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    NEWS ROUND-UP: WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

    Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

    The Taliban attacks eastern Afghanistan and announces its “spring offensive;” Chen Guangcheng safely retreats to a medical facility in China; April’s U.S. job growth does not meet expectations; vandals violently disrupt May Day protests in Seattle; and Newt Gingrich will announce the end of his campaign at 3 pm today; Meanwhile, Tyler Perry’s studio catches fire in Atlanta;  Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus Rumored For ‘X Factor’ Judge Spot; and Jessica Simpson welcomes a new baby girl.

    Kelly H. + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Violence mars May Day protests in Seattle, http://bit.ly/IuX6tX
    Violence erupted during Seattle May Day social-justice rallies that were supposed to be peaceful. 75 vandals created havoc by shattering glass, attacking police and vandalizing financial institutions in the area. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn issued an emergency order that gave police the power to seize anything that could be used as a  weapon. So far eight people have been arrested, with at least one dozen businesses and government buildings damaged. Most of the vandals, who wielded long black poles, have disappeared.

    Blind Chinese Dissident Leaves U.S. Embassy for Medical Treatment, http://nyti.ms/Imee4c
    Chen Guangcheng has left the American Embassy in Beijing after confirmation from the Chinese government that he would be safe. He left the embassy to seek treatment at a medical facility. According to American officials, negotiations will allow Guangcheng the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment. Guangcheng suffered an injury to his foot while escaping from his house last week. He was able to reunite with his wife and family at the hospital.

    ADP: U.S. Added Only 119,000 New Jobs In April; Stocks Double Early Losses, http://onforb.es/IT5IJp
    The labor market is rumored to weaken for a second straight month after companies hired far less people than anticipated. Employment only increased by 119,000 after a 183,000 gain was expected. Small and medium-sized businesses contributed to the majority of new jobs, whereas large companies had only a 3.3% increase. Analysts theorize that job growth from March will lead to cut-backs later this year.

    Eleven killed in Egypt clashes over army rule, http://reut.rs/JMTpPx
    Eleven were killed and more than 160 wounded in Egypt after armed men assaulted protesters demanding an end to army rule. The protesters included ultraconservative Salafi Islamists who gathered near Egypt’s Defense Ministry. The demonstrators were angry at the exclusion of their candidate from the upcoming vote. Two Islamist candidates have also now suspended their presidential election campaigns. The election set for May 23 and 24 is causing high tensions and is evidence of a fragile transition to democracy in Egypt.

    Taliban announces start of annual Afghan offensive, http://usat.ly/ITBshk
    The Taliban announced today that it will begin its annual “spring offensive” in Afghanistan this week, calling it “Al-Farouk,” which is the name of the second Muslim caliph. The offensive is targeting “all those people who work against the Mujahedeen, toil to pave ground for the occupation of Afghanistan and become the cause for the strength of the invaders.” The announcement came after a car bomb attack in a private compound in eastern Afghanistan that killed seven and injured seventeen; the attack took place hours after President Obama’s surprise visit to the country. During his visit, Obama and President Hamid Karzai signed a strategic partnership agreement that will serve for future relations between the two nations.

    (via NBC Montana) Justice Department Unveils New Details In Missoula Civil Rights Investigation: The US Department of Justice has unveiled new details about its civil rights investigation into Missoula police, prosecutors and the University of Montana. The two-prong investigation is focused on allegations of a pattern of gender discrimination in relation to reported sex assaults. NBC Montana reporters attended a news conference with top-level US Attorneys from the department’s civil rights department, Montana’s US Attorney, Missoula’s Mayor, Police Chief and the President of the University of Montana. The Justice Department reports over 80 alleged rapes in Missoula over the last three years, with at least 11 in an 18 month period involving University of Montana students. Officials say the federal investigation will look at sexual assaults alleged by all women in Missoula, not just students. The Justice Department also says its Civil Rights team has uncovered patterns of gender discrimination in the New Orleans Police Department as well as two others, http://bit.ly/IpND7h

    PA Voter ID Law Would Keep 93-Year-Old Who Marched With Martin Luther King From Voting, http://bit.ly/JoUATa
    Pennsylvania’s Viviette Applewhite is one of the star plaintiffs in a new lawsuit that opposes PA’s voter ID law. Applewhite has voted in almost every election since 1960 and is an activist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement. Under PAs voter ID law, Applewhite will not be able to vote because she does not have an identification card that would be required at the polls. She does not drive and her purse containing her identification card was stolen; she is also unable to register for a card because the 93-year-old cannot locate her birth certificate. Applewhite is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the Advancement Project, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP) and the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP. The suit is seeking injunction to stop the law’s enforcement before the November election.

    Gingrich poised to embrace bitter rival Romney, http://cbsn.ws/ImGnYN
    Newt Gingrich is planning to suspend his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination later today. In an interview with USA Today, he said he will endorse Romney’s candidacy. Gingrich’s campaign, despite winning two primary contests, has become saddled in massive debt. The announcement is set for 3 p.m. EST in Arlington, Virginia. Neither Mitt Romney nor Rick Santorum is scheduled to be there. Santorum has not yet decided if he will endorse a candidate.

    CULTURAL:

    Tyler Perry’s studio catches fire in Atlanta, http://cbsn.ws/Jp3Kio

    ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Bridesmaids’ top MTV Movie Awards, http://bit.ly/JNvlvG

    Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus Rumored For ‘X Factor’ Judge Spot, http://on.mtv.com/IA7mVc

    Jessica Simpson’s Dad Joe Says New Granddaughter Is a ‘Miracle,’ http://bit.ly/IAERa1

    Rosario Dawson On Election 2012, The Latino Vote And Endorsing Presidential Candidates, http://huff.to/ITENwR

    Kelly Holleran
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 26th, 2012

    Thursday, April 26th, 2012

    An alleged rocket strike kills 70 in Syria; Charles Taylor has been found guilty of aiding Sierra Leone rebels; LAX TSA screeners are being charged with corruption and drug trafficking; the head of the New England mob has been arrested; a suicide bomber kills three at a Nigerian newspaper; and Obama launches the 2012 presidential race with announced campaign stops. Meanwhile, hologram Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes may join TLC for a reunion tour; viewers will have to keep up with the Kardashians for three more years; and a sneak peak at Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” has been released.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Syria: Massive explosion in Hama ‘kills 70,’ http://bbc.in/IefdaO
    A huge explosion in the city of Hama, possibly caused by a rocket strike, has left 70 Syrians dead. Video footage depicts people pulling bodies out of a crater that is too large to be caused by regular shelling. The Syrian government says the explosion is from the blowing up of a terrorist bomb factory. The Arab League has called an emergency meeting to discuss the attack. Only 13 of the 300 U.N. monitors are in Syria.
    Charles Taylor guilty of aiding Sierra Leone war crimes, http://bbc.in/I7Rd3u
    The Hague has found former Liberian leader Charles Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting rebels in Sierra Leone’s civil war which left 50,000 dead. According to the court, Taylor provided weapons and communications equipment to rebels in return for blood diamonds. Taylor was also found guilty of murder, rape, sexual slavery, cruelty, and enlisting child soldiers. Prosecutors were unable to prove that he commanded the rebels. Taylor is the first head of state to be convicted of war crimes by an international court since the Nuremberg trials
    TSA screeners allegedly let drug couriers through LAX for cash, http://lat.ms/K01ZxU
    Several TSA agents at Los Angeles International Airport have been indicted for corruption and drug trafficking. Allegedly, the agents allowed suitcases filled with cocaine and methamphetamine through airport security in exchange for thousands of dollars. The agents would meet the smugglers, place them in line so that they could check them through the monitoring desk, and then meet them again in the airport bathroom to retrieve their money. The TSA is also facing criticism for patting down a crying four-year-old in Kansas.
    Man Said to Be Acting Head of New England Mob Is Held, http://nyti.ms/Izppsr
    Anthony DiNunzio, the alleged head of the New England mafia, has been arrested after he was recorded bragging that he’d remain the mob’s boss even if he were imprisoned. He was also heard telling members of New York’s Gambino crime family that he would bury disobedient members alive. “You and I get to watch you die in the ground,” he allegedly said. DiNunzio apparently came into power in 2009 and may be responsible for the extortion of Rhode Island strip clubs and other businesses.
    Suicide car bombs hit Nigerian newspaper offices, http://lat.ms/K01ZxU
    Two explosions killed three people at the office of This Day, a newspaper in Nigeria that supports President Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan has been a public target for the Islamist guerilla group Boko Haram, although the group has not taken responsibility for the attack. Witnesses say the suicide bomber drove into the building with a Jeep.
    Obama to launch 2012 campaign with first official rallies in Virginia, Ohio, http://bit.ly/IRtfLN
    The Obama campaign has announced its first official campaign stops. On May 5th, President Obama and Michelle Obama will visit Columbus, OH and Richmond, VA. The president has already been traveling to college campuses in campaign stop fashion. He has been speaking to students about reforming student loan-debt and drawing from personal experience on the issue, “I just want everybody here to understand,” the president said,  ”I didn’t just read about this.
    (via ABC News) Texas Gov. Perry Endorses Romney, http://abcn.ws/IbHuym
    Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsed Mitt Romney today, ahead of Newt Gingrich dropping out of the race, which is expected to happen next week. “Mitt Romney has earned the Republican Presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration,” said Perry in a statement.
    CULTURAL:
    This Isn’t Weird at All: Britney Spears’ Fiance Gets Shared Legal Control Over Her, http://bit.ly/IUjUCy

    TLC reuniting for a tour with virtual Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes?, http://on.msnbc.com/IzD9nd

    E! network re-ups the Kardashian crew for three more years of reality TV, http://post.cr/IHtIjZ

    First Look at Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ Is Off The Chain, http://bit.ly/If5S0w

    Katherine Heigl, Josh Kelley Adopt Second Daughter, http://bit.ly/Ic1pu7

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    @caitlinmagu
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

    Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

    The first U.S. case of mad cow disease in six years has been reported; the RNC will financially back Mitt Romney; Newt Gingrich will suspend his campaign today; and women have been granted more military service opportunities. Meanwhile, President Obama has an eventful guest appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon;” an unpeaceful Metta World Peace is suspended for seven games; and the ‘Fox Mole’ has his laptop seized.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Marines Moving Women Toward the Front Lines, http://nyti.ms/Ikn1m8
    Following a Pentagon policy released in February, the Marines are allowing women to participate in ground combat battalions and attend infantry-officer school in Quantico, VA. Females will still not able to serve as infantrymen or Special Operations commandos, but they will be able to work in administration, logistics, communications, and motor transport at the battalion level.

    (via CNN) S. Korea curbs U.S. beef sales after confirmation of mad cow disease, http://bit.ly/IpIzAz
    The first U.S. case of mad cow disease in six years sparked fears of illness that prompted at least one major South Korean retailer to suspend the sale of American beef. However, public health officials said the risk for disease for Americans is extremely low given that the affected dairy cow in central California was not part of the human food chain and was not exposed to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) through animal feed. “It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health,” said John Clifford, the Agriculture Department’s chief veterinarian.

    Mitt Romney and RNC move to synchronize efforts, http://wapo.st/I5bMO4
    Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee, said on Wednesday that the GOP will use all of its resources to back Romney in his bid for the presidency. The announcement comes after Romney won five primaries last night, including Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware. The RNC has raised $35.5 million this year.

    (via The Washington Post) Obama reaches out to young voters in North Carolina with student-loan issue,http://wapo.st/IcE8Kb
    President Obama reached out to crucial young voters in Chapel Hill, N.C., Tuesday with a promise to keep college affordable, in the first of three campus appearances in three battleground states this week. Speaking to an exuberant crowd of about 8,000 at the University of North Carolina’s flagship campus, Obama made his case that congressional leaders must take action before July to prevent interest rates from doubling on federal student loans. Later Tuesday, he will give a similar speech at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and on Wednesday he will speak at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

    (via POLITICO) Newt Gingrich will suspend his campaign on Tuesday in an announcement in the Washington D.C. area, multiple sources close to the campaign confirmed to POLITICO. It is “highly likely” that Gingrich will endorse Mitt Romney at that time, the sources also confirmed.

    Misconduct in Colombia Varied, an Inquiry Finds, http://nyti.ms/JnAFsc
    Three Secret Service agents accused of misconduct in Colombia will be able to keep their jobs. An inquiry into the agents’ hiring of Colombian prostitutes has found that one officer was unaware the woman was a prostitute and told her to leave when he found out, while another agent brought back a woman who wasn’t a prostitute at all. According to The New York Times, Secret Service rules about picking up women in foreign countries are not very clear.

    Debt Collector Is Faulted for Tough Tactics in Hospitals, http://nyti.ms/InZlMZ
    Accretive Health, one of the largest medical debt collectors in the U.S., is being accused of unsavory collecting practices. The attorney general in Minnesota, where many of these practices took place, has revealed that Accretive collectors would disguise themselves as hospital employees, have access to patients’ medical records, and would demand patients pay for their treatments before they took place. Some collectors even discouraged patients from receiving emergency medical care.

    CULTURAL:

    Fox Mole Joe Muto Says His Laptop Was Seized in Grand Larceny Investigation, http://bit.ly/IDQQjm

    Metta World Peace suspended 7 games for elbow, http://apne.ws/IcCfgq

    Obama On Jimmy Fallon: President Discusses Student Loans, Mitt Romney, Secret Service Scandal,http://huff.to/I1pRNP

    “The Hobbit” sneak peek gets mixed reaction from critics, http://cbsn.ws/IkAydB

    Cuban Actors Flee During Film’s Tribeca Festival Premiere, http://bit.ly/JG9Izk

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    @caitlinmagu
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

    A relentless North Korea will run nuclear tests for a third time; Wal-Mart faces a criminal investigation; clothing companies design gun-concealing apparel; a measure that would outlaw the death penalty makes the California ballot; Social Security will run out by 2033; and Gingrich hints at dropping out of the GOP race. Meanwhile, Kim and Kanye step out as a couple, as do Mila and Ashton; and Justin Bieber has a “Billie Jean” moment.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Exclusive: North Korea’s nuclear test ready “soon,” http://reut.rs/JnCoLw
    North Korea is at it again. The reclusive country is testing its nuclear capabilities for a third time despite an embarrassing failed rocket launch last week. North Korea’s insistence on proving it’s a nuclear contender has caused hostility between it and the United States, as well as South Korea and China. Previous nuclear tests took place in 2006 and 2009.

    Wal-Mart faces federal criminal probe tied to allegations of bribery in Mexico, http://wapo.st/J75dKb
    The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into Wal-Mart after it was revealed that the store’s Mexican arm paid at least $24 million in bribes. Mexico provides a booming market for the retail chain, and Wal-Mart heads were paying bribes in return for quick building permits there. In December, Wal Mart voluntarily told the Justice Department that they believed its Mexican branch was taking part in bribery; however, that was long after the company had found out it was happening. In 2005, a whistleblower told Wal-Mart that bribes were taking place, but the company shut down the inquiry and did not inform law enforcement.

    New Fashion Wrinkle: Stylishly Hiding the Gun, http://nyti.ms/JvjE0u
    As more states pass concealed carry laws, clothing companies like Woolrich and Under Armour are designing clothing that will allow gun owners to discreetly carry and access their handguns. The apparel will look like everyday clothing and will not require a gun holster. “What we’ve tried to do is create a collection of garments that allows the end user to have stylish lifestyle apparel but have features in the garment that enable them to carry a weapon and draw the weapon quickly,” said the vice president of clothing company 5.11. Last year, 7 million Americans had a concealed-weapons permit, up 2 million people from 2008.

    Measure that would end death penalty in California qualifies for ballot, http://lat.ms/IOFPuJ
    A measure that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole has qualified for the ballot in California this November. If the measure passes, more than 700 people on death row would have their sentences commuted. California has one of the largest death rows in the United States. One of the reasons the measure has come up is that it would save the state a great deal of money. The legal process for those sentenced takes so long that most inmates die of old age before facing lethal injection. Not to mention, in the past 23 years, the 13 inmates that California executed cost taxpayers $4 billion.

    Social Security moving toward insolvency even faster; officials say, as boomers start retiring, http://wapo.st/IBHrZE
    The federal government revealed yesterday that Social Security may run out by 2033, three years earlier than previously predicted. The weak economy paired with a large number of aging baby boomers has contributed to the quickly dwindling funds, which lawmakers have not made moves to fix. Medicare will also be insolvent as early as 2024. Government officials have said that Congress must act quickly and drastically to save both Social Security and Medicare.

    Gingrich hints he may drop from race this week, http://on.msnbc.com/IeQX35
    Newt Gingrich told a crowd in Delaware yesterday that if he does not do well in the state’s primary he will “reassess” his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Delaware is a winner-take-all state, but if Gingrich does not receive many votes in the primary he will “need to take a deep look at what [he is] doing.” Gingrich also noted that while Mitt Romney is the frontrunner “that doesn’t mean he is inevitable.”

    Katrina vanden Heuvel wants to combat new voting laws in a “Vote for Universal Registration,” http://wapo.st/I6Z5r9

    CULTURAL:

    Russell Brand Testifies on Drug Addiction, Calls It a Health Matter, http://eonli.ne/ImqzXx

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Step Out Holding Hands: Now Is It Official?, http://eonli.ne/I2X1Lz

    Ashton Kutcher and Mila Spend Weekend Together, http://bit.ly/I6ZIRu

    Demi Lovato says promoters gave her drugs and alcohol, http://cbsn.ws/JnHabW

    Justin Bieber pens song about baby-claim fan Mariah Yeater, http://usat.ly/Iq2S18

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    @caitlinmagu
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

    Anders Behring Breivik says he would carry out his Norway massacre again; Afghan schoolgirls are poisoned in an attack on female education; Rick Santorum refuses to endorse Mitt Romney; and Ann Romney says their dog loved riding on the roof of the car. Meanwhile, lover of zoos, Newt Gingrich, has been bitten by a penguin; the Tupac hologram may go on tour; and Jason Mraz is out with a new album.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Defiant Breivik ‘would carry out massacre again,’ http://bbc.in/HKl6GQ
    Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man accused of killing 77 people in a rampage last year, spoke defiantly in court yesterday. He stated “I have carried out the most spectacular and sophisticated attack on Europe since World War II.” Breivik went on to defend his actions noting, “These acts are based on goodness, not evil.”  He also added that he would carry out his crimes again, and that he was toning down his statements out of respect to the victims. The court will decide whether Breivik is criminally insane or not. There have already been two different rulings regarding his sanity. If Breivik is found sane and guilty, he could face at least 21 years in prison.

    Afghan schoolgirls poisoned in anti-education attack, http://reut.rs/HUS3lK
    Officials say they are 100 percent sure that 150 Afghan schoolgirls were deliberately poisoned in an attack on female education. The girls suffered from headaches and vomiting, and some have been hospitalized in critical condition.

    (via Journal Sentinel) Supreme Court refuses to take up voter ID cases, http://bit.ly/HNtA59
    [Wisconsin] Supreme Court refused Monday to immediately take up a pair of cases that struck down the state’s new voter ID law, a decision that will likely mean citizens won’t have to show identification when they cast ballots in recall elections in May and June. The court’s terse orders send the cases back to two different appeals panels, though the cases could eventually return to the Supreme Court.

    Rick Santorum declines to endorse Mitt Romney, http://lat.ms/HPZGNh
    On a conference call with supporters last night, Rick Santorum did not take the opportunity to endorse Mitt Romney. “As far as you vote, that’s up to you,” he said. “I haven’t supported any candidate at this point, so that’s really up to you.” The thousands of people that called in were asked to push “0″ in order to help pay off the debt Santorum incurred during his campaign.

    Dog Seamus ‘Loved’ Trips Atop Family Car, Says Ann Romney, http://abcn.ws/IVWoHh
    In an interview with Mitt and Ann Romney, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked about the family strapping their dog, Seamus, to the roof of their car in his carrier. Ann responded that she didn’t know what the fuss was about, “The dog loved it. He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation.” Mitt added that the criticism he has received about Seamus is the most “wounding” yet on his campaign.

    (via LA Times) Space shuttle Discovery flies over D.C. to cheers — and warnings, http://lat.ms/HPseHM
    It was an extraordinary sight, even for Washington — a space shuttle flying over the nation’s capital atop a modified 747 on the way to its permanent new home, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Crowds gathered on the National Mall, office workers peered out windows and motorists pulled to the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the retired Discovery orbiter, which made a sweep of the capital region, over the monuments, before landing at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia.

    More military personnel might have been involved in misconduct before Obama’s trip, http://wapo.st/HQ4TCd
    Twenty Secret Service agents may have been involved in the prostitution scandal from President Obama’s trip to Colombia. At least two of the twenty are senior officials. Eleven Secret Service agents have already been put on leave due to the misconduct, and a first review of the hotel’s security cameras show that nine military personnel may have also entertained prostitutes. According to ABC News, Secret Service agents partied at Prey Club in Cartagena where they were heard bragging that they “work for Obama” and that “we’re here to protect him.”

    CULTURAL:

    Pippa Middleton pictured at lavish Paris fancy dress party hours before ‘gun incident,’ http://tgr.ph/IEx2ZX

    Newt nipped by zoo penguin, gets Band-Aid, http://reut.rs/ILFY59

    Tupac Hologram to tour?, http://bit.ly/IWmbzj

    Book world expresses disappointment, outrage over Pulitzer snub, http://bit.ly/HQoBPV

    Jason Mraz Talks “Love Is a Four Letter Word,” http://bit.ly/J50QF7

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    @caitlinmagu
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com