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    News Round-Up: Friday, January 20, 2012

    Friday, January 20th, 2012

    France threatens to remove troops from Afghanistan; Iran shuts down toy stores for selling Barbie dolls; Gingrich releases his tax returns; and time to start paying for Showtime and HBO, the U.S. government has shut down Megaupload. Meanwhile, President Obama makes our “entertainment” section again this week – this time for singing Al Green at a fundraiser.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL: 

    France threatens to pull its troops out of Afghanistan early, http://usat.ly/x55oyw
    France has threatened to pull its troops out of Afghanistan after an Afghan troop killed four French NATO personnel. The deaths bring the number of French casualties in Afghanistan to 82. “The French army is not in Afghanistan so that Afghan soldiers can shoot at them,” President Sarkozy said. Afghan President Hamid Karzai will meet with Sarkozy in Paris next week. Six NATO soldiers were killed in a separate helicopter crash early this morning. Early signs indicate that they were Americans.

    Iran shuts down shops selling Barbie dolls, http://apne.ws/wct2rX
    Iran has confiscated Barbie dolls and shut down dozens of toy stores for selling them. An unnamed Iranian police official said that this marks a “new phase” in the country’s crackdown against “manifestations of Western culture.” Iran has banned the sale of Barbie dolls since the mid-1990s.

    Gingrich paid just under $1M in taxes for 2010, http://usat.ly/yvNyHC
    Gingrich kept his promise and released his tax return for 2010 during last night’s GOP debate. He paid taxes of $994,708 on an adjusted gross income of $3,142,066. On Wednesday, Gingrich said he paid an effective tax rate of 31% while Mitt Romney admitted earlier this week that he pays “closer to 15%.” Gingrich also said that if he were to debate Obama, it would be a battle of knowledge and a teleprompter. After being booed, Romney said he would release his tax returns once he’s the nominee. Ron Paul noted that he’s too embarrassed to show his numbers next to Romney and Gingrich while Santorum said his taxes are on his home computer.

    Treasure haul as N.Z. police raid Megaupload guru, http://bit.ly/wSPIGB
    Yesterday, New Zealand police raided the fortified mansion of Megaupload founder “Kim Dotcom,” who is now being accused of online piracy in one of the largest cases of of copyright theft in U.S. history.  Armed officers arrested Kim Schmitz, a 37-year-old German citizen with New Zealand and Hong Kong residency, denying him bail with three other men on Friday in a court appearance. Police seized a pink Cadillac, a sawed-off shotgun, and froze millions of dollars in cash after raiding Schmitz’s mansion. The U.S. government shut down Megaupload yesterday causing a hacking sweep of government websites.

    Senior al Qaeda figure killed in drone strike, http://reut.rs/wdbxtT
    U.S. officials said Thursday that a “senior operations organizer” for al Qaeda was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan last week. Aslam Awan was the last member of a Pakistan-based al Qaeda cell that Pakistani police have been trying to eliminate since 2008.

    Wildfire Near Reno Destroys More Than 20 Homes, http://nyti.ms/z5bt5P
    More than 10,000 people had to evacuate their homes Thursday after a brush fire became out of control in Reno, Nevada. The fire started Thursday and has already damaged several homes. 82 mph winds caused the brush fire to become fast-moving. The area had gone a record 56 days without rain before a snowfall occurred earlier this week.

    (via POLITICO) The Supreme Court has thrown out the Texas redistricting maps drawn by a San Antonio federal court. “Because it is unclear whether the District Court for the Western District of Texas followed the appropriate standards in drawing interim maps for the 2012 Texas elections, the orders implementing those maps are vacated,” the court wrote in its decision.

    CULTURAL: 

    President Obama sings Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together,’ http://usat.ly/xNdcME

    Elton John’s Husband Backtracks On Madonna Statements, http://on.mtv.com/zFAsXQ

    Lana Del Rey: ‘I Don’t Love Live Television,’ http://on.mtv.com/wUXnFP

    This year’s Sundance shorts go online, http://usat.ly/xAkgnT

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



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

    The Obama administration will require drug companies to reveal all payments to doctors; the Costa Concordia’s death toll has reached 11; and protestors in South Carolina commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. with a voting rights rally. Meanwhile, Elton John’s attacks on Madonna continue; Jay-Z will stop using the “b-word;” and Daniel Radcliffe sort of comes to Lana Del Rey’s defense.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Cruise disaster: five further bodies pulled from Costa Concordia, http://tgr.ph/w9jLH3
    Five more bodies have been found on the sunken Costa Concordia cruise ship. The death toll is now 11. Divers found the bodies while the Italian navy blasted holes in the ship in an attempt to find any survivors before a storm comes. Meanwhile, Italian newspapers have released a transcript of the coast guard speaking with with the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino. In the conversation, Schettino begs to not return to the sinking ship. The officer reportedly told Schettino “it is an order. Don’t make any more excuses.”

    U.S. to Force Drug Firms to Report Money Paid to Doctors, http://nyti.ms/wFSn3o
    As part of the new healthcare law, the Obama administration will mandate that drug companies reveal the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel, and entertainment. According to The New York Times, nearly 25% of doctors take cash payments from pharmaceutical and device companies while nearly 66% accept gifts of food.

    SC Rally Marks MLK Day With Voting Rights Message, http://bit.ly/zyIBCd
    Thousands of people commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a rally for voting rights outside of South Carolina’s capitol. Keynote speaker Eric Holder said, “The right to vote is not only the cornerstone of our governance, it is the lifeblood of our democracy. And no force has proved more powerful, or more integral to the success of the great American experiment, than efforts to expand the franchise. Let me be very, very clear – the arc of American history has bent toward the inclusion, not the exclusion, of more of our fellow citizens in the electoral process. We must ensure that this continues.”

    Mitt Romney rivals try to plant doubts about him in debatehttp://wapo.st/xPlq6h
    At last night’s debate, the GOP candidates tried to get all of their Romney jabs in before South Carolina’s upcoming primary. Although Romney was the main target, the candidates wasted no time calling each other out as well. At the debate, Gingrich said that a vote for Santorum was a vote for Romney and teased him about losing Pennsylvania’s senatorial race. Santorum then highlighted Gingrich’s losses in Iowa and New Hampshire. Everyone, including the candidates and audience, attacked Ron Paul after he criticized the killing of Osama bin Laden. Currently, Romney has a 2-1 lead over Gingrich and Paul.

    (via POLITICO Morning Tech) SOPA/PIPA CHANGES COMING: With public sentiment on the bill shifting in recent weeks and an implicit veto threat now emerging from the White House, congressional staffers are resigning themselves to writing replacement language or possibly entirely new bills, Reuters reports. http://reut.rs/ydGck

    Dave Heller says, “Fox News’ John Stossel is Wrong About Millennial Voters: Young People Are Vital in 2012,” http://bit.ly/xzIvU6

    CULTURAL:

    David Furnish: Madonna Win Was A Fix, http://bit.ly/wKSKGq

    Iran cautious over Golden Globe film “A Separation,” http://reut.rs/w32EAl

    ‘No man will degrade her’: Rapper Jay-Z vows to stop using the word ‘b***h’ following birth of daughter Blue Ivy, http://bit.ly/zPKqrl

    Daniel Radcliffe: Lana Del Rey Wasn’t THAT Bad on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ http://bit.ly/w6u1qw

    Nick Cannon back at work, talks health with Howard Stern, http://usat.ly/ycqUWH

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

    Bombings kill at least 63 in Baghdad; the French government has ordered at least 30,000 women to remove defective breast implants; Romney says he would deport Obama’s uncle; Ron Paul walks out of a CNN interview; Budapest unveils its Steve Jobs statue; and a UVM analysis of Twitter says global happiness is down… so cheer up!; Meanwhile, Kris Humphries is the NBA’s least popular player, and the best Christmas movies ever have been named.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Explosions Rock Baghdad Amid Iraqi Political Crisis, http://nyti.ms/uAAy42
    At least 63 people died in Baghdad yesterday after a dozen bombs went off at rush hour. It’s Iraq’s first major violent act since American troops were withdrawn from the country earlier this week. Iraq has recently shown other troubling signs of instability; specifically, Prime Minister Nuri-al Maliki arrested a Sunni leader and has also threatened to abandon the country’s power-sharing government. No one has taken responsibility for yesterday’s bombings, although they are similar to Al Qaeda’s previous attacks in Iraq.

    French government ‘to order women to remove defective breast implants, http://bit.ly/tHy79s
    This week the French government will order thousands of women to remove defective silicon breast implants. The mandate comes after a French company was shut down last year for making implants with cheap silicon usually reserved for electronics.  At that time, 30,000 French and 40,000 British women had already received implants with this silicon. The bad implants have a high chance of rupturing, and French officials announced this week that at least eight women who received them had developed breast cancer; although, no connection between the silicon and cancer has been proven. At least 2,000 French women have filed police complaints and another 250 British women are suing the clinics that performed the plastic surgery.

    Romney Says He’d Deport Obama’s Uncle, http://bit.ly/tIr2ot
    On a Boston radio show, Romney was asked if he would deport Obama’s uncle, who currently has a case pending in Massachusetts. The candidate responded that he would deport Obama’s father’s half-brother, a Kenyan, who has been detained on charges of not following a mandated order to return to Kenya after being pulled over for drunk driving in August. Romney added that deportation laws need to be enforced better.

    Rep. Ron Paul Gets Irked By Newsletter Questions, Walks Out Of CNN Interview, http://bit.ly/vbzMxE
    Despite Ron Paul supporters complaining that the GOP candidate does not receive enough press, Paul decided to walk out of a CNN interview with Gloria Borger yesterday. The candidate said he was sick of being “pestered” by the media about racist newsletters sent in his name in the 1990s. When Borger asked Paul if he ever actually read the newsletters, he responded, “Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20 something years… I didn’t write them, I disavow them.” The usually even-tempered Congressman took off his mic and walked off the stage when Borger then asked about the almost one million dollars he made off of the newsletters. Borger later responded, “He thinks it’s been asked and answered…it’s clearly a question he’d rather not be asked.”

    (via POLITICO Morning Tech) GLOBAL HAPPINESS IS DOWN: That’s according to a team of mathematicians from the University of Vermont that analyzed 4.6 billion Twitter messages, USA Today reports. http://usat.ly/vD1NaI

    (via POLITICO Morning Tech) STEVE JOBS STATUE UNVEILED IN BUDAPEST: The first statue of Apple’s iconic co-founder is 6 1/2 feet tall and depicts Jobs in his trademark attire, the L.A. Times reports. http://lat.ms/uhaWVD

    CULTURAL:

    Humphries voted NBA’s most disliked player, http://nyp.st/vAQGzT

    Adam Lambert Arrested After Fighting BF in Finland, http://bit.ly/ur5oVq

    Kardashians to sue over slave labor allegation, http://bit.ly/u0aq84

    Alec Baldwin Rules Out NYC Mayoral Run, Cites Lack of Hornyness, http://reut.rs/sFDctd

    Merry Christmas! The best Christmas movies ever, http://nydn.us/ss98Xc

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



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

    The U.S. is in the dark about North Korea; Kim Jong-il’s body is currently on public display; China has recognized Kim Jong-un as North Korea’s new leader; Gingrich is losing his lead; and Apple has a small victory over Google. Meanwhile, toxic mold may have killed Brittany Murphy; Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia call off their engagement; and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ trailer has been released.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Death of Kim Jong Il has U.S. waiting and worrying, http://wapo.st/solGRC
    With Kim Jong-il’s death, the U.S. finds itself in a blackout of information from North Korea. As mourning for the leader may take weeks or months, the U.S. and the rest of the world is forced to wait and see what the country’s next move will be. An administration official has told The Washington Post that it was “scary how little” the U.S. knew about Kim Jong-il’s death; it took two days for South Korean and American intelligence to even find out that the dictator had died.

    North Korea leader lies in state, http://bbc.in/sjGOMB
    Kim Jong-il’s corpse has been put on display in North Korea before the leader’s December 28th funeral. Korean State TV has shown the corpse underneath a red blanket, surrounded by red flowers, and flanked by two guards. The mausoleum Kim’s body has been placed in is the same one that has displayed his father’s body since 1994. It’s uncertain whether Kim’s body will remain on public display after the funeral.

    China Recognizes Kim Jong Un as North Korea’s Next Leader, http://bit.ly/uEk6RQ
    China has formally recognized Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, as the new leader of North Korea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin stated that the Chinese government believes that North Korea will continue to support the ruling Workers’ Party and “Comrade Kim Jong-un.” Weimin said he doesn’t know if Kim Jong-un will visit China, but that he is welcome any time. Meanwhile, South Korea showed little sign of caring about Kim Jong-il’s death.

    CNN Poll: Gingrich lead gone, dead even with Romney, http://bit.ly/vDbBJF
    According to two new national polls, Gingrich has lost his lead and is now dead even with Romney. CNN has Gingrich and Romney tied 28-28, while Gallup has Gingrich two points ahead of the governor. In November, Gallup showed Gingrich with a 14 point-lead. Ron Paul is in third place in both polls.

    U.S. Backs Apple in Patent Ruling That Hits Google, http://nyti.ms/vs0J6u
    Steve Jobs would be proud. The federal trade agency ruled that HTC infringed on Apple’s patent of “data tapping,” which allows users to make calls from a phone number found in an e-mail or text message. While this is a small victory for Apple, it may be a sign of things to come in other smartphone patent wars. In a statement, Apple said “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

    House Republicans intent on killing Senate payroll tax cut deal, http://wapo.st/v3xnN0
    In a closed-door meeting yesterday, House Republicans allegedly referred to themselves as the Scots in Braveheart as they vowed to defeat a payroll-tax extension. Whether this is true or not, they have delayed the vote until today with House Speaker John Boehner predicting its defeat. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the Senate will not allow for further talks after they passed the extension 89-10. Without an extension, the payroll tax will increase from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent starting January 1. This increase will raise taxes by $1,000 for the average American family.

    Ron Paul back on top in Iowa, new poll says, http://bit.ly/u6KMZQ
    The Public Policy Polling report that has Ron Paul leading in Iowa reports that his surge is due to youth support. Among voters under the age of 45, Paul has 33% of the group’s support while Romney has 16%. “Young people and non-Republicans are an unusual coalition to hang your hat on in Iowa, and it will be interesting to see if Paul can actually pull it off,” says the Public Policy Polling report.

    CULTURAL:

    Shocking New Brittany Murphy Claim Says Toxic Mold May Have Killed Star, http://bit.ly/sDVUHs

    ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Trailer: Some Burning Questions, http://on.mtv.com/thDL23

    Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia call it quits, http://bit.ly/sdEC1

    CNN’s Morgan won’t name McCartney voicemail source, http://usat.ly/uO9kPs

    Little-known actress Rooney Mara is about to get famous, http://bit.ly/vSvrjP

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



    News Round-Up: Monday, December 19, 2011

    Monday, December 19th, 2011

    North Koreans begin a national mourning period for the death of Kim Jong-il; Kim’s son, Kim Jong-un, will take over for his father despite rumored turmoil; Ron Paul currently leads in Iowa; Romney continues to receive income from Bain Capital; and Apple is planning its TV takeover. Meanwhile, MTV announces its “Power 12″ election campaign, and the third engagement is a charm for Britney Spears.

    CRUCIAL:

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-il dies ‘of heart attack,’ http://goo.gl/m8ssu
    North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il died Saturday of a heart attack. Kim, who suffered the heart attack while riding a train, had been in power for 17 years. The news was made public on Monday when a woman wearing black announced it on Korean state television. When the news broke, people began crying in the streets of Pyongyang. Kim’s funeral will be held December 28, and the period of national mourning will end December 29. His body will be in a mausoleum where his father Kim Il-sung’s corpse is on public display. Kim’s official North Korean obituary paints a different picture than those of other publications, making statements like “He turned the DPRK into an invincible political and ideological power in which single-minded unity has been achieved.”

    Kim Jong-il, North Korean Dictator, Dies, Kim Jong-un Takes Over, http://goo.gl/xc7Qi
    Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s third son, will take over for his late father as leader of North Korea. Not much is known about about Kim, including his age; although, it’s rumored that he is in his 20s. Kim was briefly educated in Sweden, and his father began grooming him for a take-over last year. According to the New York Times, some intelligence believes he planned two attacks on South Korea last year in order to prove himself as a leader. Korean state television is now proclaiming him “the great successor” and is telling the Korean people to “faithfully revere respectable comrade Kim Jong-un.” Considering the two days between Kim Jong-il’s death and its announcement, some believe Kim will just serve as a figurehead of the party due to leadership struggles behind the scenes.

    Pa. voter ID bill undergoes changes, http://goo.gl/9xyRC
    In response to complaints that Pennsylvania’s new voter ID bill disenfranchises young people and the elderly, the PA State Senate Government Committee has added an addendum that allows identification issued by colleges and nursing homes to be valid at the polls. Also, voters without proper ID will be able to cast a provisional ballot that will be valid if they send in a copy of their ID via fax, mail or in person within six days of casting the ballot.

    Paul Leads in Iowa, http://goo.gl/iPk9o
    According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, Ron Paul is leading in Iowa with 23%. Mitt Romney trails behind him with 20%, and Newt Gingrich is in third with 14%. In fact, Newt Gingrich has dropped 13% in two weeks. Iowa voters say they favor Ron Paul because he has campaigned the hardest in the state. He even leads Romney 26-5 percent with voters who say it’s “very important” that a candidate spends a great deal of time in the state.

    Buyout Profits Keep Flowing to Romney, http://goo.gl/NoEsf
    Even though Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, he is still receiving millions of dollars a year from the company. Apparently before he left, Romney negotiated a very lucrative retirement package that enables him to receive profits from all of Bain’s deals. Romney’s opponents may attack the candidate for profitting from layoffs, such as the massive firings Bain made after acquiring KB Toys. His retirement package has also been taxed at 15% instead of the 35% for ordinary income.

    Apple Plots Its TV Assault, http://goo.gl/iNu50
    Apple executives have been meeting with media executives to discuss the future of television at Apple’s hand. Potential technology includes an Apple TV set that provides shows and movies through wireless streaming. Viewers may also be able to pause their shows and movies and resume watching them on their iPhones or iPads, which would also serve as remote controls. One person from the meetings says a Siri component may also be possible as discussions have included voice and gesture commands for controlling the TV.

    Exclusive: Secret U.S., Taliban talks reach turning point, http://goo.gl/12JH9
    Reuters is reporting that secret discussions between the U.S. and Taliban “have reached a critical juncture.” The U.S. is considering transferring Guantanamo Bay inmates into Afghan custody in exchange for the Taliban’s denouncement of international terrorism and their entering of peace talks with Afghanistan. Reuters is still reporting that a diplomatic breakthrough “is a longshot.”

    CULTURAL:

    For Election Year, MTV Drops ‘Choose or Lose’ Slogan, http://goo.gl/3KS39

    “Dancing With The Stars” winner J.R. Martinez to be a dad, http://goo.gl/qyNx5

    Will Britney Spears’ Third Marriage Be Her Best Yet?! Source: “You Can’t Even Compare the Chances!,”http://goo.gl/yomJZ

    Daniel Craig is offered deal to play James Bond five more times, http://goo.gl/xNEPi

    Paul McCartney to release album of covers, two new songs, http://goo.gl/Kykkj

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