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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

    Hundreds are announced dead in South Sudan violence; two people have won the Mega Millions jackpot; and a retired Microsoft executive is set to oversee healthcare.gov. Meanwhile, Christina and Gaga perform together as The Voice crowns a new champion (spoiler alert!); Pippa Middleton is engaged (sorry guys!); and Jonah Hill talks about working with DiCaprio inThe Wolf of Wall Street.



    Jackpot grows: Two winners to split $648Mhttp://rtvote.com/1bQc2l7
    Well it looks like the hope of winning the big bucks are over for most of us. Two winners have been identified: one in San Jose, California and one in Atlanta, Georgia. The winners will be splitting the second-largest jackpot of all time with the odds of winning at 1 in 259 million. The Virginia Lottery Executive Director said that this 22-drawing run generated more than $300 million in profits for programs in the states that participate. In case you missed the numbers, here they are: 8, 20, 14, 17, 39 and 7 (Mega Ball).

    Kurt DelBene, former Microsoft executive, will take over HealthCare.gov,http://rtvote.com/1fENQ6S
    President Obama continues to seek advice from high-tech executives in response to the rocky roll-out of healthcare.gov. The administration announced Tuesday that Kurt DelBene who recently retired from Microsoft, will serve as an unpaid senior advisor on the website. This is a response to the concerns of several lawmakers that the administration needed outside experts in order to overcome the difficulties of the launch. Many people have given a positive endorsement of DelBene, including Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.

    UN Told up to 500 killed in South Sudan clashes: diplomats, http://rtvote.com/1eowHkI
    For the second day in a row, violence has rippled through South Sudan. Local sources and diplomats reported an estimate of 800 wounded and 400-500 killed, though the numbers have not been officially confirmed. The government in the capitol of Juba announced that they captured 10 major political figures and are searching for its former vice president who they believe led this failed coup. Despite its rich oil reserves, South Sudan remains one of the poorest & least developed countries in Africa. The U.S. is urging its citizens to leave the country and will proceed to suspend normal operations at the embassy.

    Senate Asks C.I.A. to Share Its Report on Interrogationshttp://rtvote.com/19SRe9i
    The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested one of the C.I.A.’s internal studies regarding U.S. interrogations. Last year, the C.I.A. completed a report about the interrogation program that was one of the most controversial policies of the post-Septemer 11th era. The Senate report totaled more than 6,000 pages and has yet to be declassified. Those who have read the study disclose that the report does not hold back on criticism of the now-defunct interrogation program whose brutal methods led to little valuable intelligence.

    Obama, Biden, Top U.S. Officials To Stay Away From Sochi Olympics,http://rtvote.com/18RsvlI
    The 2014 Winter Olympics games will be held in Sochi, Russia, but with no representation from top United States officials. Instead, a former federal official, Janet Napolitano will be leading the U.S. delegation, along with two LGBT athletes—Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow. This announcement comes just two months before the opening ceremony and is a signal of U.S. disagreement with Russia’s anti-LGBT laws among other human rights concerns.


    Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco Welcomes a Baby Boy, http://rtvote.com/1cbn4nK

    Pippa Middleton Engaged to Boyfriend Nico Jackson, http://rtvote.com/19SDHPl

    Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga Perform on The Voice, Effectively Putting Feud Rumors to Rest,http://rtvote.com/1fmOsgw

    Jonah Hill Talks Making Leonardo DiCaprio Throw Up and Why Loving Leo Made The Wolf of Wall Street Better, http://rtvote.com/1i1u8ph

    The 9 Brand New Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, http://rtvote.com/1i1uCvy

    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: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

    Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

    Thieves get away with $67 million in diamonds after a heist at Brussels International Airport; Oscar Pistorius claims he shot his girlfriend after believing her to be an intruder; Newtown shooter Adam Lanza may have been motivated by Anders Breivik; the death toll rises from a helicopter crash in Yemen; SCOTUS will hear a new campaign-finance challenge; and a Chinese army unit may be responsible for cyber-attacks on the U.S. Meanwhile, Pippa Middleton has a new boyfriend, and Michelle Obama calls her bangs a “midlife crisis.”



    Diamond heist at Brussels airport nets gang up to £30m in gems, http://rtvote.com/15siMCX
    On Monday evening, eight masked and armed men drove through a fence at Brussels International Airport and held up an armored van that was holding $67 million in diamonds. The diamonds were about to be loaded onto a plane leaving for Switzerland. The men did not shoot off their guns and made their getaway in two separate vehicles, one of which was found burned near the airport.

    Prosecutors have charged Olympian Oscar Pistorious with premeditated murder after his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was found shot dead in his home. Pistorious claims that he believed Steenkamp to be an intruder, and that he shot her through his bathroom door multiple times because he felt vulnerable without his prosthetic legs on. The prosecutors’ main evidence is a bloody cricket bat that was also found in the runner’s home. Pistorious claims that he bashed the locked door in with the bat and then ran downstairs with Steenkamp in his arms. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has responded to the argument that “It was all part of the preplanning. Why would a burglar lock himself inside the bathroom?” Pistorious wept during his hearing on Tuesday.

    Newtown shooter motivated by Norway massacre, sources say, 
    Law enforcement officials have told CBS that Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who killed teachers and students in Newtown, CT before turning the gun on himself, was trying to kill more people than Norway’s Anders Breivik. Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, setting off a bomb in downtown Oslo before killing 69 at a summer camp. Allegedly, Lanza chose Sandy Hook Elementary because it was the “easiest target” with the “largest cluster of people.” Officials also found evidence that Lanza was carrying out fantasies he conjured from videogames. A police spokesman has responded that Lanza’s motives are still “mere speculation” at this point.

    Deadly military aircraft crash in Yemen, http://rtvote.com/Vtzdux
    A military helicopter crashed into “Change Square” in the Yemeni capital of Sana Tuesday, killing five and injuring at least dozens. The pilot and seven passengers were killed immediately. The death toll will likely increase as fire and black smoke were left in the crash’s wake. “Change Square” is a residential area with many shops. A witness reportedly saw two houses completely destroyed on impact.

    Justices to Hear Campaign-Finance Challenge, http://rtvote.com/XmKDhj
    The Supreme Court will hear a case that asserts limits on campaign donations violate the First Amendment. Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon is challenging the rule. Currently, individual donors can contribute up to $46,200 to political candidates and $70,800 to political committees. A Washington federal court has already rejected McCutcheon’s challenge, but the Supreme Court will make its ruling on it before July 2014.

    Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S., http://rtvote.com/15sjzno
    An investigation by security firm Mandiant has found that many of the cyber attacks on American corporations and government agencies have been carried out by a Chinese group called the People’s Liberation Army. The group used to focus on stealing intellectual property, but has moved on to trying to hack important infrastructure, such as a U.S. company that designs software for oil pipelines and power grids.

    Russians Wade Into the Snow to Seek Treasure From the Sky, http://rtvote.com/Vtxgya
    Citizens of Deputatskoye, the small Siberian town where a meteorite hit last Friday, have ventured out into the snow to collect rock fragments. Although selling meteorite fragments is illegal, one woman told The New York Times that she sold a fist-sized piece for $230, only to be offered $1,300 for it a few hours later.


    A detailed look from White House photographer Pete Souza at Barack Obama, Copy Editor in Chief,http://rtvote.com/VtxAwY

    Nudes check out nudes at Austrian museum, http://rtvote.com/15sl4ly

    ‘Flipper’ and ‘Lassie’ Hollywood animal trainer-turned activist Pat Derby dies in California, http://rtvote.com/Vty9a4

    Pippa Middleton: new boyfriend’s mother says couple ‘very happy’, http://rtvote.com/YwXej0

    Michelle Obama: My Bangs Were a ‘Midlife Crisis!’, http://rtvote.com/VtAzph

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

    News Round-Up: Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

    A Russian plane has disappeared in Indonesia; North Carolina voters pass Amendment One; Senate Republicans block the Democratic student loan bill; a prison inmate captures 40% of the West Virginia Democratic primary vote; Senator Lugar is defeated in Indiana’s GOP primary; and a doctor in Houston live tweets brain surgery. Meanwhile, Pippa Middleton will be moving to NYC; Tom Gabel of Against Me! comes out as transgender; two male masseurs have accused John Travolta of sexual assault; and Delta pulls its ads from “The Daily Show.”



    Qaeda bomber adept at breaching aviation security, http://reut.rs/KLZfQL
    Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, formerly one of the most dangerous militants in al Qaeda, has been arrested after making a non-metallic underwear bomb that could pass through airport security undetected. Asiri, who survived a drone attack last year, created the bomb for an attack that was supposed to take place on the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. The plot was foiled after Asiri handed the bomb over to a CIA double-agent posing as the would-be bomber.

    Syriza’s Tsipras to meet Greece’s pro-bailout parties, http://bbc.in/Km7YM5
    Alex Tspiras, Greece’s far-left leader who is responsible for forming the country’s government, has said that although he finds the EU’s bailout terms “barbaric,” he will still meet with pro-bailout parties Wednesday. If the two sides cannot negotiate terms then Greece may have new elections in a few weeks. Tspiras has said that he would consider refusing the EU’s bailout in order to avoid its austerity regulations. In response, Germany stated that if Greece refuses the bailout then it will receive absolutely no aid. Tspiras has received support from Greece’s small left-wing party, the Democratic Left, as well as the country’s center-right party.

    (via CNN) Russian plane disappears in demonstration flight in Indonesia, http://bit.ly/Jx2Dj7 
    Russia’s newest civilian airliner disappeared Wednesday from radar screens during a half-hour demonstration flight in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, state-run RIA Novosti news service reported. There were 44 passengers on board. The plane went missing at about 2 p.m. in the area of Bogor, West Java, Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan told Metro TV. The pilots requested permission to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet, air traffic controllers said. After that, all radio contact was lost. The plane began making its descent but vanished from radar screens at 6,200 feet in a mountainous area. By the time the plane was due to return it should have burned up its fuel, RIA Novosti said.

    Obama ‘disappointed’ over N.C. marriage ban, http://politi.co/KaD6zV
    President Obama issued a statement saying that he was “disappointed” in North Carolina voters’ decision to pass an amendment to their state’s constitution that would only legally recognize a marriage between a man and a woman. Amendment One passed 61% to 39% after a heavy outpouring of religious voters and support from Billy Graham. The vote saw North Carolina’s largest primary turnout in years. Gay-rights groups will protest the law starting today, and same-sex couples will seek marriage licenses in Wilson and Durham before the law goes into effect in January 2013. Two protestors were arrested in Asheville last night.

    (via Reuters) US Senate Republicans block Democratic student loan bill, http://reut.rs/JeqHrX
    U.S. Senate Republicans blocked on Tuesday a White House-backed bill that would end a tax break for the wealthy in order to pay for an extension of low-interest loan rates for federal student loans. On a mostly party-line vote of 52-45, Democratic backers of the measure fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to clear a Republican procedural roadblock. Regardless, both sides are expected to reach a compromise to prevent a doubling on July 1 of the 3.4 percent interest rate on undergraduate Stafford loans for more than 7 million students.

    A Texas prison inmate gets votes in Democratic primary in West Virginia, http://wapo.st/JZkFwQ
    President Obama lost about 40% of the vote in West Virginia’s Democratic Primary yesterday. The votes went to a prison inmate, Keith Judd, who is incarcerated for making threats at the University of New Mexico over a decade ago. Judd paid $2,500 and filled out a form to get on the state’s ballot, although a Democratic Party spokeswoman says he does not a have a delegate for the Democratic National Convention. Meanwhile, Obama lost 18% of the vote in Oklahoma to Randall Terry, an anti-abortion activist.

    (via The New York Times) Before Primary Win, Mourdock Sought to Block Chrysler’s Bailout, http://nyti.ms/IIEC7m
    Richard Mourdock set the political world abuzz late on Tuesday when he defeated the incumbent Senator Richard G. Lugar in Indiana’s Republican primary, reflecting the power of his conservative and Tea Party backers by ousting a fixture of the Senate…. Mr. Mourdock [is known] for his most notable endeavor in his tenure as Indiana state treasurer: unsuccessfully trying to block Chrysler‘s government-sponsored bankruptcy in the summer of 2009. Such was the fervor of his case that he took his fight all the way to the steps of the Supreme Court.

    Houston Hospital to Live Tweet Brain Surgery, http://bit.ly/Jf67Hz
    Houston neurosurgeon Dr. Dong Kim is live tweeting a brain surgery today starting at 8:30 am. A colleague of Kim’s will live tweet from the operating room, a video camera will  take overview shots, and a photographer will be taking pictures. Kim is removing a tumor from a 21-year-old patient who experiences seizures. He is live tweeting as part of a teaching experience. The photos and information can be found on Twitter, YouTube, TwitPic, CoverItLive, and Pinterest.


    Delta pulls ‘Daily Show’ ads over ‘vagina manger’ skit, http://bit.ly/KaGL0G

    Tom Gabel of Against Me! Comes Out as Transgender, http://bit.ly/Lcx1AF

    Pippa Planning New York Move, http://bit.ly/JfDhW2

    Lawyer for John Travolta Accusers — More Masseurs Will Sue, http://bit.ly/IQeOd9

    Brad Pitt Is the New Face of Chanel No. 5, http://bit.ly/IQf5gg

    ‘The Voice’ champion checks in the morning after winning, http://usat.ly/IY31fa

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

    News Round-Up: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

    Anders Behring Breivik says he would carry out his Norway massacre again; Afghan schoolgirls are poisoned in an attack on female education; Rick Santorum refuses to endorse Mitt Romney; and Ann Romney says their dog loved riding on the roof of the car. Meanwhile, lover of zoos, Newt Gingrich, has been bitten by a penguin; the Tupac hologram may go on tour; and Jason Mraz is out with a new album.



    Defiant Breivik ‘would carry out massacre again,’ http://bbc.in/HKl6GQ
    Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man accused of killing 77 people in a rampage last year, spoke defiantly in court yesterday. He stated “I have carried out the most spectacular and sophisticated attack on Europe since World War II.” Breivik went on to defend his actions noting, “These acts are based on goodness, not evil.”  He also added that he would carry out his crimes again, and that he was toning down his statements out of respect to the victims. The court will decide whether Breivik is criminally insane or not. There have already been two different rulings regarding his sanity. If Breivik is found sane and guilty, he could face at least 21 years in prison.

    Afghan schoolgirls poisoned in anti-education attack, http://reut.rs/HUS3lK
    Officials say they are 100 percent sure that 150 Afghan schoolgirls were deliberately poisoned in an attack on female education. The girls suffered from headaches and vomiting, and some have been hospitalized in critical condition.

    (via Journal Sentinel) Supreme Court refuses to take up voter ID cases, http://bit.ly/HNtA59
    [Wisconsin] Supreme Court refused Monday to immediately take up a pair of cases that struck down the state’s new voter ID law, a decision that will likely mean citizens won’t have to show identification when they cast ballots in recall elections in May and June. The court’s terse orders send the cases back to two different appeals panels, though the cases could eventually return to the Supreme Court.

    Rick Santorum declines to endorse Mitt Romney, http://lat.ms/HPZGNh
    On a conference call with supporters last night, Rick Santorum did not take the opportunity to endorse Mitt Romney. “As far as you vote, that’s up to you,” he said. “I haven’t supported any candidate at this point, so that’s really up to you.” The thousands of people that called in were asked to push “0″ in order to help pay off the debt Santorum incurred during his campaign.

    Dog Seamus ‘Loved’ Trips Atop Family Car, Says Ann Romney, http://abcn.ws/IVWoHh
    In an interview with Mitt and Ann Romney, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked about the family strapping their dog, Seamus, to the roof of their car in his carrier. Ann responded that she didn’t know what the fuss was about, “The dog loved it. He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation.” Mitt added that the criticism he has received about Seamus is the most “wounding” yet on his campaign.

    (via LA Times) Space shuttle Discovery flies over D.C. to cheers — and warnings, http://lat.ms/HPseHM
    It was an extraordinary sight, even for Washington — a space shuttle flying over the nation’s capital atop a modified 747 on the way to its permanent new home, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Crowds gathered on the National Mall, office workers peered out windows and motorists pulled to the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the retired Discovery orbiter, which made a sweep of the capital region, over the monuments, before landing at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia.

    More military personnel might have been involved in misconduct before Obama’s trip, http://wapo.st/HQ4TCd
    Twenty Secret Service agents may have been involved in the prostitution scandal from President Obama’s trip to Colombia. At least two of the twenty are senior officials. Eleven Secret Service agents have already been put on leave due to the misconduct, and a first review of the hotel’s security cameras show that nine military personnel may have also entertained prostitutes. According to ABC News, Secret Service agents partied at Prey Club in Cartagena where they were heard bragging that they “work for Obama” and that “we’re here to protect him.”


    Pippa Middleton pictured at lavish Paris fancy dress party hours before ‘gun incident,’ http://tgr.ph/IEx2ZX

    Newt nipped by zoo penguin, gets Band-Aid, http://reut.rs/ILFY59

    Tupac Hologram to tour?, http://bit.ly/IWmbzj

    Book world expresses disappointment, outrage over Pulitzer snub, http://bit.ly/HQoBPV

    Jason Mraz Talks “Love Is a Four Letter Word,” http://bit.ly/J50QF7

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


    Monday, April 16th, 2012

    In today’s news, Anders Breivik admits to killing 77 people, but claims self-defense; Obama’s campaign hauled in $53 million during the month of March; Dole recalls bagged salad mix in 15 states after random samples tested positive for salmonella; George Zimmerman’s attorneys fear negative jury bias as the trial gets starts; and the Taliban wreaks havoc in Kabul over the weekend. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are officially engaged; Hillary Clinton parties in Colombia; and the federal government is looking to retry Roger Clemens.

    Kelly H. + Caitlin


    Norway killer admits massacre, claims self-defense, http://bit.ly/HYUHIp
    Anders Behring Breivik has admitted to a bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway last year. However, he has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, claiming he acted in self-defense. Breivik’s court appearance disturbed spectators as he flashed salutes, smiles and shook hands with prosecutors and court officials. Breivik also stated that he does not recognize Norwegian courts or their authority to charge him, saying, “I don’t recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism.” Eight people were killed as a result of Breivik’s bombing and 69 were killed in his shooting massacre. The center issue at the court hearings is determining if Breivik’s mental health should require him to go to prison or a psychiatric hospital.

    Tough for Zimmerman to get fair trial, defense attorneys say, http://on.msnbc.com/INZ1gt
    Defense attorneys working for George Zimmerman are saying that a fair trial is looking less possible. Citing the pressure for his arrest and public outcry, including a petition with two million signatures calling for his prosecution, the defense team is claiming the emotional state surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin is too volatile to conduct a fair trial. They specifically said that finding a jury of peers who have not already made an opinion about Zimmerman’s guilty or innocence will be especially difficult. Zimmerman is expected to take the stand and tell his side of the story in this case. But it is possible that if a judge rules Zimmerman’s action qualified under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Zimmerman may be granted immunity from prosecution.

    Afghan-led forces beat back brazen Taliban attack, http://yhoo.it/IS2RAw
    An 18-hour Taliban attack on the Afghan capital has ended after insurgents were overcome by heavy gunfire from Afghan-led forces and air assaults from U.S.-led helicopters. At least one police office and 17 militants were killed in the various attacks in Kabul and three other eastern cities. The attacks are cause for concern that the Taliban is not defeated and has found security weaknesses in Afghanistan. International combat troops, including U.S. and NATO forces are scheduled to leave by the end of 2014. The Taliban attacks targeted embassies, government buildings and NATO bases, becoming the most widespread attack in the Afghan capital since an assault on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters last September blamed on the Haqqani network.

    Dole recalls bagged salad in 15 states for salmonella, http://usat.ly/HHzn7a
    756 cases of Dole bagged salad have been recalled because of possible salmonella contamination. The Seven Lettuces salad bags are stamped with a use-by date of April 11, 2011 and list the UPC code 71430 01057, and product codes 0577N089112A and 0577N089112B. The salads were distributed in several states, including Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. No illnesses have been reported. The bags were recalled after a random sample tested positive for salmonella.

    (via PennPIRG.org) Vast Majority of PA College IDs Not Valid for Voting: A recent study released today by PennPIRG and a broad coalition of voter protection groups found that Pennsylvania’s new photo ID voting law could potentially disenfranchise more than 80% of the state’s college students. While the law states that it will allow college IDs as a valid form of voting ID, it also includes language requiring that all IDs must have expiration dates, which the study found very few colleges in the state actually print on their issued IDs. Out of the 110 surveyed colleges and universities only 15 schools have student identification cards for all students that meet the requirements of having a photo, name and expiration date on the card. This discrepancy between how colleges print their IDs and what the state legislature passed into law means that more than 80% of Pennsylvania’s 700,000 college students will not be able to use their college ID to vote on Election Day this fall, http://bit.ly/HM1bvS

    Obama campaign, Democrats raised $53 million in March, http://lat.ms/HZlEZd
    President Obama’s campaign announced that fundraising efforts hauled in $53 million in March. The campaign is also reporting that 190,000 of March’s 567,000 donors were first-time supporters. Obama started fundraising for his campaign a year ago and March’s figure  is halfway to Obama’s goal. Campaign staff said that they expect to see previous donors give more now that the 2012 race is focused on Mitt Romney. No GOP Presidential candidate has released March fundraising numbers yet.


    Howard Stern Takes Shot at Kim Kardashian: ‘Stop The Nonsense,’ http://bit.ly/HMcs09

    Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Engaged, http://fcnews.tv/HN3Cxm

    Shock as Pippa Middleton pal points pistol in crazy car stunt, http://bit.ly/HJhl9K

    Hillary Clinton in Colombia dances, drinks beer (Photos), http://wapo.st/HJ04xr

    Feds bulk up to retry Clemens over drug claims, http://cbsn.ws/HLXjv8

    Kelly Holleran

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