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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: Friday, February 14, 2014

    Friday, February 14th, 2014

    Tens of thousands evacuate Indonesia after volcanic eruption; Facebook adds up to 10 gender pronoun choices; snow hits hard on the East Coast; and President Obama announces a $1 billion climate fund proposal. Meanwhile, the day you’ve been LONG waiting for has arrived—House of Cards Season 2 is on Netflix!; an Olympic skier saves some adorable puppies in Sochi; and in celebration of Valentine’s Day, we have a list of 21 awkward greeting cards that will make your sides hurt with laughter.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Rockers!

    -Maura

     

    CRUCIAL 

    D.C. Region Begins Digging Out After Major Snowstorm Finally Moves On, http://rtvote.com/MRS1m3 Grab your snow boots and watch out for the ice! Another snowstorm swept through the region yesterday, blanketing major parts of the East Coast. The wintry onslaught left at least 21 people dead, including a pregnant woman who was struck by a snowplow in New York City. On Wednesday and Thursday, the snowstorm moved up from the South and left 1.2 million utility customers without power. And, as for snow coverage, the Northeast region near Pennsylvania got more than 22 inches and parts of upstate New York got 27!

    Indonesia Volcano Erupts; 76,000 Evacuated, Most of Java’s Airport Shut, http://rtvote.com/1dsISL8
    The Mount Kelud volcano, located in the province of East Java in Indonesia, erupted Thursday night sending 10 miles of ash into the air. Over 76,000 people have now fled their homes and flights across most of Java, Indonesia’s densely populated island, were grounded. Mount Kelud is one of 130 active volcanoes in the world’s fourth most populous country, which sits along the “Ring of Fire” volcanic belt around the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

    Vladimir Putin Visits Team USA in Sochi, http://rtvote.com/1nyRPUd
    Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to the USA House, which is a meeting place for the athletes and their families. The visit had been kept low key, and visitors at the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters were stunned when he appeared. Mr. Putin has been making his rounds sporadically at national organizing committee spotlights.

    Facebook Opens Up LBGTQ-Friendly Gender Identity And Pronoun Options, http://rtvote.com/1bRXkIm Facebook recently updated gender options for their users.  Aside from the usual “male” and “female” options, users can choose up to 10 different gender definitions to describe themselves out of more than 50 options.  Some of those options include, “cisgender”, “transgender”, and “intersex.” Not only will the gender choice show up on the user’s About page, but it will show up in all other pronouns on the site that refer to that user.

    Obama to propose $1 billion climate fund, http://rtvote.com/1kHD0Se
    In an effort to bring climate change to the forefront, President Obama is preparing to ask Congress to set up a $1 billion “Climate Resilience Fund” in his proposed budget next month. According to the White House, the fund would go to research on the projected impacts of climate change, help communities prepare for climate change’s effects, and fund “breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure.” On Friday, the President will travel to Fresno, California to discuss the impact of drought in the Western U.S. and to announce his climate fund proposal.

    CULTURAL

    Skier Gus Kenworthy Proves His Heart of Gold By Saving Puppies in Sochi, http://rtvote.com/MPtvlE

    The Coolest Teachers Ever Announce Snow Day With Hilarious Rap,http://rtvote.com/1btlluR

    21 Awkward Valentine’s Day Cards For Your Confusing Modern Relationship, http://rtvote.com/1c3KhHg

    Bethenny Frankel’s Daytime Talk Show Cancelled, Not Renewed for Second Season, http://rtvote.com/1dPCppi

    President Obama’s Twitter Account: No ‘House of Cards’ Spoilers,http://rtvote.com/1gAmTly

    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: Thursday, February 6th, 2014

    Thursday, February 6th, 2014

    An All-Star pitcher is diagnosed with cancer; NYC schools undergo some holiday changes; outrage erupts after a trial’s conclusion; another murder trial begins; and Sochi officials fire back at critics. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber makes headlines yet again; Kevin Jonas posts an adorable picture of his daughter; Jon Gosselin has some serious things to say; and Emma Watson’s Wonderland interview is out!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Curt Schilling diagnosed with cancer: http://rtvote.com/1fKY2vI
    47-year-old pitching legend Curt Schilling shocked the sports community yesterday when he revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer. He had pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Boston Red Sox, winning three World Series Championships. Schilling was due to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team this MLB season.

    NYC Schools to Get Islamic, Lunar Holidays Off: http://rtvote.com/1jiuyIO
    New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio has begun instigating some new schooling policies. Soon, NYC public schools will close for various Muslim holidays (including Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two Islamic holy days) and the Chinese New Year. De Blasio says he wants to take time to adjust school calendars to make these new changes.

    No jail for ‘affluenza’ teen in fatal car crash draws outrage: http://rtvote.com/1byx3SA
    The Texas boy responsible for hitting a group of people (killing four and injuring nine) due to driving under the influence will not receive jail time. Instead, 17-year-old Ethan Couch will be on probation for ten years and will attend rehab for an unspecified amount of time. His defense team used the ‘affluenza’ defense; this stated that Couch had been spoiled by his wealthy family and felt entitled and lacked good judgment. Psychologists believe that the future use of the affluenza defense could almost reinforce recklessness and bad judgment.

    ‘Loud music’ murder trial begins: http://rtvote.com/1eBp5t2
    The trial for the Florida man accused of shooting and killing a 17-year-old in late 2012 is being put on trial. The man, Michael Dunn, noticed an SUV was playing loud music at a gas station and asked the people inside to turn it down. Allegedly, one occupant withdrew a shotgun, prompting Dunn to grab his own gun and shoot eight times into the car, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn waited before calling police, who did not find a weapon in the SUV. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. The trial should not last until February 14th.

    Russian Officials Fire Back at Olympic Critics: http://rtvote.com/1ndDX1C
    Dmitry Kozak, the top person responsible for the Sochi Olympic preparations, has been firing back at critics, saying they have surveillance video of people purposely trying to sabotage their hotel rooms. Kozak also said they’ve only received 103 complaints after housing over 100,000 guests. Olympic athletes like American speed skater Sugar Todd say that their hotel rooms do not have any problems. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson says that Sochi’s organizers are almost definitely working to solve the problems.

    CULTURAL

    The truth behind Justin Bieber’s “Pot Plane” scandal: http://rtvote.com/1fWnDRK

    Cute pic of Kevin Jonas’s daughter! http://rtvote.com/1fL6dYS 

    Jon Gosselin spouts off some serious stuff about Kate: http://rtvote.com/1khikAc

    See parts of Emma Watson’s Wonderland interview: http://rtvote.com/N8WRfD    

    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 6, 2013

    Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

    Results from the 2013 elections are analyzed after victors are announced—with wins by Christie, McAuliffe, and De Blasio capturing the headlines; talks of gay marriage being legal in Illinois emerge; and the mayor of Toronto publically admits to smoking crack. Meanwhile, excitement brews around the 2013 CMA’s and a Hunger Games star cuts off their hair (can you guess who?).

    - Sandy + Maura
    CRUCIAL

    Christie wins re-election; seen as prelude to 2016http://rtvote.com/1cEFYEh
    Last night, Republican incumbent Chris Christie won re-election in New Jersey’s governor race with the help of female and Hispanic voters, beating out Democratic Senator Barbara Buono with over 60% of the total votes. This sets Governor Christie up as a very possible Republican candidate to run for president in 2016. However, Christie has yet to reveal his plans for a presidential candidacy.

    De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor in Landslidehttp://rtvote.com/1cEG0fz
    Bill de Blasio won NYC’s mayoral race, defeating his opponent, Joseph J. Lhota, by a margin of 49 percentage points, with 99 percent of the votes counted. De Blasio, a supporter of very liberal change, won over many New Yorkers by acknowledging rising frustrations with income inequality, aggressive policing tactics, and lack of affordable housing. The new mayor will become the first Democrat to lead NY in a generation.

    Why Terry McAuliffe barely wonhttp://rtvote.com/19DNkV2
    In the days leading up to Election Day, public opinion polls showed that Democrat Terry McAuliffe had a very good lead on Republican Ken Cuccinelli for Virginia’s governor race. The final results pegged McAuliffe as the winner, but only by less than 3 percentage points leaving the race much closer than expected.

    Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinoishttp://rtvote.com/1hNol4Q
    Will Illinois be the 15th state to legalize gay marriage? It sure seems like it! Lawmakers approved a bill that extended the right to wed to same-sex couples yesterday. Governor Pat Quinn plans to sign the bill, which would go into effect on June 1, 2014.

    Toronto Mayor Admits Crack Use, as Wild Ride in Office Continueshttp://rtvote.com/1baaqkI
    Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, 44, is no stranger to public acts of drunken belligerence and other inappropriate behavior. In May, Ford denied smoking crack cocaine when questioned, but yesterday he officially admitted to using the drug. However, don’t expect him to be stepping down anytime soon. Up until this point, his right-of-center, suburban supporters have remained loyal. However, this most recent scandal may have been too much for his core constituency.

    CULTURAL

    Jennifer Lawrence Cuts Off Hair—See Pixie Cut on Hunger Games Star, http://rtvote.com/18ZxEHe

    Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz Tour Kicks Off on Valentine’s Day 2014, http://rtvote.com/17F8UtU

    CMA Awards Ballot: Who should/will win?, http://rtvote.com/HxFMIB

    Lady Gaga to Sing In Space in 2015, http://rtvote.com/1arWPT8

    Kris Jenner Celebrates 58th Birthday with Family, Given Cake with Her Face on it, http://rtvote.com/17N1zGz

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

    Reflection & remembrance unfold on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; President Obama addresses the nation on Syria; new Apple iPhone price stirs concerns; and the NYC Democratic primary declares Bill de Blasio as the winner. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus gets naked; Emily Blunt is expecting her first child; and celebrities step out for the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.

    -Maura

    NEWS

    9/11 anniversary a time of remembrance, reflection, http://rtvote.com/17WQe4d
    Today the United States steps back from the brink of conflict with Syria to reflect and remember the nearly 3,000 victims from the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  In New York, hundreds of friends and families of the victims stood silently as bagpipes played in the background. President Obama marked the anniversary with a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House.

    The Story of an Unsung 9/11 Hero, http://rtvote.com/17WQRe0
    On the anniversary of 9/11 the country is taking time to reflect on the many heroes that emerged from the crowd on that terrible day. One of those heroes was Benjamin Cark, a chef who saved hundreds of lives in the South Tower.

    Planned as Call to Act, Obama’s Speech Became a Plea for Time, http://rtvote.com/1ei7sQP
    President Obama addressed the nation on Tuesday evening from the East Room of the White House to discuss the U.S. response to the crisis in Syria. In his speech he postponed a vote in Congress that would have decided whether or not the U.S. takes military action in Syria. This delay was announced in order to allow more time to pursue diplomatic options.

    Apple falls on concern about iPhone pricing, http://rtvote.com/1ei6t2P
    Apple revealed two new iPhones on Tuesday that will cost a cool $549 without a two-year cell phone contract. Apple shares dropped more than 5% in afternoon trading on Wednesday over concerns that the new iPhone 5c is priced too high.  Analysts believe that it is too pricy to have appeal in emerging markets.

    ELECTIONS
    New York City

    DeBlasio tops NYC mayoral race; Spitzer loses, http://rtvote.com/15kl1JH
    With 98 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio had 40.2 percent of the vote with former Comptroller Bill Thompson in second place at 26.2 percent. He easily topped his field of competitors in the Democratic primary to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball Breaks Record for VEVO’s Most View Video, http://rtvote.com/17WNBz7

    Emily Blunt Pregnant, Expecting First Child With John Krasinski, http://rtvote.com/1ehZjM4

    2013 Toronto Film Festival: Star Sightings, http://rtvote.com/1ehZzL9

    Prince Harry and Prince William Broker 25 Billion Euro Deal During Fundraiser, http://rtvote.com/1ei09sh

    Sharon Osbourne Reveals Pre-Ozzy Fling With…Jay Leno, http://rtvote.com/17WPLyN

    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