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    ‘South Sudan’

    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


    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.


    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: 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


    Thursday, April 12th, 2012

    The United States has few options for responding to a North Korean Missile Launch; war seems inevitable between Sudan and South Sudan; George Zimmerman will be tried for the death of Trayvon Martin; Amazon is making moves in the e-book department; Obama has elected not to sign an anti-discrimination bill; and Congress is trying to take on “bath salts.” Additionally, JK Rowling is set to release a new book; a French presidential candidate uses a “Watch the Throne” song in a political ad; Axl Rose will not attend his hall of fame induction; and Serbian police have found a stolen piece of art.

    Aaron + Caitlin


    Few U.S. Options as North Korea Readies Missile Launching http://nyti.ms/HDhLLx
    There is little President Obama and the United States can do as North Korea
    prepares to test launch a missile. It seems that the best option is for the
    US to downplay the significance of the test, for it’s impractical to prevent
    it. The US will, however, revoke the recent food-aid it granted to the
    totalitarian state. The reason that the US will not request sanctions on
    North Korea is that the country is already a heavily sanctioned nation, and
    the US does not want to waste its international capital dealing with China
    and Russia on North Korea when it is also dealing with Syria and Iran.

    Sudan, South Sudan mobilise as border violence intensifies http://f24.my/HBYGcB
    After South Sudan captured an oil field from Sudan yesterday, the two
    nations have started to ready for war. As a result, the African Union led
    peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan have been put on hold. After
    leaders failed to sign a treaty in Ethiopia, both sides have ramped up their
    wartime rhetoric.

    Prosecutor Files Charge of 2nd-Degree Murder in Shooting of Martin http://nyti.ms/I6gLN6
    Trayvon Martin’s family is celebrating a special prosecutor’s decision to
    charge George Zimmerman in the February shooting of the 17-year-old. The
    decision to charge Zimmerman was made by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey,
    who has downplayed any racial issue in this case.

    Post-ABC News poll shows drop in Republican support for Afghan war http://wapo.st/HCa2BA
    For the first time ever, a majority of Republicans do not think that the war
    in Afghanistan is worth fighting. This is an interesting revelation,
    considering likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney has come out in favor of
    the war. Even though Obama supported increasing troop totals in the
    beginning of his term, he has started to draw back troops and plans to turn
    Afghanistan over to local control by 2014.

    For John Edwards, isolation is a symbol of his downfall http://wapo.st/I5UFxB
    As John Edwards prepares for trial, it seems that his life is a lonely one.
    Living in the same palatial Chapel Hill estate that he built with his late
    wife Elizabeth, Edwards is persona non grata in Chapel Hill. Many old
    friends are disgusted that he cheated on Elizabeth while she was sick and
    have abandoned the former presidential hopeful. Others feel spurned, saying
    Edwards was so power hungry after his 1998 senatorial elect that he forgot
    who helped him get there.

    Obama delays ban on discrimination by U.S. contractors, disappointing gay
    rights advocates http://wapo.st/HE35M8
    President Obama did not sign a ban that would prevent federal contractors
    from discriminating based on sexual orientation. White House aides said that
    the president has planned a multi-pronged effort to urge companies not to
    discriminate, but for many gay rights advocates, that is not enough. Groups
    have been working to present this ban as widely supported and popular, but
    Obama will still not budge. Many are still holding hope that the president
    will sign the bill if he wins reelection.

    ‘Bath salt’ poisonings rise as legislative ban tied up http://usat.ly/IHXl5v
    Legislators are working to ban legal drugs marketed as bath salts or
    synthetic marijuana strains. Senator Rand Paul is holding up the passing of
    these bills as his Libertarian views require that states, and not the
    federal government, make decisions about drug laws. Poisonings from bath
    salts jumped from just over 300 in 2010 to over 6,000 in 2011, creating a
    sense in Congress that something has to be done. These substances mimic
    illicit substances like ecstasy and cocaine and have proven dangerous.

    Better tests find record concussions among U.S. troops http://usat.ly/HyYCgC
    In recent years, medical technology has improved for troops, especially in
    concussion detection. New reports show that on any given day last spring, an
    average of 16 troops suffered brain injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq. While
    increases in terrorists’ use of improvised explosive devices contribute to
    this this rise in concussions, experts say that the real reason for the
    increase is better testing.

    Death Penalty Repeal Goes to Connecticut Governor http://nyti.ms/HMFUwW
    The Connecticut House of Representatives has echoed the sentiments of the
    Connecticut State Senate, approving a bill that would end the death penalty
    in Connecticut. The Democratic governor has said she will sign the bill.
    Currently, there are 16 other states that do not have a death penalty, and 5
    different states have repealed the death penalty in the last 5 years.
    Connecticut’s bill has been in the works for over two decades. It was vetoed
    by a Republican governor in 2009; at the time a gruesome home invasion had
    just taken place and the only survivor of the incident was in favor of the
    death penalty.


    Axl Rose declines Rock Hall induction, http://usat.ly/HyiXTC

    Hollande: ‘Vote for me, N***** in Paris!,’ http://bit.ly/HJopkz

    Mel Gibson, Screenwriter Feud over Jewish Hero Movie, http://bit.ly/IYLOva

    Feud of the Day: Courtney Love vs. Dave Grohl, http://eonli.ne/HxFWt5

    Obama Says Kanye West is ‘Very Talented’ But Still a ‘Jackass,’

    Serb police find painting believed to be stolen
    Cezanne, http://fxn.ws/HCMtbO

    J.K. Rowling announces first novel for adults: ‘The Casual Vacancy,’

    Aaron Ghitelman

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


    Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

    Al Jazeera has decided to not air video of the shootings in Toulouse; Congress will not vote on a short term highway bill; the Pope is visiting Cuba; and South Sudan accuses North Sudan of bombing them. Also, Bobby Brown was set to re-marry Whitney Houston, and Mitt Romney says he enjoyed ‘The Hunger Games.’

    Aaron + Caitlin


    Al Jazeera Will Not Air French Rampage Video http://nyti.ms/GVQVuS
    Al Jazeera’s Paris bureau has video copy taken by the Toulouse gunman during his last murders. The station has announced it will not run the video, as it sheds no new light on the matter and would be in poor taste. Nicolas Sarkozy has publicly come out against any stations running film of the shootings. French prosecutors said they would allow stations to air the footage, but Al Jazeera still decided against it.

    Short-term highway funding bill scrapped http://wapo.st/GSJpWF
    House Republicans were unable to obtain the two thirds majority needed to pass their temporary highway budget. If the current highway bill lapses then the government won’t be able to collect millions in gas taxes, and many construction workers will be out of a job. John Boehner pushed a short term bill that did not get much support from Democrats. Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing to vote on the bill that already passed in the Senate and would be more of a permanent fix.

    Syria accepts U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan http://usat.ly/GTbi2K
    Both China and Syria have agreed to Kofi Annan’s peace plan in Syria. The plan calls for a temporary cease fire and political talks led by the Assad regime. The United States and many western nations have argued that Assad has lost all legitimacy and should step down. However, China feels that the situation can be worked out through talks.

    Pope Benedict XVI Visits Cuba http://abcn.ws/H8uNnA
    Cuba is going through its second Papal visit since its revolution. Pope Benedict is hoping that he can help spur change on the communist island. Although only 10% of Cubans regularly attend mass, many more Cubans view themselves as Catholics. Benedict is set to meet with Raul Castro in a meeting of octogenarians. Benedict has made comments against Marxism but will not be hypercritical of the island’s politics. He’s hoping to strike a balance and actually gain the ear of their leaders.

    Democrats release budget to compete with Ryan plan http://wapo.st/GTDwKW
    House Democrats have come out with a rival budget to the Paul Ryan plan. Written by Maryland Rep Chris Van Hollen, this budget would not touch big entitlement spending but instead, would use a mix of tax hikes on the wealthy and other budget cuts to curtail the deficit. While Ryan’s plan leaves the federal budget balanced by 2040, the Van Hollen plan doesn’t have an exact date as to when the deficit would cease to exist. Also, this budget would increase the debt even though it would slow down deficit increases.

    South Sudan accuses North of bombing oil fields http://f24.my/GVbv5Q
    South Sudan claims that Sudan bombed oil fields on their poorly demarcated border. These claims were backed by Chinese oil corporations who were doing business in the region at the time. Because of this, the President of Sudan will put his visit to the South on hold. The visit would have included a discussion regarding the two nations’ border and how to divide oil profits. Oil fields are all in the South, but the South is landlocked causing the pipes to travel through the north.

    Despite more college grads, U.S. workforce needs even more http://usat.ly/H83DbY
    More and more Americans are earning college degrees. However the rates are not occurring fast enough for the growing economy. By 2025, employers will need millions more college graduates than the amount US colleges will have produced. For the first time ever, over 30% of Americans have earned their bachelors degrees. Unfortunately, America still places 16th on the proportion of citizens with a college degree.


    PETA Backs Khloé Kardashian Odom Despite Quitting Group, Wishes She “Had More Influence” Over Kim, http://eonli.ne/Hhhuym

    Bobby Brown Planned To Re-Marry Whitney Houston In Vegas? http://bit.ly/HeDTd5

    Miley Cyrus: “I’m not engaged” to Liam Hemsworth http://cbsn.ws/HgceK3

    Mitt Romney: I liked ‘The Hunger Games’ http://politi.co/Hds35K

    Aaron Ghitelman

    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


    (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,
    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,
    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,
    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.


    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