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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

    Hundreds are announced dead in South Sudan violence; two people have won the Mega Millions jackpot; and a retired Microsoft executive is set to oversee healthcare.gov. Meanwhile, Christina and Gaga perform together as The Voice crowns a new champion (spoiler alert!); Pippa Middleton is engaged (sorry guys!); and Jonah Hill talks about working with DiCaprio inThe Wolf of Wall Street.

    -Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Jackpot grows: Two winners to split $648Mhttp://rtvote.com/1bQc2l7
    Well it looks like the hope of winning the big bucks are over for most of us. Two winners have been identified: one in San Jose, California and one in Atlanta, Georgia. The winners will be splitting the second-largest jackpot of all time with the odds of winning at 1 in 259 million. The Virginia Lottery Executive Director said that this 22-drawing run generated more than $300 million in profits for programs in the states that participate. In case you missed the numbers, here they are: 8, 20, 14, 17, 39 and 7 (Mega Ball).

    Kurt DelBene, former Microsoft executive, will take over HealthCare.gov,http://rtvote.com/1fENQ6S
    President Obama continues to seek advice from high-tech executives in response to the rocky roll-out of healthcare.gov. The administration announced Tuesday that Kurt DelBene who recently retired from Microsoft, will serve as an unpaid senior advisor on the website. This is a response to the concerns of several lawmakers that the administration needed outside experts in order to overcome the difficulties of the launch. Many people have given a positive endorsement of DelBene, including Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.

    UN Told up to 500 killed in South Sudan clashes: diplomats, http://rtvote.com/1eowHkI
    For the second day in a row, violence has rippled through South Sudan. Local sources and diplomats reported an estimate of 800 wounded and 400-500 killed, though the numbers have not been officially confirmed. The government in the capitol of Juba announced that they captured 10 major political figures and are searching for its former vice president who they believe led this failed coup. Despite its rich oil reserves, South Sudan remains one of the poorest & least developed countries in Africa. The U.S. is urging its citizens to leave the country and will proceed to suspend normal operations at the embassy.

    Senate Asks C.I.A. to Share Its Report on Interrogationshttp://rtvote.com/19SRe9i
    The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested one of the C.I.A.’s internal studies regarding U.S. interrogations. Last year, the C.I.A. completed a report about the interrogation program that was one of the most controversial policies of the post-Septemer 11th era. The Senate report totaled more than 6,000 pages and has yet to be declassified. Those who have read the study disclose that the report does not hold back on criticism of the now-defunct interrogation program whose brutal methods led to little valuable intelligence.

    Obama, Biden, Top U.S. Officials To Stay Away From Sochi Olympics,http://rtvote.com/18RsvlI
    The 2014 Winter Olympics games will be held in Sochi, Russia, but with no representation from top United States officials. Instead, a former federal official, Janet Napolitano will be leading the U.S. delegation, along with two LGBT athletes—Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow. This announcement comes just two months before the opening ceremony and is a signal of U.S. disagreement with Russia’s anti-LGBT laws among other human rights concerns.

    CULTURAL

    Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco Welcomes a Baby Boy, http://rtvote.com/1cbn4nK

    Pippa Middleton Engaged to Boyfriend Nico Jackson, http://rtvote.com/19SDHPl

    Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga Perform on The Voice, Effectively Putting Feud Rumors to Rest,http://rtvote.com/1fmOsgw

    Jonah Hill Talks Making Leonardo DiCaprio Throw Up and Why Loving Leo Made The Wolf of Wall Street Better, http://rtvote.com/1i1u8ph

    The 9 Brand New Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, http://rtvote.com/1i1uCvy

    Maura
    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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



    NEWS ROUND-UP: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2012

    Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

    The SAT and ACT impose new registration rules after cheating scandals; JetBlue blames a captain’s meltdown on a “medical situation;” a newly released Human Rights Watch report covers the “moral” crimes Afghan women have been accused of; The New York Times reports on lower amounts of voter registrations in Florida after restrictions; also, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court receives challenges to the state’s voter ID law; Newt Gingrich cuts down on staffing; and George H.W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, Dr. Seuss’s home is vandalized; and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke calls himself “a nerd.”

    Kelly + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    SAT and ACT to Tighten Rules After Cheating Scandal, http://nyti.ms/H0qQzj
    The SAT and ACT exams will now require students nationwide to provide their photograph when registering for tests. On the day of the test, students’ IDs will be checked against their photographs in order to make sure no one is taking the test for them. These new rules were laid out after dozens of Long Island high school students engaged in a cheating scandal, where high-scoring students used fake IDs to take the SAT or ACT for other students. Fifty students may have been involved in the cheating ring. The SAT and ACT will also eliminate “standby test registration,” where students can register the same day as the exam. The new ID rule will take effect this Fall.

    Passengers recount fears during captain breakdown, http://bit.ly/HeAHS3
    During an early morning flight from New York to Las Vegas, JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon had a nervous breakdown, alarming passengers and his co-pilots. Coming out of the cockpit and running down the plane’s aisles screaming about a bomb, passengers of the plan eventually tackled and restrained him while the co-pilots landed the plane in Amarillo, Texas. JetBlue airlines have called the incident a “medical situation” and insist that Osbon’s record never indicated flight risk.

    Afghanistan’s War on Women Detailed in New Human Rights Watch Report, http://bit.ly/GSJd7l
    A new Human Rights Watch report released today cites a troubling lack of justice for women in Afghanistan. The report detailed 60 cases of women and girls in prison for “moral crimes,” which include premarital sex, running away from forced marriages, and fleeing abusive husbands and homes. Of 42 married women interviewed, 22 were arrested as a direct result of running away from abusive husbands or extended family members. In follow-up interviews with their prosecutors, only one man had been arrested for the abuse.

    (via New York Times) Florida’s New Election Law Blunts Voter Drives: Florida, expected to be a vital swing state once again, is enrolling fewer new voters than it did four years ago as prominent civic organizations have suspended registration drives because of what they describe as onerous restrictions imposed last year by Republican state officials. The state’s new elections law requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. In the months since its new law took effect in July, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election, according to an analysis of registration data by The New York Times. All told, there are 11.3 million voters registered in the state. The law in Florida also reduces the number of early voting days in the state. Last Friday, on the anniversary of the passage of the 26th Amendment, which gave 18-year-olds the right to vote, Rock the Vote opened its national program to educate and register high school students, though not in Florida. “It’s a real shame,” said Heather Smith, the president of Rock the Vote, which joined the lawsuit. “We just cannot put those high school teachers at risk,” http://nyti.ms/GWG8Sq

    (via WISN.com) Voter ID Lawsuits Sent To State Supreme Court: Appeals courts sent two lawsuits challenging Wisconsin’s blocked new voter ID law directly to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, determining it was imperative to resolve the cases quickly given the slate of important upcoming elections, including the state’s presidential primaries next week. If the Supreme Court agrees to take the cases, it could reinstate the state’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls just days before Tuesday’s election. However, attorneys challenging the law said it is unlikely a decision would come that quickly.The voter ID requirement was in effect for the February primary election and few problems were reported in the low-turnout election. But the judges’ orders blocked it for Tuesday’s spring election in which 35 percent turnout is predicted in the Republican presidential primary, http://bit.ly/Hga0tz

    Newt Gingrich cuts staff, aims for Tampa, http://politi.co/GVdRPN
    Newt Gingrich has cut about a third of his staff and has significantly reduced his campaign schedule for a “big-choice convention” strategy. Most of the layoffs affect junior and advance staff, with advance staff being contracted out from Gordon James Public Relations. Political strategists are surprised to see that Gingrich has not withdrawn from the race completely after a series of primary losses. Gingrich remains in a marginal third place and his campaign-finance report for February has shown that there is more debt than available cash-on-hand. The biggest change-up is the resignation of campaign coordinator Michael Krull and his replacement by Vince Haley, a deputy campaign manager and policy director.

    (via Huffington post) George H.W. Bush To Formally Endorse Mitt Romney: Former President George H.W. Bush plans to endorse Mitt Romney at an event Thursday in Houston. Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho says the two will appear together and speak to reporters. Formal backing from the 41st president is another sign that the Republican Party is uniting behind Romney as pressure builds on challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to leave the race. The elder Bush has offered encouraging words to Romney throughout the primary season but had withheld a formal endorsement. Former first lady Barbara Bush has formally backed Romney. She recorded automated telephone calls for him during the primary in Ohio. Their son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, endorsed Romney last week, http://huff.to/HeC7aZ

    CULTURAL:

    Fox pulls movie ads due to Trayvon Martin case, http://reut.rs/HcxmDZ

    Mega Millions soars to half a billion, http://nydn.us/HdmCq5

    Ben Bernanke: ‘I Am Very Proud Of My Nerd-Dom,’ http://huff.to/HnapMS

    Kris Humphries Divorce: Basketball Star Wants $8 Million From Kim Kardashian, http://huff.to/GWqdcr

    ‘Modern Family’ Cast Seeks Huge Raises As Contract Renegotiation Begins, http://bit.ly/HdwY88

    Magic Johnson-led group is picked as Dodgers’ next owner, http://lat.ms/GWMRAQ

    Lorax Statue Stolen From Dr. Seuss’ Garden, Family Hopes For Its Return, http://n.pr/HfntV6

    Justin Bieber’s Tweet Ties Up Great Grandma’s Phone, http://bit.ly/HeUJgs

    Kelly Holleran
    Bio:

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