Wednesday, senior officials shared that President Obama is in the process of creating regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. This is the most consequential climate policy Obama has set in action so far, and it is likely to be met by some criticism from Republicans and some industries.


    Fifty Shades of Grey Gets a Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson “Will Honor” E.L. James’ Book, http://eonli.ne/16hgIgd

    Amanda Bynes & Wyclef Jean: Actress & Rapper Not Collaborating For Bynes’ Album, http://huff.to/180lRNC

    Journey: James Gandolfini Connection, Via ‘The Sopranos’ Ending, Was ‘Truly An Honor’, http://huff.to/11ALtt3

    Madonna ‘Secret Project’ Trailer: Singer Unveils Moody Clip For Mysterious Effort, http://huff.to/146DBRK

    This Week’s Cover: A first look at the making of ‘Divergent’, http://bit.ly/10x1vcg

    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, February 28, 2012

    Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

    Dozens of dead bodies are found in Syria; the Pentagon plans to stay the course in Afghanistan; Arizona parents try to access their children’s text messages; and Republicans and Democrats distance themselves from Rick Santorum’s accusations that Obama is “a snob” for wanting students to go to college. Elsewhere, James Spader will leave “The Office,” and Ryan Seacrest says he was unprepared for Sacha Baron Cohen’s stunt.

    Aaron + Caitlin


    Syrian activists: 64 bodies found near Homs in one of the worst mass killings http://wapo.st/y3bghu
    In the wake of Bashar al-Assad’s alleged electoral victory, dozens of bodies were disposed of outside of war-torn Homs. It seems as if the individuals were trying to leave the war-zone, only to be gunned down by government enforcers. On Monday over 100 other people were killed. The Syrian state media is claiming that Assad won in a landslide victory after a majority of Syrians voted for a new constitution that would allow him to be in power until 2028.

    Pentagon says ‘fundamental strategy’ in Afghanistan is sound http://wapo.st/x7A1UM
    The Pentagon has no plans to change its strategy in Afghanistan as ties between NATO and Afghan security forces have weakened. Afghans witnessed NATO troops burning Korans, setting off a week of protests and violence. Barack Obama’s formal apology has done little to ease tensions between NATO and Afghanistan, and many Americans working in Afghanistan have been pulled from ministries. The Pentagon still intends to end combat missions there by the end of 2014.

    Divided Virginia Senate passes voter ID bill http://bit.ly/zTCHmN
    A bill allegedly written to prevent voter fraud has squeaked through in Virginia. The State Senators were split 20-20 on the issue of requiring photo ID, but the Republican Lt. Governor cast a vote in favor of the bill. Opponents of the bill say there have been virtually no complaints of fraud.

    Rick Santorum takes heat for ‘snob’ comment against President Obama http://wapo.st/zNCCPe
    Rick Santorum recently claimed that Barack Obama’s desire to send more Americans to college is due to snobbery. And these particular comments have not resonated with many politicians. A good deal of Republican Governors at the National Governors Association meeting rebuked Santorum’s statements. Among those were Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Jan Brewer of Arizona, both of whom have endorsed Mitt Romney. However Bobby Jindal and several other non-committed Republican governors have criticized his statements too. Obama clarified what he meant and deconstructed Santorum’s arguments. These rebukes are important for two bell weather primaries that are taking place today.

    State bills seek parental access to children’s text messages http://usat.ly/zVqho7
    Legislators in Arizona are trying to make it easier for parents to spy on their children. Currently, if a parent wants to see their child’s text messages, he or she would need a court order. This bill would change that. Ostensibly it is so parents can protect their children from bullying or other issues. Verizon has come out against this bill, fearing it would be costly to offer an entirely different plan to individuals in the state of Arizona.

    Violence in Afghanistan Causes Ripples on Campaign Trail http://nyti.ms/xKQTvo
    The recent uptick of violence in Afghanistan may prove to be a blemish on what otherwise has been a pristine four years of foreign policy for Barack Obama. Republican candidates are hoping that Obama’s apology and the tumult in Afghanistan will restore the Republicans’ traditional position of strength when it comes to foreign policy. However, the incumbent president and his team hope that these recent deaths will only increase America’s resolve to leave the region.


    2012 Oscars: How to fix a boring Academy Awards show for next year, http://nydn.us/yP1469

    Daily Report: Netflix Transitions to TV Shows, http://nyti.ms/Apm5ML

    Madonna Renames Song “GIRL Gone Wild”; Joe Francis Claims Legal Victory, http://bit.ly/yGLY85

    James Spader leaving NBC’s ‘The Office’, http://bit.ly/wHIIDt

    Ryan Seacrest ‘Didn’t Know’ About Baron Cohen Stunt, http://bit.ly/yDYz0e

    Aaron Ghitelman

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