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    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Thursday, April 24th, 2014

    Almost 1,600 veterans are forced to wait for care from a doctor; a new Georgia law allows guns in school districts, bars; and lawmakers threaten to pull funding from public universities. Meanwhile, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome their new son; a teen with terminal cancer raises over $1,000,000 for charity; and a runway model criticizes thin-shaming.

    -Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list: http://rtvote.com/ROzEle
    Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix, Arizona created a scheme to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans had no choice but to wait for months for doctoral care. At least 40 of those veterans suffered and died because they could not get care. What’s worse? The management at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix knew about and defended the waiting list. A former doctor at the hospital said there were two lists the hospital used: one that was shown to Washington that proves that people were getting care (the “sham” list) and the other that showed how veterans had to wait for up to a year: the “real” list. The hospital also did not preserve records and could make it seem as though a person never came in for an appointment. After the allegations came to a head, Congress has ordered all records to be preserved.

    Georgia law allows guns in some schools, bars, churches: http://rtvote.com/1k9l9lb
    Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill Wednesday that would allow guns to be carried into previously gun-free zones: like bars, churches, school zones, airports, and government buildings. The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 (or the “guns everywhere bill” as dubbed by opponents) was lobbied for by GeorgiaCarry, a pro-gun rights organization and will go into effect on July 1st of this year. 5% of Georgia’s population has passed background checks necessary to own a gun, and Deal says that this legislation “gives added protection to those who have played by the rules.” Some people, like members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, refuse to allow guns in their sanctuary. Others regard the law as ridiculous because the state has refused to expand healthcare and accept Obamacare but allows its citizens to own guns. However, the Safe Carry Protection Act has garnered wide support from members of the NRA and other supporters of the right to carry.

    Lawmakers pressure universities with threat to pull funds: http://rtvote.com/1f7AGTC
    States are threatening to pull funding from universities based on the information they teach, the things professors say, and the organizations partnered with the schools. For example, in South Carolina, funding is threatened at two different universities because students were asked to read a book discussing homosexuality. In Kansas, lawmakers threatened to “withhold appropriations” after a professor tweeted anti-NRA rhetoric. Some states have also banned universities from sending money to organizations that support things like unionization and boycotts that the state did not support. Colleges and lawmakers are trying to work together to find common ground.

    Ukraine tense as Russia launches military drills, activists die in clashes: http://rtvote.com/ROW3yJ
    After Russian forces practiced military drills near the Russian-Ukraine border, Ukrainian officials claim that they killed five pro-Russian militant activists. The deaths occurred as the Ukrainian military attempted to remove barricades from around Slavyansk, a Ukrainian city occupied by pro-Russian activists. Russian Vladimir Putin was quick to respond, saying: “If the Kiev regime has started to use the army against the population inside the country, it, beyond any doubt, is a very serious crime.” He also threatened “consequences” to the Ukrainians. Foreign nations, like the United States and countries represented in NATO, have expressed worry at the 40,000 Russian troops that have gathered at the border and have asked Russian forces to back down.

    CULTURAL

    Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome baby Otis! http://rtvote.com/1k9D1MJ

    The Bachelorette contestant Eric Hill tragically dies in freak accident: http://rtvote.com/1gUsLnK

    Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, loses her brother in accident: http://rtvote.com/1hq099r

    Jodie Foster is married! Congrats! http://rtvote.com/1nscIF1

    Terminally ill teen raises over $1,000,000 for charity: http://rtvote.com/1ptSRXQ

    Runway model: “If you can feel beautiful for being big, I can feel beautiful about being small”: http://rtvote.com/1lJpkbh

    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, April 3, 2013

    Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
    Rutgers fires basketball coach Mike Rice; an unexploded WWII bomb is found in Berlin; North Korea shuts down a major border crossing with South Korea; former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford wins his bid for a House seat; documents show Evan Ebel’s parole violation went unnoticed for five days; and Senate’s straw purchase provision faces fierce opposition from the NRA. Meanwhile, Roger Ebert’s cancer has returned, and Kendra Wilkinson quits “Splash.”
    Caitlin
    CRUCIAL:
    WWII bomb disrupts commute at main Berlin station, http://rtvote.com/14Exzvm
    An unexploded bomb from World War II was found near Berlin’s main train station, causing thousands of commuters to be delayed as experts decide whether to detonate or remove it. The bomb — at 220 pounds — is not the biggest the Allies had; however, it has the potential to cause serious damage. Experts believe there may be thousands of unexploded bombs in Germany. In 2010, three people died when one suddenly detonated.(via The New York Times) Rutgers Fires Basketball Coach After Video Goes Public, http://rtvote.com/10xiKFk
    Rutgers fired Mike Rice, the coach of its men’s basketball team, on Wednesday, a day after a video surfaced showing him berating his players during practices, throwing balls at them, kicking them and taunting them with slurs. Rice’s termination comes nearly four months after the university’s athletic director, Tim Pernetti, suspended him for three games and fined him $50,000, with little elaboration. On Wednesday, Pernetti called that decision a mistake and said that he would “work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

    North Korea blocks South workers from Kaesong zone, http://rtvote.com/14ECooy
    On Wednesday, North Korea shut down Kaesong, a border crossing and shared industrial zone with South Korea, for the first time since 2009. Kaesong is the last, in use border crossing between North and South Korea. It holds 120 factories that employ more than 50,000 North Koreans. Also on Wednesday, South Korean Foreign Ministory Yun Byung-se appeared alongside Secretary of State John Kerry promising to defend the U.S. from North Korea’s threats.

    SC’S EX-GOV. SANFORD CLEARS HURDLE IN COMEBACK BID, http://rtvote.com/14EGLzP
    Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford won the GOP nomination for the state’s House seat on Tuesday. Sanford held the seat in the nineties before becoming governor, a post from which he resigned after confessing to an extramarital affair. He will now run against Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert, who is comedian Stephen Colbert’s sister. In regards to the scandal from his affair, Sanford said, “I think tonight’s verdict will say a lot as to where people are or are not on that. I suppose at some level, I will never completely move beyond that.” Tuesday night, Sanford made his first public appearance with his former mistress turned fiancee, Maria Belen Chapur.

    Evan Ebel violated parole rule days before murderous crime spree, http://rtvote.com/10vL6Ak
    According to documents released Tuesday, Evan Ebel, the man suspected of killing Colorado prison chief Tom Clements, Clements’ wife, and pizza delivery man Nathan Leon, had violated his parole and removed his ankle monitor days before the murders. The Department of Corrections did not notice the removal for five days. Ebel was eventually killed in Texas in a shoot out with police. On Monday, a district court apologized for the clerical error that allowed Ebel to be released from prison four years too early.

    Key provision of gun bill could be stripped after NRA opposition, http://rtvote.com/17d8es2
    A key provision that mandates increased penalties for straw purchase of guns may be removed from the Senate’s gun control bill. A straw purchase of a gun involves someone purchasing a gun for a person who is unwilling or unable to purchase it themselves. The provision passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee, but is now facing fierce opposition from the National Rifle Assocation. The NRA is arguing that the penalties should only apply if investigators can prove that the straw purchaser carried out the transaction with criminal intent. Meanwhile, former Republican congressman Asa Hutchinson unveiled the NRA’s school safety plan on Wednesday. The plan calls for armed educators, administrators, and security officials in every school.
    CULTURAL:
    Rangers’ Yu Darvish gracious after losing perfect game with two outs in 9th: ‘I’m really satisfied,’ http://rtvote.com/10vP2AUJane Henson, Muppets collaborator, dies at 78, http://rtvote.com/10vP9fT

    Roger Ebert to temporarily slow output as he fights cancer, http://rtvote.com/10xjvhI

    Kendra Wilkinson quits ‘Splash’ after attempting her dive, http://rtvote.com/10vS9ZD

    Clark Gable’s son arrested, http://rtvote.com/10vSjjK

    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: Thursday, March 28th, 2013

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013

    Search warrants reveal more about Newtown shooter Adam Lanza; the U.S. begins stealth bombing runs over South Korea; Cyrpus’ banks reopen; Nelson Mandela is readmitted to the hospital; scientists find new signposts for pre-determining cancer risks in patients; a judge returns Oscar Pistorius’ passport; and shifting bacteria in the gut may help with weight loss. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat’s winning streak comes to an end; Sean Penn’s son yells racial slurs at a paparazzo; Lindsay Lohan and Kristen Stewart become new BFFs; Malala Yousafzai signs a $3 million book deal; and “Friday Night Lights” author Buzz Bissinger enters shopping rehab.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Newtown gunman Adam Lanza fired 155 bullets in less than five minutes, prosecutor says, http://rtvote.com/170lGzx
    Publicized search warrants reveal that Adam Lanza killed 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in five minutes. The warrants also show Lanza as having huge amounts of ammunition in a gun safe allegedly in his bedroom, as well as samurai swords and a bulletproof vest. There was also a loaded shotgun in the passenger compartment of the car Lanza drove to Sandy Hook. According to the reports, books about asbergers were found in Lanza’s home as well as an NRA certification and a check Lanza’s mother wrote him for the purchase of a gun.

    U.S. Begins Stealth Bombing Runs Over South Korea, http://rtvote.com/10kLIrU
    In its first admission of a B-2 mission over the Korean peninsula, the U.S has announced that it has run two B-2 steal bombers with nuclear capability over South Korea as a “practice bombing sortie.” The mission is meant to prove to North Korea, who has issued nuclear threats towards the U.S. and South Korea, that the U.S. can protect the Asia-Pacific region and “conduct long range precision strikes quickly and at will.”

    Patient Cypriots line up as banks reopen, http://rtvote.com/14ym8pe
    Banks in Cyprus re-opened Thursday after they were shutdown for two weeks while the Cypriot government negotiated a bailout deal with the EU. Bank customers will still face restrictions including withdrawal limits.

    Mandela Back in Hospital With Lung Infection, http://rtvote.com/102QsUg
    Former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, 94, was re-admitted to the hospital Wednesday night with a lung infection. A statement from South African President Jacob Zuma tells the country to pray for Mandela and notes that “Doctors are attending to him, ensuring that he has the best possible expert medical treatment and comfort.” Mandela has been in the hospital two other times in the past fourth months.

    South Africa judge lifts travel ban on Oscar Pistorius, http://rtvote.com/102TU15
    A judge has ordered that Oscar Pistorius have his passport returned so that he can travel abroad. The double amputee Olympic runner has been accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, and has since been prohibited from leaving the country, going near an airport, or imbibing alcohol. Pistorius’ lawyers argued that he is not a flight risk and that the judge’s previous restrictions had basically put him under “house arrest.”

    Scientists Find New Gene Markers for Cancer Risk, http://rtvote.com/102OH9L
    Scientists have finished a long process of working to pre-determine if patients are at high risk for breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer. The international effort was funded by the non-profit Cancer Research, U.K. Officials from the groups have said that the alert methods scientists have discovered are important for finding out exactly how genetics plays into cancer. Scientists have previously discovered signs that alert patients to being at risk for the disease, but this new effort doubles the amount of signposts.

    Bacteria in the Intestines May Help Tip the Bathroom Scale, Studies Show, http://rtvote.com/10kOeyB
    Two new studies released Thursday show that the bacteria in an individual’s intestines can determine how the individual loses or gains weight. The research points to gastric bypass surgery as a successful method of weight loss because the rearranging of intestines “shifts the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract.” The studies also show that in the future, treatments that adjust “microbe levels” in the gut will be able to help people lose weight without surgery.

    CULTURAL:

    Heat’s 27-game winning streak comes to an end in Chicago, http://rtvote.com/170oKLW

    LiLo and KStew’s issues in common, http://rtvote.com/170plNP

    Malala Yousafzai sells life story for a reported $3 million, http://rtvote.com/10kOMV5

    Buzz Bissinger in shopping rehab, http://rtvote.com/10kOSfk

    Sean Penn’s son cusses out paparazzo, hurls ugly slurs, http://rtvote.com/1030lRZ

    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: Friday, January 11th, 2013

    Friday, January 11th, 2013

    The U.S. orders a review of Boeing 787s;  the student that opened fire at CA’s Taft Union High Schol had intended targets; President Obama and President Hamid Karzai will meet to discuss troop levels in Afghanistan; campaign staffers report that Michele Bachmann still has not paid them; and the NYPD will review 800 rape cases due to mishandling of DNA evidence. Meanwhile, Iran will respond to ‘Argo’ with its own film; Justin Bieber’s former bodyguard sues him; and Justin Timberlake is ready to make new music.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Dreamliner investigation: U.S. orders review of Boeing 787s, http://trib.in/VrJlV3
    The FAA will conduct an investigation of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner after two separate incidents on aircrafts in Japan. The Dreamliner gained a great deal of attention when it was first introduced for its sophistication and technology; however, it has been plagued with mishaps and production delays.

    Taft Union school shooting: Boy had ‘intended targets,’ police say, http://lat.ms/XSPDQ3
    Kern County, CA police say the 16-year-old student who fired a shotgun in a Taft Union High School classroom Thursday had “intended targets.” The suspect burst into the class he was supposed to be attending and shot one student two to four times before trying to shoot another. A teacher and school supervisor talked the student into putting the gun down and evacuated the rest of the classroom safely. “They did a great job of protecting the kids,” said Ed Whiting, the chief of the Taft Police Department. “We can’t thank them enough for what they did today.” One victim is in critical condition while the teacher suffered a minor pellet wound to his head.

    Plea decision looms in James Holmes’ Aurora theater shooting case, http://bit.ly/VSApVM
    Colorado Judge William B. Sylvester ruled Thursday that there is enough evidence to try James Holmes for the shooting that killed 12 people and wounded 70 in an Aurora, CO movie theater.  The ruling ties Homes to 166 counts of murder, attempted murder, and other weapons charges. As a result, Holmes will be held without bail and arraigned Friday. Defense lawyers have said that they are not ready to plea and will most likely ask for a delay. Holmes’ lawyers have said that he is mentally ill, causing some to believe that he will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

    Afghan troop levels top agenda for Obama-Karzai talks, http://reut.rs/VqqsBH
    President Obama will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai Friday to discuss withdrawing U.S. troops from the country by 2014. The White House has been considering removing all troops with some suggesting that this “zero option” will be an important bargaining chip in Obama’s discussion with Karzai. White House aides say that it’s not likely any decisions will be made during Friday’s talk, and that it could be months before Obama decides how many troops to remove from Afghanistan. Chuck Hagel, Obama’s nomination for Defense Secretary, will most likely support removing as many troops as possible.

    Bachmann still hasn’t paid presidential campaign staffers, http://bit.ly/WxBn8N
    Peter Waldon, the former national field coordinator for Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign, has said that Bachmann has refused to pay five staffers. Waldon claims that the staffers are owed $5,000 and that Bachmann has $2,000,000 towards her campaign. Bachmann allegedly will not pay the owed funds until the staffers sign a nondisclosure agreement saying they will not tell members of the media about any “unethical, immoral, or criminal activity” witnessed on the campaign trail.

    New York Examines Over 800 Rape Cases for Possible Mishandling of Evidence, http://nyti.ms/USKQgr
    The NYPD said Friday that it will review 843 cases of rape where a lab technician overlooked or mishandled DNA evidence. According to the medical examiner’s office, supervisors have found 26 cases where the technician did not find biological evidence when it did actually exist. The director of forensic biology at the examiner’s office said that these errors are false negatives instead of false positives and that “nobody was wrongfully convicted” due to the mistakes. The cases in review span from 2001 to 2011, when the technician worked in the examiner’s office.

    BIDEN SEEKS VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY INPUT ON GUNS, http://bit.ly/WHJgYS
    Vice President Biden will meet with representatives from the videogame industry Friday to gauge videogames’ influence on violent behavior. On Thursday, Biden and his gun control task force met with heads of the NRA for more than 90 minutes. The meeting has been described as an open and frank discussion, but neither side came out of it showing signs of negotiating. Biden is set to present his ideas regarding gun laws to President Obama early next week.

    CULTURAL:

    Film to Present Iran’s View of ‘Argo’ Events, http://nyti.ms/VMPqbY

    JUSTIN BIEBER Sued By Ex-Bodyguard: He Punched & Berated Me!, http://tmz.me/10iQhrE

    Inside the Critics Choice Movie Awards: What You Didn’t See on TV, http://bit.ly/WJ8kPi

    Sharon Osbourne Slams Lady Gaga After Kelly Critique, Calls Her “Hypocrite” and “Bully”, http://eonli.ne/ZQ6qn0

    Justin Timberlake is “ready” for new project, http://bit.ly/ZCfN55

    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: Thursday, January 10th, 2013

    Thursday, January 10th, 2013

    The NIH reveals Junior Seau suffered a brain disease; Jerry Sandusky appeals his sentence in court; 5 Kurdish activists are murdered in Paris; VA Gov. Bob McDonnell calls for the restoration of felons’ voting rights; 44 states report widespread flu outbreaks; and a new study shows that half of the world’s flue is ‘just thrown away.’ Meanwhile, this year’s Oscar nominations are announced; ‘The Hunger Games’ wins big at the People Choice Awards; and Britney Spears is leaving ‘The X-Factor.’

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    NFL PLAYER JUNIOR SEAU HAD BRAIN DISEASE CTE, http://bit.ly/ZvZTJvAccording to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, former NFL player Junior Seau had been suffering from the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he committed suicide last May. NIH has found that Seau’s brain had damages similar to those found in autopsies of people “with repetitive head injuries.” Seau’s family had requested his brain be analyzed after his suicide, noting that he was exhibiting strange behavior before his death. “I don’t think any of us were aware of the side effects that could be going on with head trauma when he passed away,” said Seau’s son.

    Delhi gang rape suspects ‘tortured to force confession’, http://bbc.in/UXN5we
    Manohar Lal Sharma, a lawyer expected to represent three of the New Dehli gang-rape suspects, says the men confessed to the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman because they were “tortured.” The court ruled Thursday that the charges against the five suspects needed further investigation and that the case will not be fast-tracked to a trial. A sixth suspect in the case is a minor and will be tried separately.

    SANDUSKY ARRIVES FOR HEARING ON FAIRNESS OF TRIAL, http://bit.ly/13iO0v3
    Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will appear in court Thursday in order to appeal his conviction for 45 charges of sexual abuse of young boys. He has been sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for abusing 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky will allege that his lawyers were not given sufficient time to prepare for the trial. The prosecution has responded that Sandusky and his lawyers knew as early as 2008 that he had been accused of sexual abuse.

    5-Female Kurdish activists including former guerrilla shot in Paris, http://reut.rs/VjWaAy
    Five Kurdish women were found shot to death in Paris Thursday morning. The bodies were discovered at the Information Center of Kurdistan. Police are launching a murder investigation and say the crime were politically motivated. One of the victims was a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) while another was the Paris representative of the Kurdistan National Congress. The PKK has been recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S., Turkey, and the European Union, and has been involved in a 28-year war for independence from Turkey.

    (via Daily Press) McDonnell calls for automatic restoration of voting rights for felons, http://bit.ly/10gIdHF
    Gov. Bob McDonnell used his annual State of the Commonwealth Wednesday to tout his transportation funding package, unveil additional education reform proposals, and call for the automatic restoration of voting rights for nonviolent felons. McDonnell said he supports proposed legislation for a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore civil rights, such as voting rights, to felons convicted of nonviolent offenses who have served their time. Currently applications for rights restoration must be made directly to the governor who then decides whether to restore rights on an individual basis.

    Biden, NRA set to meet, http://cbsn.ws/WuUBf9
    Vice President Biden, as leader of the president’s gun task force, will meet with the NRA, Comcast, other broadcasters, and movie-theater owners Thursday. The meeting is meant to discuss the enforcement of stricter gun laws and the use of gun violence for entertainment value. On Wednesday, Biden said that “executive action” will most likely circumvent Congress in order to take action on guns. NRA president David Keene has called the White House’s task force “disingenuous,” adding that it’s “going after the Second Amendment.”

    National flu outbreak widens, http://cbsn.ws/WB7zI6
    A total of 44 states are reporting widespread flu outbreaks. On Wednesday, Boston issued a public health emergency after 18 people were killed and 700 more were affected by the virus. At this time last year, only 70 cases of the flu had been reported. According to the Center for Diseases Control, the number of people admitted to the hospital with the virus has doubled in the past month. Officials strongly recommend flu vaccinations for everyone 6-months or older.

    Half of the world’s food ‘is just thrown away’, http://ind.pn/VR015h
    According to a new study, half of the world’s food, up to 2 billion tons, is “just thrown away.” Between 30 and 50 percent of food is not eaten due to poor infrastructure and storage facilities, expiration dates, “buy one get one free” offers, and pickiness from consumers. The study also states that the demand for water for food production could reach 10 to 13 million cubic meters a year by 2050 – more than triple the amount of fresh water humans use today.

    CULTURAL:

    OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2013: ‘ARGO,’ ‘LINCOLN’ & MORE (PHOTOS), http://thebea.st/RI1T2k

    Rapper Freddy E tweets final moments before shooting himself, http://on.today.com/10g3u4j

    People’s Choice Awards 2013: ‘The Hunger Games’ Takes Home 5 Awards, http://abcn.ws/VMaNwf

    Queen Elizabeth: William & Kate’s Daughter Will Be Called ‘Princess’, http://bit.ly/13kUJnl

    Britney Spears Leaving Simon Cowell’s The X Factor, http://eonli.ne/UNzs1y

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