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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

    A shipwreck in South Korea leaves nearly 300 missing; a large al Qaeda meeting video surfaces and unsettles United States intelligence; a cold case has been solved after over 40 years; and two backpacks wreak havoc at the Boston Marathon Commemorative Ceremonies. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital; Paul Walker’s brothers will help finish filming Fast & Furious 7; and Pharrell shares a “Happy” moment with Oprah despite some tears.

    - Veronica + Maura

     CRUCIAL

    Rescuers search dark, cold sea for survivors of shipwreck off South Korea: http://rtvote.com/1t9Riha
    300 people are still missing after a ferry, charged with taking passengers to a South Korean resort, capsized and sank Wednesday. Rescue teams are still searching the Yellow Sea for potential survivors. Out of the 459 people on board, four people (three men and one woman) are known to be dead and 164 have been rescued. Most of the passengers were students and teachers from a high school in Seoul, who were on a four-day field trip to an island resort nearby. A loud bang was heard before the ship began to rapidly take on water. The crew told the passengers to put on lifejackets and jump into the ocean. Some survivors said they tried to help people get out, but were not able to in time. The cause of the accident remains a mystery.

    Unsettling video shows large al Qaeda meeting in Yemen: http://rtvote.com/1qJdDjo
    A video deemed authentic by the US government shows what has been considered the largest gathering of al Qaeda militants in years. What’s more, either the CIA or the Pentagon did not know the gathering was occurring or they could not get a drone there in time. US officials have yet to comment on their lack of action, but the video is being heavily analyzed by US intelligence. Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the group’s second in command leader worldwide, is depicted to be standing in the open greeting followers, completely unconcerned that he could be hit by a drone strike. He said in his speech: “We must eliminate the cross…. The bearer of the cross is America.” Experts say there is cause for worry, stating that the recent video means that a new round of plotting is at hand. The al Qaeda group in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is the most dangerous sect of the terrorist organization.

    Case of missing South Dakota girls solved after 40 years: http://rtvote.com/1mcP4th
    Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller were on their way to a party in 1971 when they mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Authorities originally believed it was homicide, but were forced to drop the charges against the accused man due to false evidence. Since then, the case was considered a cold case. Last September, a car was found in a creek near the girls’ destinations. Inside were skeletal remains found in the cab of the car and Miller’s driver’s license, as well as personal items like notes and photographs. DNA analysis of the remains confirmed the identities of Jackson and Miller. There was no sign of alcohol, the keys were in the car’s ignition, the car was in gear, and a tire was damaged. 40 years later, the police are finally able to provide the families with a definitive answer: the girls’ deaths were an accident.

    Man with ‘hoax device’ frays nerves at Boston Marathon site: http://rtvote.com/1gANfSa
    Commemorative ceremonies for the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing had just ended when police found two backpacks and a suspicious person, forcing them to evacuate the area. The man was lurking with a backpack near the Boylston Street finish line and was “acting peculiarly”. The Boston Police Department called in the bomb squad and blew up both backpacks as a precaution. Police also arrested the man, the owner of only one of the bags, who said the bag contained a rice cooker. The contents of the other bag are unknown. The man was arrested and charged with possession of a hoax device, disturbing the peace, and disorderly conduct.

    Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes: http://rtvote.com/Qpuue1
    A study published in a neuroscience journal found that recreation marijuana use (as in, using a few times a week) is “enough to physically alter crucial brain structures”. Since there is little research on the effects of casual marijuana smoking, this study shed some light on the subject. Hans Breiter, the leader of the study, analyzed the brains of 20 light marijuana users and 20 nonsmokers. The brains of the smokers began to change in two major areas- the areas linked with emotion, motivation, and mental illnesses. The study parallels with the study of Staci Gruber, who focused on a batch of heavier marijuana smokers but found similar results. She said that the studies show that marijuana “is not quite the benign substance people thought it was.”

    CULTURAL

    Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital: http://rtvote.com/P5h4TE

    Paul Walker’s brothers to complete Fast & Furious 7 scenes: http://rtvote.com/1qJx0sP

    After a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, Valerie Harper says she is cancer-free! http://rtvote.com/1qJy3Ji

    Pharrell sheds tears with Oprah: watch the video! http://rtvote.com/1gGITfR

    Get the inside scoop on how Mila stays fit and healthy during her pregnancy: http://rtvote.com/1qJF0tD

    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 26, 2014

    Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

    POTUS’s Secret Service agents are sent home after a night of heavy drinking; the Copenhagen Zoo euthanizes more animals; a school board allows the girl who shaved her head to return to school; and a 19-year-old Naval Academy football player dies after collapsing in practice. Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin split up; David Archuleta returns to the United States; and the cause of Paul Walker’s car crash is revealed.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Secret Service agents on Obama detail sent home from Netherlands after night of drinking: http://rtvote.com/1l40NtD
    Three Secret Service agents who were supposed to be protecting President Obama this week on his trip to Amsterdam went out drinking and were sent home and put on administrative leave. One agent was found passed out drunk in the hallway of a hotel. The hotel contacted the US Embassy in the Netherlands after the passed out agent was found. They then alerted Secret Service leaders who were with the president. An investigation is pending.

    Copenhagen Zoo kills 4 lions, weeks after shooting giraffe: http://rtvote.com/1gXSuua
    The same zoo in Denmark responsible for euthanizing a healthy giraffe in February is under fire again for euthanizing four lions to make way for a new one. The lions killed were two young lions that were dubbed “too young” to live on their own and their parents. Tobias Stenbaek Bro, spokesman for the Copenhagen Zoo, said that they tried to send the four lions to another home, but no one was interested. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria stated that the Copenhagen Zoo had not broken any laws or violated any conduct codes.

    Mississippi moves to execute its 1st female prisoner since 1944: http://rtvote.com/1j3uKtG
    A Mississippi woman accused of hiring someone to murder her husband in 1999 is set to be executed by lethal injection, becoming the first woman in 70 years to be executed in Mississippi. Michelle Byrom had been convicted of plotting to kill her abusive husband with her son and another man. However, some people believe that she deserves to live, especially because her son has confessed to murdering his father four different times. The execution is set to occur on Thursday.

    Board allows girl who shaved head for friend to return: http://rtvote.com/1p61TGQ
    Kamryn Renfro was told on Monday that she would not be allowed to go to school because her shaved head violated the school’s dress code. Renfro shaved her head to support her best friend Delaney Clemets, who is undergoing chemotherapy for neuroblastoma and lost her hair. The original story sparked tremendous outrage earlier this week, but Renfro’s mother is now asking all the negativity to stop. The board held a special meeting on Tuesday, voting 3-1 in favor of letting Renfro return to school with a shaved head.

    19-year-old Navy RB Will McKamey dies while in coma: http://rtvote.com/1gXWoTL
    Will McKamey passed away while in a coma Tuesday night after collapsing during a Naval Academy football practice on Saturday. He was taken to Baltimore Shock Trauma and underwent surgery on Sunday to relieve pressure from the brain. McKamey’s mother said that he had collapsed before in high school and had been seen by various neurosurgeons to be scanned and cleared for contact sports. McKamey passed away with his family present, and funeral arrangements are pending.

    CULTURAL

    Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin split: http://rtvote.com/1dNuSbC

    Police investigation reveals the cause of Paul Walker’s car crash: http://rtvote.com/1h9RxU1

    David Archuleta returns from a 2-year mission trip: http://rtvote.com/1iApm0s

    The white tiger that almost killed Siegfried & Roy’s Roy dies: http://rtvote.com/1rA4H1j

    Pharrell says Hillary Clinton will be the next President: http://rtvote.com/1juRfue

    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: Monday, February 24th, 2014

    Monday, February 24th, 2014

    The Department of Defense proposes some extreme military cuts; Deval Patrick may be considering running for president; and a strange polio-like disease strikes five kids. Meanwhile, view the top 15 moments at the Sochi Olympics; Alec Baldwin has harsh words for some celebrities; and Pharrell’s “Smoky the Bear” Grammy’s hat is up for auction.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Defense Department to cut Army to pre-WWII size:http://rtvote.com/1pjsT6W
    The Department of Defense will present a new defense budget Monday that will decrease defense spending. The budget outlines a plan intent on reducing the Army to the size it was before World War Two (between 440,000 and 450,000 troops) and plans on removing a class of Air Force attack jets. The bill, supported by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, protects funding for cyberwarfare and security as well as special operations programs. Congressional leaders with large military populations in the area they represent may provide a strong opposition to the budget.

    Mass. Gov Patrick: ‘Maybe’ I’ll run for president:http://rtvote.com/1k4j7lg
    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick told Politico that he might consider a run for president in the future. He originally dismissed rumors of a 2016 presidential bid because he was afraid of the impact the election would have on his family. Patrick said that he and his wife would have to agree on running if he ever considered it. Patrick is not running for a third gubernatorial term this year.

    Longest-serving Congressman to retire:http://rtvote.com/1cHUd9x
    Michigan Representative John Dingell, 87, will retire from the House of Representatives when his 29th term ends later this year. A champion of healthcare reform, environmental protection, gun control, worker’s rights, and gun rights, Dingell has an impressive congressional accomplishments sheet. Serving in Congress has taken a toll on his physical health, and he continually expressed frustration with the increasingly partisan Congressional gridlock. Dingell’s retirement is now one of many, as more congressmen and senators call for retirement. Although his Michigan district is considered a safety district for Democrats, the Congressman or woman who takes his place will have a tough act to follow.

    Polio-like illness found in five California children:http://rtvote.com/1epOTnD
    Between August 2012 and July 2013, five California children have become paralyzed in one or more of their limbs. Doctors ruled out polio because all of the affected children had been vaccinated against the disease, despite their ailment having polio-like qualities. Instead, two of the five children have been diagnosed with enterovirus 68, an incredibly rare disease that is from the same family as polio. Since 2000, there have been 47 cases of enterovirus 68 in the United States. Health officials are not concerned about the possibility of an outbreak, stressing the rarity of the illness.

    Students, say goodbye to snow days:http://rtvote.com/OtTD74
    Teachers are beginning to utilize technology to teach at home. Because this winter has been difficult for many areas of the country, some schools have run out of snow days. Teachers in some school districts have begun to teach online during snow days, requiring students to log in to a program online to keep track of attendance and grades. This prevents students from missing too many school days, which would require school officials to take days away from spring break.

    CULTURAL

    See the most memorable moments from the Sochi Olympics:http://rtvote.com/1fnoTj4

    Brooke-Burke Charvet ousted from her DWTS hosting job:http://rtvote.com/1eb5gt5

    Alec Baldwin’s harsh New York essay:http://rtvote.com/1gwSMKa

    You can buy Pharrell’s infamous Grammy hat:http://rtvote.com/1mD9Ju3

    Liam Neeson discusses Natasha Richardson’s death:http://rtvote.com/1pjQ9ll

    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: 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: Friday, July 15, 2011

    Friday, July 15th, 2011

    Minnesota’s government has come to an agreement to end the state’s shut down, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are working on a back-up plan to prevent a default, Rebekah Brooks resigns from Murdoch’s British subsidiary, a woman dies after a volcano in Indonesia erupts, and the California governor signs a bill requiring schools to teach LGBT history. Also, Levi Aron is pleading not guilty to charges of kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, and Michele Bachmann raised $2 million in 3 weeks.

    Caitlin, Katie, + Perry

    CRITICAL:

    (via POLITICO Breaking News)
    Following a three-hour meeting at the statehouse on Thursday, an agreement has been reached to end Minnesota’s government shutdown, now in its 14th day. The Republican leaders in the state legislature appeared at an evening press conference with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to announce they’ve reached a framework for a deal. Dayton said he will call a special session to pass a budget, which should allow the government to reopen in a “few days.”

    Plan B Emerges on Debt,
    http://on.wsj.com/qmtx36
    Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have held quiet meetings on a plan to avoid a default. The backup plan would include spending cuts and McConnell’s idea to give the president power to raise the debt ceiling. The deal would also have a committee to scope out further cuts, and per Republican demands, would probably not include any tax increases.

    Rebekah Brooks Resigns From Murdoch’s British Subsidiary, http://nyti.ms/r6X8lv
    Rebekah Brooks, the Chief Executive of Rupert Murdoch’s British news operation, announced her resignation Friday. Reports came out that while Brooks was editor, News of the World ordered the cell-phone hacking of a 13-year-old murder victim and terrorism victims from 9/11.

    Woman dies as Indonesian volcano erupts again, http://on.msnbc.com/nxmxOv
    Rescuers, along with soldiers and police, evacuated Indonesian residents living near a 5,741-foot volcano called Mount Lokon. 6,000 were moved into shelters and 27,000 more will be displaced. One woman died of a heart attack while fleeing from the lava.

    California governor signs bill requiring schools to teach gay history,
    http://bit.ly/pYePs5
    California students are used to learning about the historic contributions of Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-Americans; now they’ll also learn the history of LGBT and disabled Americans. Gov. Jerry Brown justified the additions to the curriculum, noting that “history should be honest.”

    Sudan Strikes Could Be War Crimes, Report Says, http://nyti.ms/poRMJX
    South Sudan, which was recently admitted to the United Nations after seceding from the North, might be charged with possible war crimes. A report suggests that the northern government based in Khartoum has carried out human rights violations that could be considered war crimes in South Kordofan State.

    Obama Said Ready to Move on South Korea Trade Bill, http://nyti.ms/nL6VmI
    Business leaders and President Obama are eager to see a free trade pact approved with South Korea. Republicans are threatening to vote against the bill since it includes an extension to the 50-year-old TAA job training program.

    Michele Bachmann reportedly raised $2 million in 3 weeks,
    http://politi.co/rgc0O5
    Since she announced her candidacy three weeks ago, the Minnesota Congresswoman has doubled her campaign’s budget. While this is an impressive amount in such a short period of time, rival Mitt Romney is still well ahead of her total.

    CULTURAL:

    Harry Potter shatters sales records as millions say one final goodbye, http://bit.ly/qPAjv7

    Sarah Palin Movie Debuts to Empty Theater in Orange County, http://bit.ly/mZtoIj

    Chris Colfer learned he’s leaving ‘Glee’ from Twitter, http://bit.ly/nQT7Al

    Does Lindsay Lohan Really Think She Deserved Natalie Portman’s Oscar?! http://eonli.ne/oeRzbw

    Pharrell Williams Launches ‘Qream’, New Drink for Women, http://bit.ly/r9HIGm

    Katie Scholick
    Bio: Duke University, Class of 2013 Majoring in Psychology, Certificate in Markets and Management.

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