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    News Round-Up: Thursday, March 20th, 2014

    Thursday, March 20th, 2014

    Searchers have yet to find the debris captured on a satellite image that could reveal Flight 370’s fate; Obama announces new sanctions against Russia as they move into Crimea; Police find over 100 illegal immigrants in a one-story house in Houston; and the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church has died. Meanwhile, Emilia Clarke talks about an embarrassing audition and Kim Kardashian gets a unique makeover.

    -Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    No sign of mystery objects as Australia suspends search for the day: http://rtvote.com/1nGw8XV
    A satellite captured images of what people believed to be debris in the Indian Ocean, prompting a search Thursday by Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Norway. The satellite captured objects 14 miles apart in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, about 1,500 miles from Australia. Unfortunately, no one was able to find the debris before nightfall. Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s interim Transportation Secretary said “[The debris] gives us hope. As long as there’s hope, we will continue.” Searches will resume Friday.

    Russian parliament moves to ratify Crimea takeover; Obama announces new sanctions: http://rtvote.com/1jbHywh
    President Obama said Thursday that the United States would be imposing more sanctions against Russia to respond to, in his words, “Crimea’s ‘illegal’ secession referendum and Russia’s ‘illegitimate move’ to annex Crimea.” Obama said that top Russian officials, other individuals, and a bank with ties to Russia will be sanctioned. Despite this, Ukraine’s power in Crimea is waning, with upcoming Ukrainian troop withdrawal, the closure of Ukrainian banks in the region, and the takeover of Ukrainian military bases. The Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta began printing in the Crimea region and issued passports to Crimea residents.

    Disgraced Army general, Jeffrey A. Sinclair, gets $20,000 fine, no jail time: http://rtvote.com/1dfYnbo
    General Jeffery Sinclair, who admitted to having inappropriate relations with three women (including an affair with one, a military crime), was fined $20,000 by a military judge and will not serve jail time. Sinclair had been charged with sexually assaulting and threatening the woman he had an affair with. The Army ended up dropping the sexual assault charge and agreed to a plea bargain. The monetary outcome could become worse for Sinclair; he will drop down to a lower rank when it comes time for him to retire, which would lower his benefits.

    NJ teen arrested after reaching top of World Trade Center: http://rtvote.com/1eq5rjO
    Weehawken, NJ teen Justin Casquejo managed to bypass security at the World Trade Center in New York City and get all the way to the top. The 16-year-old climbed through a hole in a fence at around 4:10am, climbed the scaffolding, and got into the building. He also managed to steer clear of a guard on the 104th floor, who has been fired. He was arrested inside the WTC at 6am and his cell phone and camera were seized and searched.

    Police find more than 100 immigrants in stash house: http://rtvote.com/1d40sab
    Houston Police found over 100 illegal immigrants living in a one-story stash house in horrendous conditions.  The house had only one toilet (that only half-worked), no hot water, and deadbolts on the doors, preventing the immigrants from leaving until the person responsible for getting them across the boarder was paid more money. The immigrants were made up of 94 adult men, 14 women (including one pregnant woman), and two elementary school-aged children. Police turned the immigrants over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and arrested 5 smugglers.

    Fred Phelps, fierce campaigner against homosexuality, dies: http://rtvote.com/1g4Yupt
    The leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has died at the age of 84. Phelps and his church followers gained notoriety for picketing military funerals and protesting against gays and Jews, prompting both President Obama and President Bush to sign laws creating a buffer zone for funerals. Phelps also occasionally ran for political office; in 1992, he ran for the US Senate in Kansas but lost in the primary round.

    CULTURAL

    Emilia Clarke talks about her embarrassing audition for her best-known role: http://rtvote.com/1jbZEOR

    Watch the latest Maleficent trailer! http://rtvote.com/1jc03AU

    Kim Kardashian gets a make…under? http://rtvote.com/1pfmKpm

    Leighton Meester takes a turn at Broadway: http://rtvote.com/1r0cgOs

    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, March 5th, 2014

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

    Tensions between Ukraine, Russia, and Western powers continue to escalate; a NJ student suing her parents loses first court battle; Pope Francis says that he could potentially accept civil unions; and a 10-year-old boy is suspended after pointing his fingers in the shape of a gun. Meanwhile, John Travolta speaks out about his Idina Menzel flub on Oscar Night; an emoji version of “Drunk in Love” is taking over the web; and you can see the Oscar selfie that broke Twitter and has the Twitter record for the most retweets ever! 

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Ukraine crisis: Western leaders pile pressure on Russia: http://rtvote.com/1ga99e8
    Western governmental powers have begun to threaten Russia with sanctions if their military presence in Ukraine does not decrease. In retaliation, Russia has begun drafting a law that “would allow Russia to confiscate assets belonging to the U.S. and European companies if sanctions are slapped on Moscow.” The European Union will meet Thursday in Brussels, and US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian equivalent to Kerry’s position, in Paris. This conflict stems from the removal of the Russian-allied government and the increase in tension in the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine, where a heavy Russian population resides.

    Student’s lawsuit against parents for support loses first round in court: http://rtvote.com/1lyMnEg
    18-year-old New Jersey resident Rachel Canning made news this week for suing her own parents to make them pay for varying expenses: her final semester at her private high school, her living expenses, her legal fees, and her college tuition. Canning says her parents forced her out of her home and made her live on her own and was subject to mental and physical abuse, while her parents say she left of her own accord because she “didn’t want to obey their rules.” A judge refused to hear the request of payment for both the high school and living expenses, but in April, another hearing will be held for other issues presented in the lawsuit.

    Ohio student points finger like gun, is suspended: http://rtvote.com/1fHONbj
    A 10-year-old boy who pointed his finger like a gun and pointed it at another student’s head was suspended by his principal. The other student didn’t see it, but a teacher did and reported it to the school’s administration. The boy, who said he was “just playing around,” had been warned before by the school, Devonshire Alternative Elementary, about pretending to play with guns, as have all the other students; they were also told of potential consequences if they were caught participating in this behavior. 

    Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions: http://rtvote.com/1hMh1X0
    On Wednesday, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage (“marriage is between a man and a woman”), but also hinted at the possible acceptance of civil unions. Pope Francis is the first Pope to even hint at an acceptance of civil unions and is one of the most “gay-friendly” popes in history. Possible changes to the church regarding the women’s role and the contraception ban could also be in the works as the Pope’s first year comes to a close.

    Three children pulled to safety after woman drives van into ocean: http://rtvote.com/1kyfwiB
    A pregnant South Carolina woman, driving a minivan with three children inside, drove into the ocean in Florida. Rescuers said that they heard the children screaming that their mother was trying to kill them. People worked frantically to remove the children and the mother from the waterlogged vehicle. The children, aged 3, 9, and 10, were carried to shore and examined at a hospital before being declared “okay”. The mother walked to shore, dazed, and has refused to talk about the incident.

    CULTURAL

    See the now-infamous selfie that broke Twitter on Oscar Night! http://rtvote.com/1hLqDBZ

    John Travolta’s response to his Idina Menzel flub: http://rtvote.com/1cuhUoa

    The best and worst moments from the Oscars are in! http://rtvote.com/1gakNpt

    An emoji version of Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love”? http://rtvote.com/1e1MWP0

    Dancing with the Stars just announced its latest cast: http://rtvote.com/1l14Y8T

    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: Monday, February 24th, 2014

    Monday, February 24th, 2014

    The Department of Defense proposes some extreme military cuts; Deval Patrick may be considering running for president; and a strange polio-like disease strikes five kids. Meanwhile, view the top 15 moments at the Sochi Olympics; Alec Baldwin has harsh words for some celebrities; and Pharrell’s “Smoky the Bear” Grammy’s hat is up for auction.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Defense Department to cut Army to pre-WWII size:http://rtvote.com/1pjsT6W
    The Department of Defense will present a new defense budget Monday that will decrease defense spending. The budget outlines a plan intent on reducing the Army to the size it was before World War Two (between 440,000 and 450,000 troops) and plans on removing a class of Air Force attack jets. The bill, supported by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, protects funding for cyberwarfare and security as well as special operations programs. Congressional leaders with large military populations in the area they represent may provide a strong opposition to the budget.

    Mass. Gov Patrick: ‘Maybe’ I’ll run for president:http://rtvote.com/1k4j7lg
    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick told Politico that he might consider a run for president in the future. He originally dismissed rumors of a 2016 presidential bid because he was afraid of the impact the election would have on his family. Patrick said that he and his wife would have to agree on running if he ever considered it. Patrick is not running for a third gubernatorial term this year.

    Longest-serving Congressman to retire:http://rtvote.com/1cHUd9x
    Michigan Representative John Dingell, 87, will retire from the House of Representatives when his 29th term ends later this year. A champion of healthcare reform, environmental protection, gun control, worker’s rights, and gun rights, Dingell has an impressive congressional accomplishments sheet. Serving in Congress has taken a toll on his physical health, and he continually expressed frustration with the increasingly partisan Congressional gridlock. Dingell’s retirement is now one of many, as more congressmen and senators call for retirement. Although his Michigan district is considered a safety district for Democrats, the Congressman or woman who takes his place will have a tough act to follow.

    Polio-like illness found in five California children:http://rtvote.com/1epOTnD
    Between August 2012 and July 2013, five California children have become paralyzed in one or more of their limbs. Doctors ruled out polio because all of the affected children had been vaccinated against the disease, despite their ailment having polio-like qualities. Instead, two of the five children have been diagnosed with enterovirus 68, an incredibly rare disease that is from the same family as polio. Since 2000, there have been 47 cases of enterovirus 68 in the United States. Health officials are not concerned about the possibility of an outbreak, stressing the rarity of the illness.

    Students, say goodbye to snow days:http://rtvote.com/OtTD74
    Teachers are beginning to utilize technology to teach at home. Because this winter has been difficult for many areas of the country, some schools have run out of snow days. Teachers in some school districts have begun to teach online during snow days, requiring students to log in to a program online to keep track of attendance and grades. This prevents students from missing too many school days, which would require school officials to take days away from spring break.

    CULTURAL

    See the most memorable moments from the Sochi Olympics:http://rtvote.com/1fnoTj4

    Brooke-Burke Charvet ousted from her DWTS hosting job:http://rtvote.com/1eb5gt5

    Alec Baldwin’s harsh New York essay:http://rtvote.com/1gwSMKa

    You can buy Pharrell’s infamous Grammy hat:http://rtvote.com/1mD9Ju3

    Liam Neeson discusses Natasha Richardson’s death:http://rtvote.com/1pjQ9ll

    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, January 15, 2014

    Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

    The U.S. Senate sheds new light on the attack in Benghazi; new details are released in the New Mexico middle school shooting; and Governor Chris Christie of NJ addresses “Bridgegate” in his State of the State address. Meanwhile, 2014 gets off to a rocky start for Justin Bieber and Kanye West after two high-profile incidents.

    Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Senate report: Attack on U.S. compound in Benghazi could have been prevented: http://rtvote.com/1j7nle7
    The bipartisan report on the 2012 attack on the United States compound in Benghazi, Libya shows that the State Department was warned about the potential for attack but did not increase security around the compound. The report also blames intelligence agencies for not discussing CIA outpost locations within the U.S. military. However, the report does not discuss in depth whether the Obama administration downplayed the attacks, saying that no one knew when the attacks were to occur.

    Shooter may have warned some students: http://rtvote.com/1b39JIV
    The 12-year-old suspect accused of opening fire in a New Mexico middle school’s gymnasium yesterday morning may have warned certain students against coming to school early. This discovery is currently being investigated by police, along with other claims. So far, police have not been able to determine a motive for the shooting; however, the shooter is in custody. Two students were injured in the attack.

    Can Christie change the subject? http://rtvote.com/Kj1Nfm
    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered his State of the State address yesterday. He acknowledged the mistakes his administration has made recently in regards to the closing of bridge lanes on the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee (dubbed “Bridgegate”). After apologizing, Christie tried to change the subject to focus on more pressing policy issues in the state. However, many people believe that Christie’s reputation is now too tarnished to allow a potential presidential bid in 2016.

    CBS airs video of chaotic scene at Asiana crash site: http://rtvote.com/1hqMYnc
    CBS has recently released video footage of firefighters and emergency personnel tending to survivors and the wreckage of the Asiana plane crash. The crash occurred last summer at San Francisco airport. The story received national attention not only due to the crash, but also because of the death of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan, who survived the crash but was struck and killed by a fire truck at the scene.

    Va. Democrat Jim Moran to retire from Congress: http://rtvote.com/1eDrVLC
    After serving twelve Congressional terms, Representative Jim Moran will not run for re-election.  Moran, an occasionally combative and passionate member of Congress, represents Virginia’s 8th District. His retirement could potentially create a heated primary election because of the 8th District’s reputation as being a Democratic stronghold.

    CULTURAL 

    Police raid Justin Bieber’s house after incident: http://rtvote.com/1m7g7nA 

    Are Johnny Depp and girlfriend Amber Heard engaged? http://rtvote.com/K2E17V

    How Harry Connick Jr. can save American Idol: http://rtvote.com/1m7gs9M

    Kanye West allegedly assaults a young man: http://rtvote.com/1aoR914 

    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: December 2, 2013

    Monday, December 2nd, 2013

    Amazon leads the way in the ultimate futuristic shopping experience; friends, family, and fans mourn the tragic deaths of Paul Walker and Roger Rodas; and a train flies off the tracks in the Bronx. Meanwhile, Tom Daley and Maria Bello both proudly come out about their homosexuality.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Amazon testing delivery by drone, CEO Bezos sayshttp://rtvote.com/1htdgaD
    Awesome, futuristic tech AND the perfect online shopping experience? If Amazon can pull this off, then “bravo!”. The commerce company’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, said they are testing the delivery of packages using drones. The idea is to have small, unmanned aircrafts, dubbed octocopters, pick up packages at Amazon’s fulfillment centers and then deliver them to customers 30 minutes or less after they hit the “Buy” button. The service will be called Prime Air, and Bezos estimates it will take off in as little as three or four years.

    LA coroner can’t ID Paul Walker’s bodyhttp://rtvote.com/1fZuVXa
    Rest in peace, Paul and Roger. Our hearts and condolences go out to their friends and family. Paul Walker, 40, and Roger Rodas, 38, passed away Saturday in a tragic car accident. The friends took a Porsche out for a test-run after Rodas’s employees said there was something wrong with the stalling vehicle. While troubleshooting the car, it crashed and was so badly engulfed in flames that the coroner cannot ID Paul’s body without his dental records.

    New York train derails; “gravel came flying up,” survivor says,http://rtvote.com/IoLRIi
    A train derailed in the Bronx Sunday morning, killing four and injuring at least 67. About 150 people were on board, and many are traumatized from the violent incident. The train came off the tracks, twisted, and turned rubble and smoke into the passenger cars.

    Walmart’s Black Friday Going About As Badly As You’d Expect,http://rtvote.com/1fZDeC4
    People need to chill. It’s always sad to hear about people assaulting one another… but when they’re doing so over a discounted television, that’s when you know there’s something wrong. The Instagram videos in this article display some of the aggression that played out in Walmart stores during BlackFriday. And, believe it or not, they weren’t limited to just one Walmart!

    Obama’s solution helps bring peace to military conflict,http://rtvote.com/18VcyhK
    A new White House policy, which went into effect on November 15, allows the undocumented spouses, children, and parents of military personnel to be “paroled” into the United States. Once paroled, these relatives will be able to apply for green cards without having to first return to their home countries. Military officials approve the policy because they say it lessens the stress that combat personnel may experience when trying to balance serving their country and helping their relatives navigate the immigration system.

     

    CULTURAL

    Paul Walker’s Daughter Meadow “Still in Shock” Over Actor’s Death: How the 15-Year-Old Is Coping, http://rtvote.com/IFXwTj

    Tom Daley Comes Out in Video Revealing He Is in Gay Relationship,http://rtvote.com/1k2fKtq

    Maria Bello is Gay: Actress Reveals Longtime Relationship With a Woman, Writes That She Considers Herself a “Whatever,” http://rtvote.com/1c79SuD

    Zac Efron Skateboards in L.A. – See the First Pic Since Actor Broke His Jaw,http://rtvote.com/1jcztsO

    sandywu
    Bio:

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