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    News Round-Up: Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Thursday, March 6th, 2014

    Crimean lawmakers have voted to join Russia; a news anchor quits on her live show; Staples plans to close nearly 10 percent of its stores in and around the United States; and parents commit fraud for football. Meanwhile, kids recreate the 2014 Oscar’s best fashion looks; Katy Perry tries her hand at meteorology in Australia; Aaron Carter reveals lingering feelings for a Hollywood star; and see what Oscar winning actors actually do with the statue!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Breaking News: Crimea lawmakers vote to join Russia: http://rtvote.com/1dvBwGw
    Crimean lawmakers voted to leave Ukraine for Russia earlier, forcing citizens to choose if they want to remain in Ukraine or join Russia. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, however, says that the referendum proposed by the Crimean lawmakers who voted for the separation has “no legal grounds at all” and is an “illegitimate decision.” Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko says that the referendum is indeed invalid because in Ukraine, referendums can only be passed by the national government. However, Crimea’s government is staunchly pro-Russia, and they do not recognize the interim, pro-West national government in Kiev.

    Anchor quits: I can’t be part of network ‘that whitewashes’ Putin’s actions: http://rtvote.com/1f1C2gy
    Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl quit her job on-air at the end of her show on Wednesday. She said that due to her past (being a member of a family who fled Hungary to escape the Soviet Union in the 1950s), she “cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin.” The network responded, calling Wahl’s actions a “self-promotional stunt.” This action follows the similar outburst from Russia Today personality Abby Martin, who split from the pro-Russian repertoire and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea.

    Parents, students cheat to attend Atlanta school: http://rtvote.com/1f1GmMQ
    An Atlanta school is under fire from new cheating allegations coming to light. Parents of football players at Grady High School faked their children’s addresses solely so their children could play football at that school. Out of the 58 players on Grady High School’s football team, fourteen have faked papers. Currently, some students connected with the fraud have withdrawn from the school, and others had tuition bills sent to them. The school’s superintendent, Erroll Davis, is debating whether to press criminal or civil charges on the parents accused of fraud.

    Barbie, remove that Girl Scout tie, ad group says: http://rtvote.com/1cF9PHO
    A new ad featuring Barbie tied in with Girl Scouts has sparked controversy from consumer advocacy groups. The “Be Anything, Do Anything” patch allows Girl Scouts in kindergarten through third grade to look at different careers in a booklet with a Barbie theme. The groups believe that using Barbie as a role model for Girl Scouts “undermines the Girl Scouts vital mission.” Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, is bringing the issue to light now because the Girl Scouts of America did not agree to remove the partnership in private talks. Kelly Parisi, a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts, says that using Barbie enables them to tell girls that “they can do anything.”

    Staples to close 225 stores as sales move online: http://rtvote.com/1idGUOj
    Staples plans on closing 10 percent of its North American stores by the end of 2015. The store chain says nearly 50 percent of its sales are online, and that it wants to be more monetarily efficient. A majority of their 1,846 stores are in the United States, and Staples has yet to comment on how many jobs are being cut due to store closures. However, Staples CEO Ron Sargent says that the chain will not give up on actual stores due to the service customers can receive there, and the overall convenience of stores.

    CULTURAL

    What celebrities do with their Oscars: http://rtvote.com/NXNWgP

    Kids recreating Oscar looks: http://rtvote.com/1gUZOc3

    Here’s the host of the 2014 MTV Movie Awards! http://rtvote.com/1dvUsVM

    Katy Perry’s new day job: meteorologist? http://rtvote.com/1oulQ8d

    Aaron Carter can’t get over a romance that happened over 10 years ago! http://rtvote.com/1qbNqe3

    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, March 5th, 2014

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

    Tensions between Ukraine, Russia, and Western powers continue to escalate; a NJ student suing her parents loses first court battle; Pope Francis says that he could potentially accept civil unions; and a 10-year-old boy is suspended after pointing his fingers in the shape of a gun. Meanwhile, John Travolta speaks out about his Idina Menzel flub on Oscar Night; an emoji version of “Drunk in Love” is taking over the web; and you can see the Oscar selfie that broke Twitter and has the Twitter record for the most retweets ever! 

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Ukraine crisis: Western leaders pile pressure on Russia: http://rtvote.com/1ga99e8
    Western governmental powers have begun to threaten Russia with sanctions if their military presence in Ukraine does not decrease. In retaliation, Russia has begun drafting a law that “would allow Russia to confiscate assets belonging to the U.S. and European companies if sanctions are slapped on Moscow.” The European Union will meet Thursday in Brussels, and US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian equivalent to Kerry’s position, in Paris. This conflict stems from the removal of the Russian-allied government and the increase in tension in the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine, where a heavy Russian population resides.

    Student’s lawsuit against parents for support loses first round in court: http://rtvote.com/1lyMnEg
    18-year-old New Jersey resident Rachel Canning made news this week for suing her own parents to make them pay for varying expenses: her final semester at her private high school, her living expenses, her legal fees, and her college tuition. Canning says her parents forced her out of her home and made her live on her own and was subject to mental and physical abuse, while her parents say she left of her own accord because she “didn’t want to obey their rules.” A judge refused to hear the request of payment for both the high school and living expenses, but in April, another hearing will be held for other issues presented in the lawsuit.

    Ohio student points finger like gun, is suspended: http://rtvote.com/1fHONbj
    A 10-year-old boy who pointed his finger like a gun and pointed it at another student’s head was suspended by his principal. The other student didn’t see it, but a teacher did and reported it to the school’s administration. The boy, who said he was “just playing around,” had been warned before by the school, Devonshire Alternative Elementary, about pretending to play with guns, as have all the other students; they were also told of potential consequences if they were caught participating in this behavior. 

    Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions: http://rtvote.com/1hMh1X0
    On Wednesday, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage (“marriage is between a man and a woman”), but also hinted at the possible acceptance of civil unions. Pope Francis is the first Pope to even hint at an acceptance of civil unions and is one of the most “gay-friendly” popes in history. Possible changes to the church regarding the women’s role and the contraception ban could also be in the works as the Pope’s first year comes to a close.

    Three children pulled to safety after woman drives van into ocean: http://rtvote.com/1kyfwiB
    A pregnant South Carolina woman, driving a minivan with three children inside, drove into the ocean in Florida. Rescuers said that they heard the children screaming that their mother was trying to kill them. People worked frantically to remove the children and the mother from the waterlogged vehicle. The children, aged 3, 9, and 10, were carried to shore and examined at a hospital before being declared “okay”. The mother walked to shore, dazed, and has refused to talk about the incident.

    CULTURAL

    See the now-infamous selfie that broke Twitter on Oscar Night! http://rtvote.com/1hLqDBZ

    John Travolta’s response to his Idina Menzel flub: http://rtvote.com/1cuhUoa

    The best and worst moments from the Oscars are in! http://rtvote.com/1gakNpt

    An emoji version of Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love”? http://rtvote.com/1e1MWP0

    Dancing with the Stars just announced its latest cast: http://rtvote.com/1l14Y8T

    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: 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: Friday, February 22, 2013

    Friday, February 22nd, 2013

    Oscar Pistorius is granted bail set at $113,000; Russia accuses the U.S. of holding double standards with Syria; U.S. troops set up a drone base in Niger; and Google introduces a touch screen laptop. Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z announce the dates of their summer tour; Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose welcome their newborn son; and Prince Harry and his girlfriend come out as a couple.

    Caitlin + Liza

    CRUCIAL: 

    Oscar Pistorius granted bail ahead of murder trial, http://nbcnews.to/VALzkz
    Oscar Pistorius was granted bail set at $113,000 on Friday, despite protests from the prosecution. Pistorius, the double amputee and former Olympic track star, is accused of “premeditated murder” of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but maintains he mistook Steenkamp for a robber in his home. Though prosecutors had worried Pistorius would flee the country if granted bail, defense lawyers maintained he is not a “flight risk.” “What kind of life would Pistorius lead if he flees, given his protheses?” questioned Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair.

    Russia accuses U.S. of double standards over Syria, http://reut.rs/W7xYnq
    Russia accused the United States of having double standards on Syria, citing that the U.S. had blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning Thursday’s car bomb attack in Damascus as terrorist action. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the U.S. was threatening international unity in the “war on terror” by blocking a statement about the “terrorist attacks”. A U.S. representative at the United Nations denied that the U.S. had blocked the statement. The U.S.’s relationship with Russia has worsened since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency last May, and new Secretary of State John Kerry will have his first meeting with Lavrov next week.

    U.S. troops arrive in Niger to set up a drone base, http://wapo.st/UR7ftz
    President Obama announced on Friday the creation of a drone base in the West African nation of Niger, where 100 American troops will be deployed to spy on members of al-Qaeda in the Sahara. The opening of the Niger drone base marks the addition of another U.S. military operation against al-Qaeda to join those in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. U.S. troops in Niger will also support the France’s military operation in Mali, where al-Qaeda members and other militants have founded a refuge. “This is purely an intelligence gathering mission,” a U.S. defense official said.

    Las Vegas Strip Shooting Launches Multi-State Manhunt, http://abcn.ws/W6Gpzj
    Three people were killed in a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas strip on Friday, launching a multi-state manhunt for a group of men in a black Range Rover responsible for initiating the attack. Following an argument at the Aria resort and casino, the group of men shot at two people in a Maserati, prompting a multi-car crash resulting in a taxi exploding. The driver of the Maserati died from gunshot wounds, as did a driver and passenger who were inside the taxi. Nevada, Utah, California, and Arizona have all put authorities on alert for the Range Rover, which is carrying an unclear number of men and is considered armed and dangerous. “Clearly the suspects in this shooting have no regard for the lives and and safety of others,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Sheriff Doug Gillespie said.

    FBI battling ‘rash of sexting’ among its employees, http://bit.ly/VzqYx9
    CNN obtained FBI reports detailing a variety of misconducts inside the agency including sending nude pictures, paying for sex, and a “rash of sexting cases.” The incidents were detailed in a quarterly report issued to FBI employees as a way to deter such behavior in the future. Employees were found to have used government-issued devices to send many of the lurid messages. “We’re hoping (that) getting the message out in the quarterlies is going to teach people… you can’t do this stuff,” FBI assistant director Candice Will said. “When you are given an FBI Blackberry, it’s for official use.” Between 2010 and 2012, the FBI disciplined 1,045 employees for various violations.

    Obama: Voting Rights Act Provision Should Be Kept, http://huff.to/13twcLc
    The Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge on Wednesday to a key section of the voting rights law which requires local and state governments with a history of racial discrimination to get Justice Department approval before they make changes affecting elections. The Alabama appellate will argue that such a requirement is no longer necessary because areas with histories of racism have made such progress. President Obama defends the law, holding that ending federal oversight would make it harder to help people who believe their voting rights have been violated.

    Google Introduces a Touch-Screen Laptop, http://nyti.ms/157OjJh
    Google moved further into the laptop business on Thursday with the introduction of the Pixel, the newest version of Google’s Chromebook laptops, which store everything online in the cloud. The Pixel’s trademark will be a touch screen that is brighter, taller, and of a higher resolution than most other laptop screens. Analysts say the big question for the Pixel will be whether buyers are ready to do the majority of their computing in the cloud, using Google Docs and Gmail rather than software like Microsoft Word. The introduction of the Pixel marks a major shift by Google toward competition with Apple and Microsoft to sell high-end devices.

    CULTURAL: 

    Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z Tour to Launch This Summer, http://bit.ly/W86zld

    Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose Welcome Son Sebastian Taylor, http://bit.ly/WW9Ocu

    Prince Harry Let Secret Out After Heavy Night, http://thebea.st/12VLug5

    Megan Fox, Michael Bay Team for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, http://huff.to/XunWYu

    Oscars 2013: And the Winners Will Be…?, http://bit.ly/135H6uI

     

    Liza Dee
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

    Dozens of dead bodies are found in Syria; the Pentagon plans to stay the course in Afghanistan; Arizona parents try to access their children’s text messages; and Republicans and Democrats distance themselves from Rick Santorum’s accusations that Obama is “a snob” for wanting students to go to college. Elsewhere, James Spader will leave “The Office,” and Ryan Seacrest says he was unprepared for Sacha Baron Cohen’s stunt.

    Aaron + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Syrian activists: 64 bodies found near Homs in one of the worst mass killings http://wapo.st/y3bghu
    In the wake of Bashar al-Assad’s alleged electoral victory, dozens of bodies were disposed of outside of war-torn Homs. It seems as if the individuals were trying to leave the war-zone, only to be gunned down by government enforcers. On Monday over 100 other people were killed. The Syrian state media is claiming that Assad won in a landslide victory after a majority of Syrians voted for a new constitution that would allow him to be in power until 2028.

    Pentagon says ‘fundamental strategy’ in Afghanistan is sound http://wapo.st/x7A1UM
    The Pentagon has no plans to change its strategy in Afghanistan as ties between NATO and Afghan security forces have weakened. Afghans witnessed NATO troops burning Korans, setting off a week of protests and violence. Barack Obama’s formal apology has done little to ease tensions between NATO and Afghanistan, and many Americans working in Afghanistan have been pulled from ministries. The Pentagon still intends to end combat missions there by the end of 2014.

    Divided Virginia Senate passes voter ID bill http://bit.ly/zTCHmN
    A bill allegedly written to prevent voter fraud has squeaked through in Virginia. The State Senators were split 20-20 on the issue of requiring photo ID, but the Republican Lt. Governor cast a vote in favor of the bill. Opponents of the bill say there have been virtually no complaints of fraud.

    Rick Santorum takes heat for ‘snob’ comment against President Obama http://wapo.st/zNCCPe
    Rick Santorum recently claimed that Barack Obama’s desire to send more Americans to college is due to snobbery. And these particular comments have not resonated with many politicians. A good deal of Republican Governors at the National Governors Association meeting rebuked Santorum’s statements. Among those were Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Jan Brewer of Arizona, both of whom have endorsed Mitt Romney. However Bobby Jindal and several other non-committed Republican governors have criticized his statements too. Obama clarified what he meant and deconstructed Santorum’s arguments. These rebukes are important for two bell weather primaries that are taking place today.

    State bills seek parental access to children’s text messages http://usat.ly/zVqho7
    Legislators in Arizona are trying to make it easier for parents to spy on their children. Currently, if a parent wants to see their child’s text messages, he or she would need a court order. This bill would change that. Ostensibly it is so parents can protect their children from bullying or other issues. Verizon has come out against this bill, fearing it would be costly to offer an entirely different plan to individuals in the state of Arizona.

    Violence in Afghanistan Causes Ripples on Campaign Trail http://nyti.ms/xKQTvo
    The recent uptick of violence in Afghanistan may prove to be a blemish on what otherwise has been a pristine four years of foreign policy for Barack Obama. Republican candidates are hoping that Obama’s apology and the tumult in Afghanistan will restore the Republicans’ traditional position of strength when it comes to foreign policy. However, the incumbent president and his team hope that these recent deaths will only increase America’s resolve to leave the region.

    CULTURAL:

    2012 Oscars: How to fix a boring Academy Awards show for next year, http://nydn.us/yP1469

    Daily Report: Netflix Transitions to TV Shows, http://nyti.ms/Apm5ML

    Madonna Renames Song “GIRL Gone Wild”; Joe Francis Claims Legal Victory, http://bit.ly/yGLY85

    James Spader leaving NBC’s ‘The Office’, http://bit.ly/wHIIDt

    Ryan Seacrest ‘Didn’t Know’ About Baron Cohen Stunt, http://bit.ly/yDYz0e

    Aaron Ghitelman
    Bio:

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