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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

    A Philadelphia high school drug ring is busted; violence escalates in South Sudan; and a man dealing fake art is arrested. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyong’o is named “Most Beautiful”; Drew Barrymore has her second child; and Justin Bieber gets in trouble for a seemingly honest mistake.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Drug ring targeting top suburban Philly schools busted: http://rtvote.com/1lEO7Jd
    18-year-old Timothy Brooks and 25-year-old Neil Scott were caught Tuesday by the police along with eight other people. The business: selling drugs to students at some of the best high schools and colleges in the area. Brooks and Scott were the two at the center of the drug ring; Brooks supervised the eight “sub-dealers” who sold the drugs at school while Scott was in charge of shipping the drugs from California to Pennsylvania. The drug ring, allegedly dubbed the “Main Line Take-Over Project” (after affluent towns near Philadelphia, where the ring targeted), was responsible for selling marijuana, hash oil, cocaine, and ecstasy (or MDMA). The schools targeted included the Haverford School, Conestoga High School, Radnor High School, Harriton High School, and Lower Merion High School: all prestigious, wealthy schools with some of the highest standardized test scores in Pennsylvania.

    UN: South Sudan rebels separate residents by ethnicity, kill hundreds: http://rtvote.com/1iL2dsZ
    Rebels stormed the oil town Bentiu last week in South Sudan, separated the terrified citizens by ethnicity, and then killed at least 400 people. 200 were killed and 400 were wounded at one mosque alone. The attackers warned certain ethnic groups to leave town and that they should no longer stay in Bentiu. Men, women, and children were killed when they did not cheer and offer support for the rebel attackers. The conflict stems from an overarching power struggle between two South Sudanese ethnic groups: the Nuers and the Dinkas. The rebel leader, Riek Machar (Nuer) was accused by the existing President, Salva Kiir (Dinka), of trying to kick him out of power through a coup. Since the coup allegations, violence between military and civilians has dominated the nation.

    Indicted art dealer, painter were ‘masters of forgery and deceit’: http://rtvote.com/1tCgv3Y
    Jose Carlos Bergatiños Diaz, his brother, and other associates are accused of making $30 million by selling fake artwork for almost 20 years. Diaz and his associates convinced wealthy people and New York art galleries that he was selling real Rothkos and Pollocks paintings. In reality, the paintings sold were made by Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese painter found by Diaz on the Manhattan streets. The brothers were arrested in Spain and have been charged with conspiracy and money laundering. Qian, who authorities believe fled to China as the scheme began to fall apart, has been charged with lying to FBI agents and other conspiracy charges.

    Gun checks miss millions of fugitives: http://rtvote.com/1l1QiYH
    Law enforcement agencies who fail to provide the FBI and national fugitive databases with information on felons could enable those felons to access, purchase, and use guns. In 5 states alone, police forces failed to give the FBI information on more than 2.5 million people with arrest warrants. A large number of those unreported people are wanted for violent offences.  A possible reason for the lack of reporting is that most states do not want to spend the money to track fugitives across state lines. Most agencies therefore see no reason to report with the FBI (a national tracking database) because they have no intention of tracking the fugitives who have left the state.

    CULTURAL

    Lupita Nyong’o named People’s “Most Beautiful”: http://rtvote.com/Qy51zv

    Daniel Franzese (Damian from Mean Girls) comes out: http://rtvote.com/Ptxcym

    Drew Barrymore has her baby! Find out her adorable name! http://rtvote.com/1noPuQa

    Rehearsals for Pitch Perfect 2 have begun! http://rtvote.com/1hj8yvl

    Justin Bieber in hot water again- although this might have been an honest mistake: http://rtvote.com/1jB3QGv

    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: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

    A shipwreck in South Korea leaves nearly 300 missing; a large al Qaeda meeting video surfaces and unsettles United States intelligence; a cold case has been solved after over 40 years; and two backpacks wreak havoc at the Boston Marathon Commemorative Ceremonies. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital; Paul Walker’s brothers will help finish filming Fast & Furious 7; and Pharrell shares a “Happy” moment with Oprah despite some tears.

    - Veronica + Maura

     CRUCIAL

    Rescuers search dark, cold sea for survivors of shipwreck off South Korea: http://rtvote.com/1t9Riha
    300 people are still missing after a ferry, charged with taking passengers to a South Korean resort, capsized and sank Wednesday. Rescue teams are still searching the Yellow Sea for potential survivors. Out of the 459 people on board, four people (three men and one woman) are known to be dead and 164 have been rescued. Most of the passengers were students and teachers from a high school in Seoul, who were on a four-day field trip to an island resort nearby. A loud bang was heard before the ship began to rapidly take on water. The crew told the passengers to put on lifejackets and jump into the ocean. Some survivors said they tried to help people get out, but were not able to in time. The cause of the accident remains a mystery.

    Unsettling video shows large al Qaeda meeting in Yemen: http://rtvote.com/1qJdDjo
    A video deemed authentic by the US government shows what has been considered the largest gathering of al Qaeda militants in years. What’s more, either the CIA or the Pentagon did not know the gathering was occurring or they could not get a drone there in time. US officials have yet to comment on their lack of action, but the video is being heavily analyzed by US intelligence. Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the group’s second in command leader worldwide, is depicted to be standing in the open greeting followers, completely unconcerned that he could be hit by a drone strike. He said in his speech: “We must eliminate the cross…. The bearer of the cross is America.” Experts say there is cause for worry, stating that the recent video means that a new round of plotting is at hand. The al Qaeda group in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is the most dangerous sect of the terrorist organization.

    Case of missing South Dakota girls solved after 40 years: http://rtvote.com/1mcP4th
    Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller were on their way to a party in 1971 when they mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Authorities originally believed it was homicide, but were forced to drop the charges against the accused man due to false evidence. Since then, the case was considered a cold case. Last September, a car was found in a creek near the girls’ destinations. Inside were skeletal remains found in the cab of the car and Miller’s driver’s license, as well as personal items like notes and photographs. DNA analysis of the remains confirmed the identities of Jackson and Miller. There was no sign of alcohol, the keys were in the car’s ignition, the car was in gear, and a tire was damaged. 40 years later, the police are finally able to provide the families with a definitive answer: the girls’ deaths were an accident.

    Man with ‘hoax device’ frays nerves at Boston Marathon site: http://rtvote.com/1gANfSa
    Commemorative ceremonies for the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing had just ended when police found two backpacks and a suspicious person, forcing them to evacuate the area. The man was lurking with a backpack near the Boylston Street finish line and was “acting peculiarly”. The Boston Police Department called in the bomb squad and blew up both backpacks as a precaution. Police also arrested the man, the owner of only one of the bags, who said the bag contained a rice cooker. The contents of the other bag are unknown. The man was arrested and charged with possession of a hoax device, disturbing the peace, and disorderly conduct.

    Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes: http://rtvote.com/Qpuue1
    A study published in a neuroscience journal found that recreation marijuana use (as in, using a few times a week) is “enough to physically alter crucial brain structures”. Since there is little research on the effects of casual marijuana smoking, this study shed some light on the subject. Hans Breiter, the leader of the study, analyzed the brains of 20 light marijuana users and 20 nonsmokers. The brains of the smokers began to change in two major areas- the areas linked with emotion, motivation, and mental illnesses. The study parallels with the study of Staci Gruber, who focused on a batch of heavier marijuana smokers but found similar results. She said that the studies show that marijuana “is not quite the benign substance people thought it was.”

    CULTURAL

    Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital: http://rtvote.com/P5h4TE

    Paul Walker’s brothers to complete Fast & Furious 7 scenes: http://rtvote.com/1qJx0sP

    After a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, Valerie Harper says she is cancer-free! http://rtvote.com/1qJy3Ji

    Pharrell sheds tears with Oprah: watch the video! http://rtvote.com/1gGITfR

    Get the inside scoop on how Mila stays fit and healthy during her pregnancy: http://rtvote.com/1qJF0tD

    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 1, 2013

    Friday, November 1st, 2013

    Food stamp cuts set in; a super-sophisticated secret underground tunnel used for smuggling drugs from Mexico to the U.S. is discovered; and the iPad Air makes its debut. Meanwhile, Heidi Klum officially wins the Most Awesome Celebrity award for her Halloween costume, and Kristin Stewart reunites with Robert Pattinson.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Families brace as billions in food stamp cuts set inhttp://rtvote.com/1ahKIba
    Benefit cuts to food stamp recipients begin today. This comes from Congress’s decision to cut $5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in exchange for increased education funding and school nutrition programs. An increased number of needy Americans will turn to organizations that already provide meals to hungry citizens, like food pantries and the Campaign Against Hunger.

    US discovers huge hi-tech Mexican drug-smuggling tunnelhttp://rtvote.com/1hzxE8o
    Authorities have discovered one of the most sophisticated drug smuggling passages, running from warehouses in Tijuana to San Diego. The secret underground tunnel is the length of almost six football fields and is equipped with lighting, ventilation, and an electric rail system. Upon discovery, authorities found 8.5 tons of marijuana and 327 pounds of cocaine.

    Trick or treat? Canada seizes three cocaine-filled pumpkins at airporthttp://rtvote.com/1f8kcX6
    Canadian officials seized three pumpkins at the Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport. Cocaine-filled pumpkins, that is. Authorities found them while searching through a female traveler’s luggage. An investigation is currently underway.

    Internal notes show paltry initial enrollment in Obamacarehttp://rtvote.com/16SO7x0
    Notes from a “war room” meeting at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance revealed that only six Americans successfully enrolled in the federal health care exchange on the first day of the rollout. This number has been gradually increasing, and Joanne Peters, a Health and Human Services spokeswoman, is confident that the pace of enrollment will pick up.

    Best Deals for iPad Airhttp://rtvote.com/HsZRQG
    The new iPad Air debuts today – but before you whip out your wallet, make sure you read through this. Find out where and how to get the best deals on Apple’s latest gimmick.
     

    PUNDITS

    Senator Bernie Sanders discusses how our healthcare system could be more cost-effective without sacrificing programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in “Don’t cut the big benefit programs,”http://rtvote.com/1h614NS

    Facebook users and USA Today readers weigh in on HHS Secretary Sebelius’s apology at Wednesday’s congressional hearing in “Should Sebelius step down for Obamacare woes?” http://rtvote.com/17xwg4F

    CULTURAL

    Heidi Klum goes geriatric for Halloween, http://rtvote.com/1hzs7Pq

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Sue YouTube Cofounder Over Leaked Proposal Footage,http://rtvote.com/1bJBE1x

    Kristen Stewart Spends Time With Robert Pattinson at His House: All the Details and New Photos,http://rtvote.com/17BSr7D

    Pamela Anderson Chops Off Hair, Is Unrecognizable With New Pixie Cut, http://rtvote.com/16SVUuS

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Thursday, August 1st, 2013

    US set to resume negotiations with Pakistan; Snowden finds a new home; fast-food workers demand higher pay; and Uruguay in line to becoming first country to regulate the Marijuana market. Meanwhile, is Michelle Obama is no longer best dressed?; Simon Cowell to become a dad; and Jimmy McMillan endorses Weiner for NYC mayor.

    - Ally + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Ariel Castro apologizes to victims at sentencing hearing, http://rtvote.com/19zGukq
    Castro entered the courtroom Thursday morning, beginning with an apology to his victims. Until today, Castro had justified his actions, recalling mental illness, and personal history as a sexual assault victim, but had never expressed feelings of remorse.

    US, Pakistan To Resume High-Level Negotiations, http://rtvote.com/19zwacq
    US and Pakistani Secretaries of State will resume negotiations over security issues, including border control and counterterrorism. Negotiations between the two countries were hindered by the U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden, and by the accidental shooting of two Pakistanis by a CIA worker. The resumption indicates that the relationship between the countries is improving.

    Uruguay MPs back marijuana legalization, http://rtvote.com/13pBZW4
    Uruguay’s House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize marijuana, backed by the country’s President. If the Senate also passes the bill, marijuana sales would be conducted solely by the government, making it the first country to regulate sales of the substance.  Supporters are hopeful that the measure will reduce the tens of thousands of deaths caused by drug trafficking in the country.

    Edward Snowden receives temporary asylum in Russia, leaves Moscow airport, http://rtvote.com/19zxxaQ
    After over a month in the airport’s transit zone, and nearly a week after false reports of asylum in the country, Edward Snowden has been granted a 1 year asylum in Russia. His destination and plans in the country are unknown.

    A Day’s Strike Seeks to Raise Fast-Food Pay, http://rtvote.com/13pBo6G
    Fast–food employees nationwide are conducting one-day strikes to demand higher pay. The strikers are demanding a $15 hourly wage. Meanwhile, restaurant officials say this demand is unreasonable, and would drive restaurant owners to higher fewer workers or turn to automation. The events are part of a larger movement to increase the federal minimum wage.

    House passes student loan rate fix, http://rtvote.com/19zyPTi
    Since loan rates were doubled on July 1, the Senate, and now the House have passed a new bill to tie interest rates on federal student loans to the 10-year Treasury note.  Once President Obama signs the bill, which is expected, rates will be set at 3.86 percent for undergraduates. The rates, however, can fluctuate with the market, but are capped at 8.25 percent.

     

    CULTURAL

    MLB prepared to ban A-Rod for life, suspend eight others, http://rtvote.com/13pClMq

    Michelle Obama Snubbed From Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed List, http://rtvote.com/16aCGBd

    Simon Cowell Expecting a Baby With Friend’s Wife Lauren Silverman, http://rtvote.com/16aGPFl

    Jimmy McMillan: Anthony Weiner for mayor, http://rtvote.com/16aGfar

    Try Out Facebook’s Fun ‘On This Day’ Feature—But You May Not Like What You See, http://rtvote.com/16aI4UW

    Ally.f@rockthevote.com
    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 23, 2011

    Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

    President Barack Obama will bring home 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, global oil reserves have been tapped in an effort to cut gas prices, and the majority of babies born in the United States are minorities.

    Also, Huntsman will target independents, lawmakers will introduce a bill to legalize marijuana, and the Winklevoss twins end their feud with Facebook.

    Caitlin, Katie, + Perry

    CRITICAL:

    (via POLITICO Breaking News) President Barack Obama on Wednesday night told the nation that he will bring home 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year and reverse the full 33,000-troop surge by the end of next summer. The president’s plan is a more rapid drawdown than what top Pentagon officials had favored, reflecting growing fiscal and political pressures at home. Obama believes the accelerated drawdown is possible because of military gains by U.S. and coalition forces since he launched the surge in December 2009. About 68,000 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawals.

    Karzai Welcomes Withdrawal, but Many Afghans Are Wary, http://nyti.ms/kHJXtg

    Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai praised the 30,000 troop reduction President Obama announced last night, saying it was the “right decision for the interest of both countries.” Some other politicians, however, are worried that the country’s security forces needs more time and training from Americans.

    Va. man charged in 2010 DC-area military shootings,
    http://yhoo.it/ldMvBV

    The man who was arrested near the Pentagon last week, a Marine Corps reservist, has been charged in a series of shootings from 2010.  Bomb materials were found in his backpack when he was detained at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. Officials have since discovered a video that he took of himself firing shots outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

    Global Oil Reserves Tapped in Effort to Cut Cost at Pump, http://nyti.ms/jEAxVH

    The United States is partnering with 28 other nations to release 60 million barrels of world oil reserves. Half of the barrels will come from the US, after weeks of secret negotiations. The oil will replace what was lost in production due to the conflict in Libya.

    Census shows whites lose US majority among babies, http://bit.ly/lvJA8X

    According to the latest government data from the 2010 Census, the majority of American babies are minorities. This newest generation is vastly different from the predominately white group of older Americans.

    Jon Huntsman sees independents as key,
    http://politi.co/lfCMLq

    Jon Huntsman plans to obtain the Republican nomination by utilizing the election laws in New Hampshire and South Carolina that allow independent voters to cast ballots in the GOP primary.  John Weaver, Huntsman’s chief strategist, said that “the fact that a candidate can attract independent votes is a good indication that they can be more viable in a general election.”

    Lawmakers to introduce bill to legalize marijuana, http://yhoo.it/jz03Bg

    Congressmen Barney Frank (D) and Ron Paul (R) are going to introduce a bill legalizing marijuana today. The bill, the first ever of its kind, will leave marijuana legislation up to the states. Sixteen states allow medical marijuana, but the plant is still illegal under federal law.

    Winklevoss twins end appeal of Facebook settlement, http://reut.rs/kfRC4s

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg paid Harvard classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss $65 million in a settlement over who thought of the idea for the social networking site. After agreeing to the settlement, the brothers tried to undo it and ask for more money. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled against them, they have decided not to appeal the decision.

    CULTURAL:

    NCAA sends UNC official notice of allegations in football investigation, http://bit.ly/kgy7z6

    Missy Elliott Diagnosed With Incurable Graves Disease, http://bit.ly/kHo93O

    Pottermore Unveiled! J.K. Rowling Launches New Web Site, http://bit.ly/kVCrfk

    Jackass Stars Pay Their Respects at Memorial Service for Ryan Dunn, http://eonli.ne/j03x9M

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

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