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    News Round-Up: Thursday, February 20, 2014

    Thursday, February 20th, 2014

    Ukrainian protest deaths climb to 100; DC to push voting rights for congressional representatives; and the death penalty could be the end result for a child kidnapper and murderer. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio talks about marriage; celebrities duke it out by playing charades; and Lorde talks about her fashion icons.

    - Veronica + Maura


    CRUCIAL

    Truce crumbles amid gunfire in Ukraine; protesters claim 100 dead: http://rtvote.com/1glfTaw
    The truce reached between Ukrainian protesters and their government has fallen apart after another 100 protesters were killed on Thursday. Another 500 were injured. The government has not released its casualty figures, but reports state that 25 police officers have been injured. A doctor who had volunteered to help the wounded protesters believes that the government has been using snipers to target protesters. Ukrainian athletes at the Sochi Olympics wore black bands and held a moment of silence to mourn the fallen.

    DC to push voting rights support in New Hampshire: http://rtvote.com/1eaLppd
    Washington DC councilmember David Catania will travel to New Hampshire to plead his case before a committee from the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Catania plans to get New Hampshire congressmen and women to support voting rights for DC congressional representatives. This would give full congressional representation to the district. The executive director of DC Vote will also testify.

    Homeland Security alerts airlines to possible shoe-bomb threat: http://rtvote.com/MeFqsA
    Homeland Security officials believe that there is a credible threat to passenger jet attacks through use of shoe-bombs. Airlines will now pay even closer attention to shoes of passengers, including “explosive trace detection swabs” to check for explosive material, particularly on flights headed to the United States. Although there is no specific attack planned, nor are the threats particular to any country or airline, Homeland Security believes that there is enough of a threat that travelers should be warned of extra screenings.

    Suspect in killing of MO girl could face death penalty: http://rtvote.com/1oWnpPp
    45-year-old middle school employee Craig Michael Wood has been accused with kidnapping, armed criminal action, and murdering 10-year-old Hailey Owens. Wood was tracked by the help of witnesses and brought to police for questioning. After obtaining a search warrant, authorities found Owens’s body at Wood’s home. Wood may face the death penalty at his trial.

    2 Americans found dead on “Captain Phillips” ship: http://rtvote.com/OeDIt4
    American security officers Mark Kennedy and Jeffrey Reynolds have been found dead on the Maersk Alabama container ship. Both men worked for a Virginia-based security firm. The cause of death for both men is unknown at this time, and a police investigation is ongoing. The Maersk Alabama gained notoriety after being targeted by Somali pirates in 2009; the movie Captain Phillips is named after it.

    CULTURAL 

    That 70s Show star is a dad! http://rtvote.com/OeFMBj

    Celebrity charades showdown on The Tonight Show: http://rtvote.com/1fCrws9

    It’s here! See the Bonnaroo 2014 music festival lineup: http://rtvote.com/1gloSsm

    Leonardo DiCaprio talks marriage: http://rtvote.com/1glpmOZ

    Who are Lorde’s fashion icons? http://rtvote.com/1mehym2

    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: October 23, 2013

    Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

    Dead Boston Marathon suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was allegedly involved in a triple slaying in 2001; a 14-year-old boy is arrested for a teacher’s murder; and this year’s increases in public university tuitions are the lowest they’ve been in three decades. Meanwhile, a man spends major bucks to look like J-Biebs, and Katharine McPhee is caught kissing a married man (uh oh!).

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Dead Boston Marathon suspect tied to 2011 killingshttp://rtvote.com/19v0suo
    Federal prosecutors have filed a report against 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect shot and killed by police. Authorities allege that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was involved in a triple slaying on September 11, 2011. The filing is prosecutors’ attempt to block Tamerlan’s younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from obtaining certain information from authorities, like investigative documents on the triple slaying, also known as the Waltham slayings.

    Obama appeals to backers on health care lawhttp://rtvote.com/1fVgPpj
    President Obama reminds American citizens that the new health care program is “much more than a website.” There are many benefits, including young people being able to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, the elimination of restrictions on coverage, and the provision of preventive care. The president admitted there are technical issues to overcome with healthcare.gov, but he assures the American people that these problems are being addressed as we speak.

    Colleges see a slowdown in tuition price increaseshttp://rtvote.com/19vd9Wg
    This year, four-year public universities in the U.S. have seen the smallest annual increase in three decades. Tuition and fees rose only 2.9%, but this was offset by recent declines in federal grant aid. Low tuition increases are a reason to rejoice, but don’t expect to see much of this from now on. Economist Sandy Baum says that these small increases serve as reminders of the cyclical nature of price increases.

    Boy held in teacher’s death that closed schools in Danvers, Massachusettshttp://rtvote.com/1eJm2gU
    The body of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old teacher, was found in the woods near Danvers High School in Massachussetts today. A 14-year-old boy was arrested and is being held for Ritzer’s murder. Authorities found the teacher’s body after she failed to return home yesterday; the boy was reported missing yesterday afternoon. Police cannot release the suspect’s name or his connection to Ritzer because of his juvenile status.

    Dolphins killed for shark bait in Peruhttp://rtvote.com/1fVmonK
    The cost of fish bait increases annually in Peru, so shark fishermen have resorted to using dolphins as shark bait. This practice is outlawed in Peru, but that isn’t stopping them. The Peruvian government has promised to investigate whether this is a widespread practice and will take measures if so. More than 10,000 dolphins are being slaughtered every year in Peruvian waters. Shark meat is predominantly consumed in Peru, but the fins are oftentimes shipped to the Far East as well.
     

    PUNDITS 

    James Alan Fox stresses the importance of safer gun policies and technologies in “Nevada school shooting shows limits of security,”http://rtvote.com/1gFegsQ

    Julian Zelizer applauds the gay rights movement for focusing on the marriage issue to garner political support in “Chris Christie ahead of the GOP curve on same-sex marriage,” http://rtvote.com/1eJsh4p

    CULTURAL

    Man Spends $100,000 to Look Like Justin Bieber, http://rtvote.com/1gFfTH1

    Katharine McPhee Caught Kissing Married Smash Director Michael Morris, http://rtvote.com/1eJsS5U

    Rider Strong Marries Alexandra Barreto, http://rtvote.com/1gFgAzX

    Danielle Fishel Slams Critics Calling Her Fat On Wedding Day, http://rtvote.com/1gFgFDU

    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: October 18, 2013

    Friday, October 18th, 2013

    House Republicans criticize healthcare.gov and push for HSS Secretary’s resignation; Snowden says Russian and Chinese intelligence are not in possession of NSA docs; and two teenage girls carry human fetus remains in Victoria’s Secret bag. Meanwhile, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard (quietly) tie the knot, and Gordon Ramsay confesses to spying on his daughter with a hidden camera.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Congressional fight over Obamacare turns to website woeshttp://rtvote.com/1ewvMLb
    Although the government shutdown ended with a deal that left Obamacare untouched, the bickering over the healthcare law is far from over. Republicans are pointing out all of the problems with healthcare.gov and are holding oversight hearings next week. Some are also pushing Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to resign after the rollout. The White House, on the other hand, fully supports her and claims that technical errors are being fixed. They are reminding people that the most important thing is not the website, but that all Americans can be insured.

    Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files to Russiahttp://rtvote.com/19ehRaS
    Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed in an interview this month that he did not take any secret NSA documents to Russia when he fled there for asylum in June. He said he gave all classified documents to journalists in Hong Kong and that he made sure Chinese and Russian intelligence did not get hold of them. Snowden faces charges under the Espionage Act for leaking NSA documents to the media, but he stands by his conviction that the American people deserved to know how closely they were being watched.

    NY police: Shoppers held after possible human remains found in baghttp://rtvote.com/1fIrinU
    Two teenage girls were detained in a Manhattan Victoria’s Secret store after one of the store employees stopped them and found possible human remains in one of their bags. Initial reports indicate the remains are a fetus, but the medical examiner’s office is still investigating. Both teens are being charged as adults and face charges of petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

    Air marshal accused of taking upskirt pictures of passengershttp://rtvote.com/1ewFZY7
    A federal air marshal, Adam Bartsch, was on duty, aboard a Southwest Airlines flight when he was caught taking inappropriate pictures underneath women’s dresses. Bartsch, 28, was removed from the flight before take-off, charged with disorderly conduct, and held on $10,000 bail. He has confessed that this was not the first time he had done this. The TSA is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment.

    Recording of mother’s voice used in search for missing autistic New York teen,http://rtvote.com/1ewHDsO
    Divers, police, and rescue officers from several states have joined efforts to look for an autistic 14-year-old, Avonte Oquendo. The search has been going on for more than a week, and the NYPD has begun to play a recording of Avonte’s mother’s voice over loudspeakers. Avonte is unable to communicate verbally, and Avonte’s mother hopes he will hear her message, urging him to “walk toward the [emergency vehicles’] lights.” Avonte left his school on October 4, and the Oquendo family is in the process of filing a lawsuit against the city of New York due to the school’s failure to supervise the child.
     

    PUNDITS

    Hank Plante explains why members of Congress should not have to share the blame equally in “Tea Party holds most blame for shutdown,” http://rtvote.com/1fIwNTy

    The USA Today Editorial Board discusses the importance of affirmative action and racial diversity in colleges in “College diversity still necessary,” http://rtvote.com/1gqd2By

     

    CULTURAL

    Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Married? Couple Reportedly Tie the Knot in Spontaneous, Low-Key Ceremony,http://rtvote.com/1gqfk3F

    Alessandra Ambrosio Denies Split Rumors, http://rtvote.com/19ewpHl

    Find Out Why Seth Meyers’ Wife Was Advised (by Doctors!) Not to Marry the SNL Star,http://rtvote.com/1gqgzzN

    Gordon Ramsay Uses a Hidden Camera to Spy on Teenage Daughter Megan, http://rtvote.com/1fIBHQB

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

    Obama will announce his plan for Afghanistan tomorrow, a North Caronlina man robs a bank for health care, plaintiffs will pursue the Wal-Mart case, and we may need to take drastic efforts to keep our oceans alive.  Meanwhile, Mitt Romney remains the GOP 2012 frontrunner, while Huntsman officially launches his campaign.

    Caitlin, Katie, + Perry

    CRUCIAL:

    Obama to announce plan to pull 30,000 troops out of Afghanistan, http://bit.ly/msGyl0

    President Obama will announce tomorrow how he plans to end the war in Afghanistan. Specifically, he will address his schedule to bring troops home and how Afghanistan government will take responsibility.

    N.C. Man Allegedly Robs Bank of $1 to Get Health Care in Jail, http://abcn.ws/lzzB9y

    A 59-year-old North Carolina man robbed a bank, demanding just one dollar. What he was really after, though, was the health care he would get in prison. After handing his robbery note to the teller, he told her he would be “sitting right over here, on the chair, waiting for the police.”

    Despite Setback, Plaintiffs to Pursue Wal-Mart Cases, http://nyti.ms/jHS2xO

    The Supreme Court ruled that the 1.5 million women who worked at Wal-Mart could not file a class-action lawsuit together. The court did not make a decision on the allegation of gender discrimination, but it is a major blow to plaintiffs regardless. In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg noted that while 70% of hourly employees are women, only a third of management employees are female.

    24 killed in twin bombings in Iraq, http://wapo.st/mErDhn

    Two car bombs in south-central Iraq detonated at a compound that includes both the governor’s home and the provincial government headquarters.  Nobody died from the first detonation, but when police and emergency personnel arrived, the second car bomb exploded which killed at least 24 and injured at least 40.

    State Of The Ocean: ‘Shocking’ Report Warns Of Mass Extinction From Current Rate Of Marine Distress, http://huff.to/iPe0H3

    Scientists warn that a mass man-made extinction of marine life is on the way if drastic steps aren’t taken. All coral reefs could be gone by 2050, and oysters are already “functionally extinct” in the oceans.

    Fresh Libya civilian deaths pile pressure on NATO,
    http://yhoo.it/jkn30j

    The Libyan government reports that 19 civilians were killed in a NATO air strike on Monday.  Khouildi Hamidi, a member of Libya’s 12-strong Revolutionary Command Council, remains alive but some of his family members have been killed.  If the civilian death count is confirmed, the NATO-led military alliance could feel even more strain, as this operation is taking longer and costing more than planned.

    Montana ranks fourth-best in access for young voters, http://bit.ly/lVXIQY

    Rock the Vote’s Scorecard ranks Montana high in its treatment of young voters ages 18 to 29. “By providing Election Day registration, making the ballot box accessible and prioritizing teaching civics in high schools, Montana has addressed some of the key components of a modern and functioning elections system,” said Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote.

    (via POLITICO Breaking News)
    Jon Huntsman officially launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. “Today I’m a candidate for the office of president of the United States of America,” the former Utah governor and ambassador to China told a crowd of supporters.

    CULTURAL:

    Green Mile Actor, 51, Marries 16-Year-Old Aspiring Country Singer; Says “True Love Can Be Ageless,” http://eonli.ne/jTIuny

    Q&A: Brian Grazer And Ron Howard On 25 Years Together As Imagine Partners, http://bit.ly/jYKwGP

    Roger Ebert derided after tweet on Ryan Dunn’s death, http://bit.ly/kRi3vt

    Amy Winehouse Cancels Entire Tour, http://bit.ly/jcXqis

    Isner-Mahut II: What were the odds? http://bit.ly/lX0Hzs

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

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