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    ‘Pennsylvania’



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

    A Philadelphia high school drug ring is busted; violence escalates in South Sudan; and a man dealing fake art is arrested. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyong’o is named “Most Beautiful”; Drew Barrymore has her second child; and Justin Bieber gets in trouble for a seemingly honest mistake.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Drug ring targeting top suburban Philly schools busted: http://rtvote.com/1lEO7Jd
    18-year-old Timothy Brooks and 25-year-old Neil Scott were caught Tuesday by the police along with eight other people. The business: selling drugs to students at some of the best high schools and colleges in the area. Brooks and Scott were the two at the center of the drug ring; Brooks supervised the eight “sub-dealers” who sold the drugs at school while Scott was in charge of shipping the drugs from California to Pennsylvania. The drug ring, allegedly dubbed the “Main Line Take-Over Project” (after affluent towns near Philadelphia, where the ring targeted), was responsible for selling marijuana, hash oil, cocaine, and ecstasy (or MDMA). The schools targeted included the Haverford School, Conestoga High School, Radnor High School, Harriton High School, and Lower Merion High School: all prestigious, wealthy schools with some of the highest standardized test scores in Pennsylvania.

    UN: South Sudan rebels separate residents by ethnicity, kill hundreds: http://rtvote.com/1iL2dsZ
    Rebels stormed the oil town Bentiu last week in South Sudan, separated the terrified citizens by ethnicity, and then killed at least 400 people. 200 were killed and 400 were wounded at one mosque alone. The attackers warned certain ethnic groups to leave town and that they should no longer stay in Bentiu. Men, women, and children were killed when they did not cheer and offer support for the rebel attackers. The conflict stems from an overarching power struggle between two South Sudanese ethnic groups: the Nuers and the Dinkas. The rebel leader, Riek Machar (Nuer) was accused by the existing President, Salva Kiir (Dinka), of trying to kick him out of power through a coup. Since the coup allegations, violence between military and civilians has dominated the nation.

    Indicted art dealer, painter were ‘masters of forgery and deceit’: http://rtvote.com/1tCgv3Y
    Jose Carlos Bergatiños Diaz, his brother, and other associates are accused of making $30 million by selling fake artwork for almost 20 years. Diaz and his associates convinced wealthy people and New York art galleries that he was selling real Rothkos and Pollocks paintings. In reality, the paintings sold were made by Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese painter found by Diaz on the Manhattan streets. The brothers were arrested in Spain and have been charged with conspiracy and money laundering. Qian, who authorities believe fled to China as the scheme began to fall apart, has been charged with lying to FBI agents and other conspiracy charges.

    Gun checks miss millions of fugitives: http://rtvote.com/1l1QiYH
    Law enforcement agencies who fail to provide the FBI and national fugitive databases with information on felons could enable those felons to access, purchase, and use guns. In 5 states alone, police forces failed to give the FBI information on more than 2.5 million people with arrest warrants. A large number of those unreported people are wanted for violent offences.  A possible reason for the lack of reporting is that most states do not want to spend the money to track fugitives across state lines. Most agencies therefore see no reason to report with the FBI (a national tracking database) because they have no intention of tracking the fugitives who have left the state.

    CULTURAL

    Lupita Nyong’o named People’s “Most Beautiful”: http://rtvote.com/Qy51zv

    Daniel Franzese (Damian from Mean Girls) comes out: http://rtvote.com/Ptxcym

    Drew Barrymore has her baby! Find out her adorable name! http://rtvote.com/1noPuQa

    Rehearsals for Pitch Perfect 2 have begun! http://rtvote.com/1hj8yvl

    Justin Bieber in hot water again- although this might have been an honest mistake: http://rtvote.com/1jB3QGv

    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, April 10, 2014

    Thursday, April 10th, 2014

    A possible norovirus outbreak cripples a cruise ship; an arrest warrant is out for the man responsible for a day care center crash; new details emerge on yesterday’s Pennsylvania high school stabbing; and healthcare enrollment reaches 7.5 million. Meanwhile, Naya Rivera and Big Sean split; Jimmy Fallon performs a Tom Petty classic with a special guest; and BREAKING NEWS: Stephen Colbert has been chosen to replace David Letterman as the host of The Late Show!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Stomach illness hits 83 on cruise ship; may be norovirus: http://rtvote.com/1qkWzAd
    Princess Cruises spokeswoman Karen Candy says that 66 passengers and 17 crewmembers on the Crown Princess cruise ship came down with a “quickly-spreading digestive bug.” All of the illnesses have been isolated in their cabins, and the ship has undergone extensive sanitation procedures. Princess Cruises believe that norovirus, a quickly-spreading stomach virus that is highly contagious, is the cause. Norovirus has plagued a few cruise ships over the past few months. Norovirus affects many people on land, but is more reported via cruise ships because heath officials from cruise lines track the disease. The close quarters on a cruise ship make it easy for the disease to spread.

    Authorities issue arrest warrant in deadly Florida day care center crash: http://rtvote.com/1lMZwrf
    On Thursday, police issued an arrest warrant for Robert Corchado. Authorities believe that his SUV hit another car and cashed it into a Florida day care center, killing one child and injuring 14 others. Corchado’s car was found abandoned after he fled the scene. Police also believe that Corchado was trying to flee the area when the accident occurred. The driver of the car that crashed into the day care center due to Corchado’s actions was not injured and remained at the scene.

    After PA school stabbing, authorities and community ask: ‘Why?’: http://rtvote.com/1sGqa9i
    Although new details about yesterday’s school stabbing in Murrysville near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have emerged, authorities are still trying to determine a motive. The perpetrator, 16-year-old Alex Hribal, has been described as “quiet” and “having few friends,” but was also thought to be a “really nice kid.” Murrysville Police Chief Tom Seefeld believes that the stabbing was a random act of violence since, at this point, no one was known to be targeted. Hribal also is stated to come from a good, solid, normal family with no history of abuse or violence. Hribal is being charged with four counts of attempted murder and 21 counts of aggravated assault and is being held without bail. Four of the 21 people injured were injured seriously; one of the four’s injuries are so grave that he or she is not expected to survive.

    UConn sorority suspended for alleged hazing: http://rtvote.com/1edNkQd
    The University of Connecticut chapter of the Delta Zeta sorority has been put under an interim suspension after reports of hazing reached school officials. Among other things, members of the sorority have been accused of forcing men in a UConn fraternity to “consume alcohol and eat dog treats,” according to the reports in The Hartford Courant, a local newspaper. Both the national and UConn chapters of Delta Zeta have not commented on the alleged offences, which occurred in a UConn residence hall. This is the third Greek organization to be suspended over the last few months for hazing reports.

    Health exchange enrollment reaches 7.5 million: http://rtvote.com/1iy56JT
    As of Thursday, 7.5 million people have enrolled for health insurance. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Senate panel Thursday that since last week, 400,000 additional people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act. 11.7 million people have also been found to be eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The official closure of enrollment was on March 31st, but enrollment continues because thousands of people had started the enrollment process but hadn’t been able to finish enrolling by the deadline.

    CULTURAL

    No more wedding bells for Big Sean and Naya Rivera: http://rtvote.com/1kNZiyN

    Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique might be the next X-Men spinoff: http://rtvote.com/1lTaHkK

    Jimmy Fallon (aka Tom Petty) and Stevie Nicks perform a classic: http://rtvote.com/1lN7ErN

    DEVELOPING: David Letterman to be replaced by… Stephen Colbert! http://rtvote.com/1iAIvxv

    Kendall and Kylie Jenner react to a prank gone wrong! http://rtvote.com/1hllwsR

    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 9, 2014

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    A stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school leaves 20 students injured; Rep. Vance McAllister’s staffer resigns after kissing incident; Police search for a possible serial sniper in Kansas City; and a new breakthrough in paralysis research has occurred. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway put a cabaret spin on some top hip hop songs; Prince George has a play date down under; and Miley discusses her freedom without Disney or Liam Hemsworth.

    Shameless Plug Alert: Congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers, my (Veronica’s) hometown hockey team, on clinching a NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs spot last night. Let’s go Flyers!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    DEVELOPING STORY: 20 injured in Pittsburgh-area high school stabbing: http://rtvote.com/1qqQ250
    At least 20 students have been injured at Franklin Regional Senior High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An adult is also being treated for an unspecified medical condition. Four students have been taken to the hospital via helicopter and some students’ injuries are life-threatening. A hallway and a classroom were the setting for the potentially deadly stabbing. All schools are now secure, but the district’s elementary schools are closed for the day. The suspect, a sophomore boy, is now in custody.

    Spinal cord work is unexpected shocker: ‘This is a breakthrough’: http://rtvote.com/1qiwa5T
    Neuroscientist Susan Harkema had been running a study to try to learn more about “nerve pathways” by stimulating the spinal cords of paralyzed people through electricity. However, she managed to enable her patients to move their legs. All of her patients have been able to move their toes, move their legs around, sit up on their own, and even do sit ups! Harkema says this is the first time electrical stimulation to the spine and show results. Co-founder of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Dr. Barth Green says that “This is a breakthrough. It shows you can have a living spinal cord under the layer of their injury.” Scientists hope this will open the door to the possibility of new breakthroughs.

    Staffer caught kissing Rep. McAllister resigns, while Congressman keeps his job: http://rtvote.com/1k3Q4Qr
    Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) was caught on tape Monday kissing a staff member. The Congressman and the staffer, Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, are both married. Peacock has since resigned her post as district scheduler to McAllister. McAllister, conversely, says he has “no plans to resign” and insists that he will campaign for reelection this year. On Monday, the Ouachita Citizen posted a surveillance video showing the two kissing. McAllister admitted the affair and apologized to his constituents: “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was “pleased” with the apology, but he has not yet commented on whether McAllister should keep his job.

    Kansas City authorities seek perpetrator after some shootings linked: http://rtvote.com/1kKJBby
    The FBI has joined the hunt for a shooter in Kansas City, Missouri area. So far, thirteen shootings have been reported along parts of Interstate 435 and Interstate 470, most of which are near exit and interchange ramps. No one has been killed, but three people have been wounded; one was shot in the arm, the others were shot in the leg. Law enforcement believes that at least a part of the thirteen shootings are linked. The FBI and ATF have put out a $7000 reward for anyone who might know anything about the shootings or the possible shooter(s).

    UConn Women’s Basketball completes 40-0 season: http://rtvote.com/1k3Y9ED
    UConn’s women’s basketball team has completed their 40-0 season with a 79-58 win over Notre Dame. They are now repeat champions and it is the fifth time the team has gone undefeated under the head coach, Geno Auriemma. Auriemma has won nine National Titles in nine tries after the win. Notre Dame finished 37-1 after the loss.

    CULTURAL

    Paul Rudd joins Billy on the Street’s Billy Eichner for some Funny or Die fun: http://rtvote.com/R2X9GB

    Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway sing Broadway versions of…rap songs? http://rtvote.com/1lKl5J3

    Prince George’s royal play date: http://rtvote.com/ODqMfM

    Miley Cyrus talks “being free”: http://rtvote.com/1eks0sJ

    Samantha Harris diagnosed with breast cancer, due to receive double mastectomy: http://rtvote.com/1hsHbR3

    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, January 17, 2014

    Friday, January 17th, 2014

    President Obama addresses the nation on NSA spying programs; the $1.1T spending bill will head to the White House; and a harsh Pennsylvania voter ID law is struck down by a state court judge. Meanwhile, FLOTUS turns 50 and fabulous!; Kim K flashes new photos of baby North; and the 2014 Sundance Film Festival commences.

    - Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens, http://rtvote.com/1adj0Ug 
    Addressing the nation Friday morning from the Department of Justice, President Obama called for new reforms to NSA spying programs on U.S. citizens. After a six-month controversy, the president has ordered significant changes to the way the NSA collects & uses telephone records of U.S. citizens. He also advocated to end eavesdropping on many foreign leaders and allies of our country in order to rebuild their trust in the U.S. intelligence community.

    With Senate’s OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads to Obama,http://rtvote.com/1hywNEt
    The massive $1.1 trillion spending bill will now head to President Obama’s desk for a signature. The bill will prevent any gaps in government funding and provide a less harsh effect on automatic spending cuts. The Senate voted 72-26 to pass the spending legislation and reduce the likelihood of a government shutdown, at least for the upcoming election season.

    Putin: Gay people will be safe at Olympics if they ‘leave kids alone’http://rtvote.com/KnCoRK
    During a question and answer session Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, offered a statement that was apparently meant to be a reassuring answer for visitors to the Games. After being asked about Russia’s attitude toward gays, a controversial subject surround the upcoming events, Putin said that “one can feel calm and at ease. Just leave the kids alone.” Unfortunately Mr. Putin, I don’t think that’s the reassuring answer that most people were hoping for…

    Members of Congress Introduce New Fix For Voting Rights Act,http://rtvote.com/1m9ngUq
    Last summer the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when they released their ruling to the Shelby County v. Holder case. This ruling made it much easier for states with a history of discriminatory voting laws to enact new restrictive laws without federal supervision. Yesterday, the first bi-partisan solution was offered when legislation was introduced to help strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

    Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down, http://rtvote.com/19zLsPB
    Judge Bernard L. McGinley, a state court judge, struck down a controversial voter ID law in Pennsylvania Friday morning. After a twelve-day trial last summer debating the law, Judge McGinley ruled that the law placed an unreasonable burden on people trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote. 

    CULTURAL

    Kim Kardashian Shares New Pics of Baby North West, Talks Summer Wedding With Kanye West, http://rtvote.com/1avSIqX

    Michelle Obama Proudly Shows Off Her AARP Card on 50th Birthday,http://rtvote.com/1fFFqzJ

    Drake, Nina Dobrev, and More Degrassi Alums: Where are they now?,http://rtvote.com/1adbmcs

    Melissa McCarthy Returning to Host Saturday Night Live on February 1,http://rtvote.com/1jbj4GI

    Sundance 2014: Miles Teller Talks Divergent, Getting Naked in That Awkward Moment and His Rock Band Past, http://rtvote.com/KnzLzi

    Michelle Obama Turns 50! Let’s Look Back at FLOTUS’ Best Fashions So Far, http://rtvote.com/1jbjKvL

    Maura
    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, August 22, 2013

    Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

    President Obama discusses college costs; an apparent chemical attack strikes Syria; and Bradley Manning reveals his plan to become a woman. Meanwhile, James Franco set to star in his own show; Prince George turns 1…month; and Law and Order SVU tackles the Paula Deen scandal.

    -Maura + Ally

    CRUCIAL

    Images of Death in Syria, but No Proof of Chemical Attack, http://rtvote.com/1aviwY8
    Many Syrian men, women, and children were killed yesterday in a likely chemical weapon attack. Though cause of death is not confirmed, the victims have no signs of visible injury, and puffs of smoke were spotted above the affected areas. The scale of this attack could change the global attitude on chemical weapons and be the tipping point for increased Western involvement on the issue.

    ‘I am Chelsea’: Read Manning’s full statement, http://rtvote.com/175VC4q
    Bradley Manning announced on the TODAY show today that he will begin hormone therapy to live the rest of his life as a woman, ‘Chelsea Manning.’ This comes shortly after his indictment for leaking classified military information.

    San Diego Mayor Bob Filner reaches mediation deal, city attorney says, http://rtvote.com/175VLVs
    Weeks after Mayor Filner admitted to inappropriate relations with 18 women and underwent 2 weeks of rehab, an agreement has been reached between the Mayor and the city. The content of the mediation will not be released until Friday, but the result could be as extreme as resignation.

    Maria Sharapova withdraws from the U.S. Openhttp://rtvote.com/175Wkid
    Due to a shoulder injury sustained from the French Open in May, Sharapova withdrew her spot in the U.S. Open to give herself time to heal. She is simultaneously working to promote her new line of gummy candies, called “Sugarpova.

    Obama’s Plan Aims to Lower Cost of Collegehttp://rtvote.com/175XTwG
    President Obama spoke to students in Buffalo Thursday morning, addressing the rising cost of college. He proposed a ranking system of a colleges’ affordability, state funding tied to success of students, and ensuring students receiving federal aid actually complete school. The President will continue to discuss this topic as he continues a bus tour throughout New York and Pennsylvania today and tomorrow.

    CULTURAL

    James Franco Gets TV Show Starring James Franco Called James Franco Presents About James Franco’s Life, http://rtvote.com/175JIHG

    Prince George Is 1 Month Old Already: Here’s What the Royal Baby Has Been Up To, http://rtvote.com/1av0LIC

    Wentworth Miller Comes Out: ‘Prison Break’ Star Reveals He’s Gay, http://rtvote.com/1av2eP8

    ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Tackling Paula Deen Controversy With Cybill Shepherd, http://rtvote.com/1av2ltZ

    Brandy Performs to Empty Stadium in South Africa, http://rtvote.com/1av34LN

    Maura
    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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