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    News Round-Up: October 18, 2013

    Friday, October 18th, 2013

    House Republicans criticize healthcare.gov and push for HSS Secretary’s resignation; Snowden says Russian and Chinese intelligence are not in possession of NSA docs; and two teenage girls carry human fetus remains in Victoria’s Secret bag. Meanwhile, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard (quietly) tie the knot, and Gordon Ramsay confesses to spying on his daughter with a hidden camera.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Congressional fight over Obamacare turns to website woeshttp://rtvote.com/1ewvMLb
    Although the government shutdown ended with a deal that left Obamacare untouched, the bickering over the healthcare law is far from over. Republicans are pointing out all of the problems with healthcare.gov and are holding oversight hearings next week. Some are also pushing Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to resign after the rollout. The White House, on the other hand, fully supports her and claims that technical errors are being fixed. They are reminding people that the most important thing is not the website, but that all Americans can be insured.

    Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files to Russiahttp://rtvote.com/19ehRaS
    Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed in an interview this month that he did not take any secret NSA documents to Russia when he fled there for asylum in June. He said he gave all classified documents to journalists in Hong Kong and that he made sure Chinese and Russian intelligence did not get hold of them. Snowden faces charges under the Espionage Act for leaking NSA documents to the media, but he stands by his conviction that the American people deserved to know how closely they were being watched.

    NY police: Shoppers held after possible human remains found in baghttp://rtvote.com/1fIrinU
    Two teenage girls were detained in a Manhattan Victoria’s Secret store after one of the store employees stopped them and found possible human remains in one of their bags. Initial reports indicate the remains are a fetus, but the medical examiner’s office is still investigating. Both teens are being charged as adults and face charges of petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

    Air marshal accused of taking upskirt pictures of passengershttp://rtvote.com/1ewFZY7
    A federal air marshal, Adam Bartsch, was on duty, aboard a Southwest Airlines flight when he was caught taking inappropriate pictures underneath women’s dresses. Bartsch, 28, was removed from the flight before take-off, charged with disorderly conduct, and held on $10,000 bail. He has confessed that this was not the first time he had done this. The TSA is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment.

    Recording of mother’s voice used in search for missing autistic New York teen,http://rtvote.com/1ewHDsO
    Divers, police, and rescue officers from several states have joined efforts to look for an autistic 14-year-old, Avonte Oquendo. The search has been going on for more than a week, and the NYPD has begun to play a recording of Avonte’s mother’s voice over loudspeakers. Avonte is unable to communicate verbally, and Avonte’s mother hopes he will hear her message, urging him to “walk toward the [emergency vehicles’] lights.” Avonte left his school on October 4, and the Oquendo family is in the process of filing a lawsuit against the city of New York due to the school’s failure to supervise the child.
     

    PUNDITS

    Hank Plante explains why members of Congress should not have to share the blame equally in “Tea Party holds most blame for shutdown,” http://rtvote.com/1fIwNTy

    The USA Today Editorial Board discusses the importance of affirmative action and racial diversity in colleges in “College diversity still necessary,” http://rtvote.com/1gqd2By

     

    CULTURAL

    Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Married? Couple Reportedly Tie the Knot in Spontaneous, Low-Key Ceremony,http://rtvote.com/1gqfk3F

    Alessandra Ambrosio Denies Split Rumors, http://rtvote.com/19ewpHl

    Find Out Why Seth Meyers’ Wife Was Advised (by Doctors!) Not to Marry the SNL Star,http://rtvote.com/1gqgzzN

    Gordon Ramsay Uses a Hidden Camera to Spy on Teenage Daughter Megan, http://rtvote.com/1fIBHQB

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: October 14, 2013

    Monday, October 14th, 2013

    Protestors rallied against the shutdown and Obama yesterday; two popular sports supplements are strung with meth-like chemicals; and a U.S. citizen is found dead in an Egyptian prison. Meanwhile, Lauren Conrad is engaged, and Macaulay Culkin makes a rare public appearance, looking like a new man.

    -Sandy + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Spending Dispute Leaves a Senate Deal Elusivehttp://rtvote.com/192gSdv
    With just three days to go until we hit the debt deadline, there is still no deal to end the shutdown. Senate went into talks yesterday, and although Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell described the meeting as “cordial”, there was still no agreement between the two parties. The main issues center on spending and how long a stopgap measure that would reopen the government should last. Democrats want sequestration to last only through mid-November, while Republicans want them for as long as possible. Negotiations continue, as the rest of the world cringes in fear at the possibility of a disastrous debt default.

    D.C. protestors wave Confederate flag, tell Obama to “put the Quran down”http://rtvote.com/1gePVd2
    Approximately 200 people gathered Sunday morning at D.C.’s World War II memorial to protest a number of grievances, ranging from the closing of the memorial to veterans, an extreme impeachment of President Obama, and the plight of the truckers. The protestors, amongst them Senator Ted Cruz, former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, and Republican Senator Mike Lee, participated in rally speeches, the waving of a Confederate flag, calling Obama a Muslim, and encouraging a peaceful uprising against the administration.

    Popular sports supplements contain meth-like compoundhttp://rtvote.com/1geRU1b
    Scientific tests in the U.S. and South Korea reveal that two popular sports supplements, Craze and Detonate, contain a methamphetamine-like compound that could cause health risks. Craze is a pre-workout powder made by Driven Sports. The company has issued repeated statements, protesting this accusation, but a top Driven Sports official, Matt Cahill, is a convicted felon with a long history of selling risky dietary supplements. Detonate, an “all-natural” weight loss supplement, is sold by Gaspari Nutrition.

    As Police Chased Leads About ‘Baby Hope,’ Those Who Knew Her Kept Quiethttp://rtvote.com/1elJpgg
    After 22 years, Baby Hope’s cold case seems to be coming to a close. The young girl’s real name is Anjelica Castillo, and the NYPD have arrested her cousin, Conrado Juarez, for sexually abusing and murdering Anjelica. At the time of the incident, she was living in a Queens apartment with seven other family members – none of whom ever spoke up about what had happened. Mr. Juarez’s lawyer, Michael J. Croce, said his client denied the charges and disputed his previous confession. Police are looking further into other sexual abuse allegations made against Juarez.

    Egypt: U.S. citizen found dead in prisonhttp://rtvote.com/1geXEb9
    American citizen James Lunn was arrested in August by Egyptian authorities for violating curfew. Lunn was in northern Sinai at the time, which has become a dangerous area since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a July 3rd military coup. Military and security forces have been fighting Islamist militants in this area on a daily basis, and Lunn was arrested on August 27th after a car bomb had gone off near a police station. Authorities suspected him because he had a “computer and maps of vital installations” with him. Lunn was found hanging from a prison door yesterday. There have been allegations from other foreigners of inhuman conditions in Egyptian jails, but the U.S. Embassy in Cairo stated Lunn seemed in good condition when they visited him. The Embassy has ruled it an apparent suicide.

    PUNDITS

    Andrew Hammond discusses the catastrophic consequences that could result if the U.S. defaults on its debt in three days in “U.S. be warned: Default would cause global crisis,” http://rtvote.com/192uS74

    USA Today readers weigh in on the Army’s development of a program that aims to identify soldiers who are at risk of suicide in “New tactic to stop Army suicides: Your Say,” http://rtvote.com/192wKgj

    CULTURAL

    Lauren Conrad Is Engaged to William Tell, http://rtvote.com/1fxsrhX

    Macaulay Culkin Looks Happy and Healthy During Rare Public Appearance at New York Comic Con,http://rtvote.com/1fxsCdm

    Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh Are Married, http://rtvote.com/1gf3SaT

    Buckingham Palace Arrest: Man Carrying Knife Nabbed Outside Gates, http://rtvote.com/1gf4n50

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: October 11, 2013

    Friday, October 11th, 2013

    The beginnings of a deal to end the shutdown may be coming together (finally…); the former corrupt mayor of Detroit is sentenced to 28 years in jail; and a cold case is brought back to life as the father of deceased ‘Baby Hope’ is identified. Meanwhile, Glee bids farewell to the late and beloved Cory Monteith and Miley Cyrus dishes on her breakup with former fiancé Liam Hemsworth. 

    -Sandy + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Sergeant: Officers involved in bike/SUV incident a ‘blemish’http://rtvote.com/1edyJ3l
    Seven arrests have now been made in the bike/SUV melee from September 29. One of them includes an undercover NYPD police officer, Wojciech Braszczok; he was one of at least three officers who participated in the altercation. Prosecutors claim Braszczok took an active role in the brawl that left SUV driver Alexian Lien with lacerations on his face and a motorcyclist paralyzed. Police Sergeant Ed Mullins expressed severe disapproval over these undercover officer’s actions.

    Progress, but still no deal, as shutdown enters Day 11http://rtvote.com/1edEn5q
    The shutdown continues! The White House met with House Republicans, but there is still no deal. However, a spark of hope did come through during a brief moment between Rep. Paul Ryan and Obama. Republicans said they are willing to extend the debt ceiling for up to six weeks while negotiating other issues under a continued government shutdown. The president said he would negotiate with the Republicans only after they reopened the government and raised the debt ceiling. He is willing to accept a short-term debt deal, but he refuses to give concessions to reopen the government.

    ‘Corruption no more’: Judge sends a message with 28-year sentence for Kilpatrickhttp://rtvote.com/18UZCqG
    The former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, 43, has been sentenced to 28 years in jail, but can be out in 23 years with good behavior. Among the slew of scandals behind Kilpatrick, a few include his affair with his top aide, running a secret “money-making racket” in city hall, and using funds that were intended for needy citizens to pay for his yoga classes. Judge Nancy Edmunds chastised him for his actions; Kilpatrick apologized to the people of Detroit but denied stealing from them.

    Father of deceased ‘Baby Hope’ identifiedhttp://rtvote.com/18V5JuZ
    On July 23, 1991, police found the body of a young girl in a picnic cooler, hidden in the woods. The unidentified girl was named ‘Baby Hope’ by the police. After a 22-year investigation, the NYPD Cold Case Apprehension Squad is now closer to finding the person responsible than ever before. Thanks to a tip and DNA testing, the mother has been found; she is cooperating with police. The identity and location of the father has also been revealed, and authorities intend to speak with him very soon as a person of interest.

    The United States is still getting rid of its chemical weaponshttp://rtvote.com/18V7FUp
    The global taboo on chemical weapons is growing stronger, especially after today’s ceremony awarding the 2013 Noble Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Nobel committee thanked the OPCW for risking their lives to eliminate the stockpiles of poison gas in Syria. The committee also made mention of the U.S. and Russia as two countries that have yet to honor their commitments. Washington and Moscow signed the Chemical Weapons Convention in the 1990s, which prohibitied the use, production, and stockpiling of chemical weapons. Both countries are still in the process of ridding their stockpiles; Syria has until mid-2014 to get rid of theirs.

    PUNDITS

    Julia Fine talks about the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai and her beliefs in “Why Malala’s bravery inspires us”,http://rtvote.com/1fpnrMk

    Robert Mnookin discusses how Boehner and Obama can end the shutdown in “How Boehner and Obama can get to ‘yes’,”http://rtvote.com/18Vbl8A

    CULTURAL

    ‘Glee’s’ awkward but moving farewell to Cory Monteith, the sensitive, singing quarterback, http://rtvote.com/1fpq2WI

    Bruce and Kris Jenner Divorcing? Kendall and Kylie Taking Sides? Here’s the Real Story on Their Separation,http://rtvote.com/1fpqGna

    JWoww Takes on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: It’s Time to Support Gay Marriage!, http://rtvote.com/18VcJbx

    Miley Cyrus Breaks Her Silence on Liam Hemsworth Split: “I’m Obsessed With Being Alone,” http://rtvote.com/1g6gyRt

    sandywu
    Bio:

    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: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

    President Obama is expected to nominate Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary; Syrian rebels release Iranian hostages in exchange for prisoners; 57 are injured in an NYC ferry crash; the U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan come 2014; the National Cathedral will host same-sex weddings; and Joe Biden will meet with the NRA today. Meanwhile, “Lincoln” leads the BAFTA nominations; Kate Middleton turns 31; and Glenn Beck will relaunch his media company.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Iranians held by Syria rebels released, http://bbc.in/UAbHbH
    The Free Syrian Army will release 48 Iranian hostages in exchange for 2,130 rebel prisoners being held by the Syrian government. Syrian rebels say the hostages were carrying out a mission for the Syrian government, which is closely allied with Iran. Iranian authorities admit that some of the hostages were former members of the armed forces, but claim that they were only in Syria to visit a shrine. The deal was brokered by Turkey and Qatar, which have both supported the Free Syrian Army.

    Obama Said to Name Jack Lew to Replace Geithner at Treasury, http://bloom.bg/13iqM7s
    President Obama is expected to nominate his chief of staff, Jack Lew, to replace Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Geithner recently announced that he plans to leave the position at the end of the month. Lew will have to hit the ground running as his next task is working with congress on the debt ceiling.

    More than 50 injured after Seastreak ferry crashes into Pier 11, http://bit.ly/WteCTq
    At least 57 people are reportedly injured after a ferry crashed into a pier near Wall Street early Wednesday morning. The Coast Guard, NYPD, and FDNY rushed to the scene. The extent of the injuries is not yet known.

    U.S. does not rule out removing all troops from Afghanistan, http://reut.rs/XKyV5f
    The White House announced Tuesday that it would consider removing all troops from Afghanistan instead of keeping the recommended 15,000 in the country. The “zero-option” is one “we would consider,” said Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. There are currently 66,000 troops in Afghanistan with this number being gradually reduced through 2014 when the NATO combat mission ends. The amount of troops removed from the country will depend on whether or not Afghanistan becomes a place to house al Qaeda and if Afghan troops can be successfully trained for defense measures.

    Amid protests, China’s communist censors say their control over media is ‘unshakable’, http://wapo.st/13e1Ajp
    Anti-censorship protests in China’s region of Guangzhou have caused the government to issue an “urgent memo” stating that the Communist Party’s control over the media is “unshakable.” “The party has absolute control over the media,” the Propaganda Department insisted in the memo. The protests in Guangzhou resulted in clashes between “new leftists,” or government supporters who carried photos of Mao Zedong, and anti-censorship demonstrators. The memo also ordered that all media publications and websites “prominently republish” an editorial that reinforces the government’s censorship policies.

    NATIONAL CATHEDRAL TO HOST 1ST SAME-SEX WEDDINGS, http://bit.ly/11eBPzU
    The National Cathedral will become one of the first Episcopal congregations to host same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage is legal in both Washington, DC and Maryland. “I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,” the cathedral’s dean Rev. Gary Hall said. “And my reading of the Bible leads me to want me to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community Jesus would have us be.”

    Biden, NRA to meet on guns, http://bit.ly/11chICE
    As leader of the White House’s newly created gun violence task force, Joe Biden will meet with the NRA Wednesday to discuss stricter gun laws. Biden’s task force has been working on significant changes to current gun laws and will send them to President Obama at the end of the month. The NRA has consistently rejected creating stricter gun laws, but said it would send a representative to the task force’s meeting “to hear what they have to say.”

    CULTURAL:

    Armstrong Set to Appear on Oprah Next Week, as New Allegation Surfaces, http://nyti.ms/10dyQIV

    Singer Amy Winehouse died watching YouTube videos of herself after vodka binge, inquest hears, http://bit.ly/VQeE8n

    Kate Middleton Turns 31: How She’s Celebrating Her Birthday, http://usm.ag/RG18XC

    EE British Academy Film Awards Nominations in 2013, http://bit.ly/ZpeTJ6

    Glenn Beck Relaunching The Blaze As Global Libertarian News Network, http://bit.ly/REGdnJ

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