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    News Round-Up: Thursday, February 27, 2014

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoes SB 1062; Michelle Obama supports the FDA’s new rules for food labels; President Obama unveils “My Brother’s Keeper”; and NASA discovers 715 new planets. Meanwhile, Seth Rogan goes to Washington; Fast & Furious 7 resumes production soon; and it’s almost Oscar Night: see the nominees one more time!

    - Veronica + Maura

     CRUCIAL

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes anti-gay bill: http://rtvote.com/1hshIoc
    Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, the highly controversial Arizona bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to or turn away members of the LGBT community based on religious beliefs. Brewer said in a statement: “I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.” Opponents to the bill praised Brewer, while supporters of the bill believed the veto was a shot to religious freedom.

    Obama to detail program to help minority youth: http://rtvote.com/1fLN6xW
    President Obama will announce details on his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative on Thursday. The initiative is a partnership between businesses, organizations, and the government that will hopefully help “high risk” minority men stay out of jail through skills training. Several philanthropic groups have already pledged to funnel $200 million over the next five years into the program. The Obama administration and the organizations involved will analyze the effectiveness of existing programs that have similar aims as “My Brother’s Keeper” does and figure out how they can be reformed or maintained to improve effectiveness.

    Nutrition labels getting a makeover: http://rtvote.com/1ccfA5d
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed changing the nutrition labels found on every packaged food and drink. New labels would put a heavier focus on calories per serving and percent daily value, and the serving sizes will be changed to reflect the average amount of the product people consume. First Lady Michelle Obama is vehemently supporting the changes, saying in a press release that the new labels will “make a big difference for families all across the country.”

    Seoul: N. Korea fired short-range missiles into sea: http://rtvote.com/1ftGjum
    South Korean officials report that North Korea fired four short-range missiles into the sea on Thursday in an apparent protest of military exercises occurring between the United States and South Korea. Pyongyang believes that these exercises are a “rehearsal for invasion”. The launch could also be a plea for international attention in order to obtain more aid negotiations from foreign countries.

    NASA discovers 715 new planets: http://rtvote.com/1gEUNE6
    NASA announced Wednesday that they have found 715 new planets, making it the largest planetary discovery in history. To put this in perspective, before the announcement, there had been 1,000 planets discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. Four of these planets, scientists believe, have the potential to support life. The four are each about twice the size of Earth, and one orbits a star half the size of the sun every 30 days. The planets were discovered using the Kepler space observatory’s telescope. Launched in 2009, these 715 planets are only from Kepler’s first two years in space, meaning there could be more to come.

    CULTURAL

    Watch Seth Rogan in Congress! http://rtvote.com/1jDz3v7

    More Bieber drama after police release footage: http://rtvote.com/1jDzrKf

    Are Matthew Bellamy and Kate Hudson breaking up? http://rtvote.com/1cq4nZk 

    Fast & Furious 7 scheduled to resume production in April: http://rtvote.com/1eqa9OS

    Quick refresher before Oscars Sunday: see the nominees! http://rtvote.com/1mIZq7C

    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 9, 2013

    Monday, December 9th, 2013

    Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War vet, has been released from North Korea after six weeks; Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Yahoo have joined forces to fight the NSA; and local police agencies have started copying the NSA’s spying habits. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez throws a hissy fit on stage, and the mystery surrounding Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles’ relationship remains ongoing.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Merrill Newman has been deported from North Korea: reporthttp://rtvote.com/1gSBDfd
    The 85-year-old Korean War veteran, Merrill Newman, has finally been released after being detained in North Korea for six weeks. Newman had been held on charges of “hostile acts” against the state for his role in the war. North Korea released him because Newman apologized and also because of his age and medical condition. VP Joe Biden met Newman in Beijing to welcome him on his way home.

    Tech giants band together in anti-snooping coalitionhttp://rtvote.com/19c6WA0
    Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo have come together to form what is essentially an anti-NSA coalition. Dubbed the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition, these popular tech companies are determined to limit the federal government’s authority to collect user information. The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google have written an open letter to the federal government.

    Meet Mort Crim: The inspiration for Will Ferrell’s ‘Anchorman’http://rtvote.com/19wbw8G
    As theaters prepare for ‘Anchorman 2’, Ron Burgundy has been popping up on talk shows and sports events around the country. Even though the hilarious news anchor is a fictional character, he is based on someone very real. Meet the man who inspired Will Ferrell’s perfectly mustached character.

    Cellphone data spying: It’s not just the NSAhttp://rtvote.com/1dhAdbx
    The NSA is not the only one spying on people. Local police are now using new technologies to secretly collect data from people’s cellphones. About 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies have used a tactic known as a “tower dump”, and at least 25 police departments own a Stingray, a device that acts as a fake cell tower. 36 other police agencies refuse to say whether they’ve used either tactic.

    ‘127 Hours’ author arrested in Denverhttp://rtvote.com/1gSNw4F
    The man who James Franco portrayed in ‘127 Hours’ was arrested for assault and wrongs to minors in Denver on Saturday night. Aron Lee Ralston, 38, is due in court this afternoon. Ralston is best known for amputating his own arm with a dull blade after being trapped by a boulder for five days in a Utah canyon.

     

    CULTURAL

    Selena Gomez Curses During Performance, Walks Off Stage After Technical Difficulties, http://rtvote.com/1jEeZJQ

    Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles Leave NYC Hotel Together, http://rtvote.com/J7kByw

    One Direction Joins Paul Rudd and His Anchorman 2 Costars on SNL, Debut “Through the Dark,”http://rtvote.com/IXIWGn

    Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Attend Her Brother’s Wedding, http://rtvote.com/1cwnaVd

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: November 22, 2013

    Friday, November 22nd, 2013

    We honor President JFK on the 50th anniversary of his assassination; 3 San Jose State students engage in an appalling hate crime; and the Swedish embassy in North Korea is working to get an 85-year-old American war vet out of North Korean detention. Meanwhile, Hugh Jackman gets a spot of skin cancer removed (feel better, Hugh!), and, in a rare appearance, Adele is spotted with her baby boy.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    3 San Jose State students charged with hate crime against black roommate,http://rtvote.com/1bIxWnq
    Three San Jose State University students – Logan Beaschler, 18; Joseph Bomgardner, 19; Colin Warren, 18 – have been suspended and charged with misdemeanor hate crime and battery. They racially bullied their black roommate by nicknaming him “Three-fifths” (a reference to a constitutional provision that counted slaves as 3/5 of a person) and clamping a bicycle lock on his neck. They also decorated their shared apartment suite with Nazi symbols, a Confederate flag, and photos of Adolf Hitler. The 17-year-old victim suffered minor injuries when fighting off the bike lock from his neck.

    ‘Solemn’ event to honor JFK at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza,http://rtvote.com/1h7c9gL
    In honor of President John F. Kennedy, a commemoration ceremony will be held today in Dealey Plaza – the site of JFK’s assassination. JFK was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald exactly 50 years ago from today. You will never be forgotten, Mr. President. Thank you for all you have done for our country.

    U.S. to Consider Cellphone Use on Planeshttp://rtvote.com/1ca5A7t
    The Federal Communications Commission will soon propose allowing customers to use their cellphones on airplanes. Cellphone use would still be restricted during takeoff and landing, but passengers would be allowed to resume use after reaching 10,000 feet. The FAA said recently that cellphones pose no safety threat to aircrafts. It would ultimately be up to the airlines to allow this policy or not, and it looks like many customers may object.

    3 men, including 2 ex-cops, charged in 1994 slayings of Kentucky prostitutes,http://rtvote.com/1doyNR8
    In Kentucky, the murders of two prostitutes, Candace Belt, 22, and Gloria Ross, 18, remained unsolved since 1994. In 1997, the brothel’s madam accused two former cops of participating in the killings, but investigations had been thwarted by tampered evidence. A seven-year state police investigation has finally charged the two former cops, Leslie Duncan, 50, and Edward T. Carter, 43, and a third man, Frank J. Black, Jr., 39. The case remains opened, and Kentucky State Police believe this may “just be the tip of the iceberg.”

    Kerry: N Korea’s detention of veteran a “dangerous step”,http://rtvote.com/I8ZhYU
    Korean War veteran Merrill Newman, 85, was removed from his flight home and detained last month after visiting North Korea on a tourist visa. Newman is a grandfather from Palo Alto, California, and his family wants him home. The U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, so the Embassy of Sweden in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, is representing the interests of U.S. citizens and is working to resolve the issue.

     

    CULTURAL 

    Hugh Jackman Has Skin Cancer Removed, Reminds Us to Wear Sunscreen,http://rtvote.com/1aVO8AF

    Jennifer Lawrence Explains ER Trip: “You Can Only S–t Your Pants So Many Times” Before Admitting You Need a Hospital, http://rtvote.com/1aMyY4n

    Liam Hemsworth “Much Happier” After Miley Cyrus Breakup: “I’m More Centered and Grounded,” http://rtvote.com/I93k7I

    The Girls Season 3 Trailer Is Here: See the 10 Most Relatable & Incredible Quotes, http://rtvote.com/1iBu5zg

    Adele Steps Out with Son Angelo, 13 months, Goes Without Makeup, http://rtvote.com/1g2IYZ1

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: November 12, 2013

    Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

    Typhoon Haiyan wreaks total havoc on the Philippines; North Korea publicly executes 80 people; and a bionic suit gives the gift of walking back to a paralyzed veteran. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Olsen joins the cast of Avengers, and Kelly Clarkson may be pregnant!!

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL 

    Typhoon Haiyan: Ships head to Philippines amid devastation,http://rtvote.com/1eHTU0x
    It has been five days since Haiyan struck the Philippines, and the super typhoon’s victims need help now more than ever. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 1,774 people have been reported dead, 2,487 reported injured, and 82 are missing. More than 580,000 people have been displaced, and 41,000 houses have been damaged. However, there are still many areas that cannot be reached; people fear the death toll has reached at least 10,000 people, and that number is expected to increase within the next few days. Survivors have lost family, friends, and now struggle to find food and clean water. International aid and relief efforts are being organized.

    North Korea executes 80, some for minor offenses, newspaper says,http://rtvote.com/1hCVxi8
    The daily JoongAng Ilbo, one of South Korea’s largest newspapers, has reported on the gruesome public executions of 80 people in North Korea. Authorities in Wonsan, North Korea, gathered more than 10,000 residents in a stadium and forced them to watch officials brutally execute the “condemned” with sprays of machine-gun fire. The 80 people were hooded and tied to poles as they awaited their impending deaths on stage. The minor offenses that led to these fatal punishments included watching South Korean entertainment videos, possessing a Bible, or disseminating pornography.

    A wounded warrior, walking tallhttp://rtvote.com/1cRwCFu
    Former Army special ops officer Gary Linfoot has been paralyzed below the waist since 2008 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. On Veterans Day, Linfoot stood tall and took a walk around the Statue of Liberty, thanks to a bionic suit created by Ekso Bionics. Linfoot is the first vetertan to receive the suit, which acts like a wearable robot, for personal use.

    Toronto Mayor Says ‘I’m Not Going Anywhere’http://rtvote.com/1j20i02
    Despite mounting pressure from Toronto’s City Council, Mayor Rob Ford refuses to step down from office. A City Council member, Denzil Minnan-Wong, has filed a motion that asks the province of Ontario to pass legislation to remove the mayor if he doesn’t agree to take a leave of absence. If the motion fails, which seems likely, then Ford will continue to govern so long as he is not convicted of a crime.

    Details emerge in shooting death of woman seeking help,http://rtvote.com/1fz1nfX
    Renisha McBride, 19, was seen speeding down a street before she struck a parked vehicle, got out of her car, and fled the scene. More than two hours later, she was shot in the face by a man, 54, who told police he thought someone was breaking into his Dearborn Heights home. He claims his 12-gauge shotgun discharged accidentally. McBride’s family believes she was seeking help and was racially profiled. Dearborn Heights police said last week that there is no indication that race has anything to do with the shooting. The investigation is ongoing.

     

    CULTURAL 

    Justin Bieber walks off stage – again, http://rtvote.com/1bmIUz1

    Kate Upton Up for Entourage Movie Role: Report, http://rtvote.com/1ank7gn

    Elizabeth Olsen Joins Cast of Avengers Sequel, Age of Ultron,http://rtvote.com/1hDaf8A

    Kelly Clarkson Hints She May Be Pregnant on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,http://rtvote.com/1dm9c7d

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: October 8, 2013

    Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

    The government shutdown continues even with enough votes to end it; Higgs and Englert are awarded the Nobel Prize for the Higgs boson; a salmonella outbreak hits 18 states; and North Korea is rumored to have restarted their plutonium reactor. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead premiere approaches fast, and Prince Harry is ready to get hitched!

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Votes are there to break shutdown, but not the willhttp://rtvote.com/1ffKvgu

    According to an ongoing CNN survey, there are enough votes in the House to pass a clean continuing resolution (CR); the minimum number of votes needed is 217. However, the 18 Republicans who would vote to pass the clean CR are not pressuring Speaker John Boehner to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. They are still hoping to use the government shutdown as a way to defund or delay Obamacare.

    Peter Higgs, Francois Englert win Nobel Prize in Physicshttp://rtvote.com/1e69LCX

    The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in physics to Peter Higgs, 84, and Francois Englert, 80, for the discovery of the Higgs boson. Also known as the “God particle”, the Higgs boson is associated with an invisible field that is part of the basic infrastructure of the cosmos.

    Salmonella outbreak in 18 states linked to raw chickenhttp://rtvote.com/18MEfry

    Raw chicken contaminated with a strain of bacteria, called salmonella Heidelberg, has affected about 278 people 18 states. The USDA has released a public health alert, indicating three facilities operated by Foster Farms as the likely sources. An outbreak of the same strain of salmonella was also linked to Foster Farms chicken in 2012. The USDA and Foster Farms assure consumers that cooking chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees will kill any harmful bacteria.

    S. Korea spy agency says N. Korea restarts reactorhttp://rtvote.com/1e6dgcA

    North Korea is being accused of restarting a plutonium reactor at its main nuclear facility. The reactor can be weaponized to produce one or two atomic bombs a year; it already has enough plutonium to produce 4-8 crude weapons. South Korea, the U.S., and Japan are performing routine maritime drills this week; in response, North Korea’s military gave its troops an emergency order to re-examine operational plans and be ready to launch them if anything comes of these drills.

    5 Things to Know about Government Shutdown on Tuesdayhttp://rtvote.com/1fXd6Za

    As an update on the government shutdown, some Republicans are still skeptical on the dangers of not raising the debt ceiling as the October 17th deadline approaches; Pentagon employees returned to work this week, but many other federal workers remain at home; stocks are falling; and although almost everyone is mad at the White House and/or Congress, the Republicans seem to be receiving most of the blame.

     

    PUNDITS

    Richard Haass asserts that the U.S. must begin to govern properly and end the shutdown for the sake of its reputation and security in “The Real Threat to U.S. National Security”, http://rtvote.com/18MKz2i

    Mark A. Patterson explains why there is only one (difficult) solution out of the debt limit in “One way out on the debt ceiling”, http://rtvote.com/1fXeYBm

     

    CULTURAL 

    The Walking Dead Countdown: Why Norman Reedus Likes It Dirty – and Why Season Four is the “Best So Far”,http://rtvote.com/1fg1Cia 

    Miley Cyrus Is “Happiest She’s Ever Been” Without Liam Hemsworth, Says Dad Billy Ray Cyrus,http://rtvote.com/1e6gXPt

    Drew Barrymore Wants to Have Another Baby “Right Away”, http://rtvote.com/1fXfXBn

    Prince Harry Ready to Marry Cressida Bonas, http://rtvote.com/18MMlk2

    sandywu
    Bio:

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