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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

    Tensions between Ukraine, Russia, and Western powers continue to escalate; a NJ student suing her parents loses first court battle; Pope Francis says that he could potentially accept civil unions; and a 10-year-old boy is suspended after pointing his fingers in the shape of a gun. Meanwhile, John Travolta speaks out about his Idina Menzel flub on Oscar Night; an emoji version of “Drunk in Love” is taking over the web; and you can see the Oscar selfie that broke Twitter and has the Twitter record for the most retweets ever! 

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Ukraine crisis: Western leaders pile pressure on Russia: http://rtvote.com/1ga99e8
    Western governmental powers have begun to threaten Russia with sanctions if their military presence in Ukraine does not decrease. In retaliation, Russia has begun drafting a law that “would allow Russia to confiscate assets belonging to the U.S. and European companies if sanctions are slapped on Moscow.” The European Union will meet Thursday in Brussels, and US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian equivalent to Kerry’s position, in Paris. This conflict stems from the removal of the Russian-allied government and the increase in tension in the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine, where a heavy Russian population resides.

    Student’s lawsuit against parents for support loses first round in court: http://rtvote.com/1lyMnEg
    18-year-old New Jersey resident Rachel Canning made news this week for suing her own parents to make them pay for varying expenses: her final semester at her private high school, her living expenses, her legal fees, and her college tuition. Canning says her parents forced her out of her home and made her live on her own and was subject to mental and physical abuse, while her parents say she left of her own accord because she “didn’t want to obey their rules.” A judge refused to hear the request of payment for both the high school and living expenses, but in April, another hearing will be held for other issues presented in the lawsuit.

    Ohio student points finger like gun, is suspended: http://rtvote.com/1fHONbj
    A 10-year-old boy who pointed his finger like a gun and pointed it at another student’s head was suspended by his principal. The other student didn’t see it, but a teacher did and reported it to the school’s administration. The boy, who said he was “just playing around,” had been warned before by the school, Devonshire Alternative Elementary, about pretending to play with guns, as have all the other students; they were also told of potential consequences if they were caught participating in this behavior. 

    Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions: http://rtvote.com/1hMh1X0
    On Wednesday, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage (“marriage is between a man and a woman”), but also hinted at the possible acceptance of civil unions. Pope Francis is the first Pope to even hint at an acceptance of civil unions and is one of the most “gay-friendly” popes in history. Possible changes to the church regarding the women’s role and the contraception ban could also be in the works as the Pope’s first year comes to a close.

    Three children pulled to safety after woman drives van into ocean: http://rtvote.com/1kyfwiB
    A pregnant South Carolina woman, driving a minivan with three children inside, drove into the ocean in Florida. Rescuers said that they heard the children screaming that their mother was trying to kill them. People worked frantically to remove the children and the mother from the waterlogged vehicle. The children, aged 3, 9, and 10, were carried to shore and examined at a hospital before being declared “okay”. The mother walked to shore, dazed, and has refused to talk about the incident.

    CULTURAL

    See the now-infamous selfie that broke Twitter on Oscar Night! http://rtvote.com/1hLqDBZ

    John Travolta’s response to his Idina Menzel flub: http://rtvote.com/1cuhUoa

    The best and worst moments from the Oscars are in! http://rtvote.com/1gakNpt

    An emoji version of Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love”? http://rtvote.com/1e1MWP0

    Dancing with the Stars just announced its latest cast: http://rtvote.com/1l14Y8T

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

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



    News Round-Up: Friday, February 14, 2014

    Friday, February 14th, 2014

    Tens of thousands evacuate Indonesia after volcanic eruption; Facebook adds up to 10 gender pronoun choices; snow hits hard on the East Coast; and President Obama announces a $1 billion climate fund proposal. Meanwhile, the day you’ve been LONG waiting for has arrived—House of Cards Season 2 is on Netflix!; an Olympic skier saves some adorable puppies in Sochi; and in celebration of Valentine’s Day, we have a list of 21 awkward greeting cards that will make your sides hurt with laughter.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Rockers!

    -Maura

     

    CRUCIAL 

    D.C. Region Begins Digging Out After Major Snowstorm Finally Moves On, http://rtvote.com/MRS1m3 Grab your snow boots and watch out for the ice! Another snowstorm swept through the region yesterday, blanketing major parts of the East Coast. The wintry onslaught left at least 21 people dead, including a pregnant woman who was struck by a snowplow in New York City. On Wednesday and Thursday, the snowstorm moved up from the South and left 1.2 million utility customers without power. And, as for snow coverage, the Northeast region near Pennsylvania got more than 22 inches and parts of upstate New York got 27!

    Indonesia Volcano Erupts; 76,000 Evacuated, Most of Java’s Airport Shut, http://rtvote.com/1dsISL8
    The Mount Kelud volcano, located in the province of East Java in Indonesia, erupted Thursday night sending 10 miles of ash into the air. Over 76,000 people have now fled their homes and flights across most of Java, Indonesia’s densely populated island, were grounded. Mount Kelud is one of 130 active volcanoes in the world’s fourth most populous country, which sits along the “Ring of Fire” volcanic belt around the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

    Vladimir Putin Visits Team USA in Sochi, http://rtvote.com/1nyRPUd
    Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to the USA House, which is a meeting place for the athletes and their families. The visit had been kept low key, and visitors at the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters were stunned when he appeared. Mr. Putin has been making his rounds sporadically at national organizing committee spotlights.

    Facebook Opens Up LBGTQ-Friendly Gender Identity And Pronoun Options, http://rtvote.com/1bRXkIm Facebook recently updated gender options for their users.  Aside from the usual “male” and “female” options, users can choose up to 10 different gender definitions to describe themselves out of more than 50 options.  Some of those options include, “cisgender”, “transgender”, and “intersex.” Not only will the gender choice show up on the user’s About page, but it will show up in all other pronouns on the site that refer to that user.

    Obama to propose $1 billion climate fund, http://rtvote.com/1kHD0Se
    In an effort to bring climate change to the forefront, President Obama is preparing to ask Congress to set up a $1 billion “Climate Resilience Fund” in his proposed budget next month. According to the White House, the fund would go to research on the projected impacts of climate change, help communities prepare for climate change’s effects, and fund “breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure.” On Friday, the President will travel to Fresno, California to discuss the impact of drought in the Western U.S. and to announce his climate fund proposal.

    CULTURAL

    Skier Gus Kenworthy Proves His Heart of Gold By Saving Puppies in Sochi, http://rtvote.com/MPtvlE

    The Coolest Teachers Ever Announce Snow Day With Hilarious Rap,http://rtvote.com/1btlluR

    21 Awkward Valentine’s Day Cards For Your Confusing Modern Relationship, http://rtvote.com/1c3KhHg

    Bethenny Frankel’s Daytime Talk Show Cancelled, Not Renewed for Second Season, http://rtvote.com/1dPCppi

    President Obama’s Twitter Account: No ‘House of Cards’ Spoilers,http://rtvote.com/1gAmTly

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

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



    News Round-Up: December 9, 2013

    Monday, December 9th, 2013

    Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War vet, has been released from North Korea after six weeks; Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Yahoo have joined forces to fight the NSA; and local police agencies have started copying the NSA’s spying habits. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez throws a hissy fit on stage, and the mystery surrounding Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles’ relationship remains ongoing.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Merrill Newman has been deported from North Korea: reporthttp://rtvote.com/1gSBDfd
    The 85-year-old Korean War veteran, Merrill Newman, has finally been released after being detained in North Korea for six weeks. Newman had been held on charges of “hostile acts” against the state for his role in the war. North Korea released him because Newman apologized and also because of his age and medical condition. VP Joe Biden met Newman in Beijing to welcome him on his way home.

    Tech giants band together in anti-snooping coalitionhttp://rtvote.com/19c6WA0
    Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo have come together to form what is essentially an anti-NSA coalition. Dubbed the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition, these popular tech companies are determined to limit the federal government’s authority to collect user information. The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google have written an open letter to the federal government.

    Meet Mort Crim: The inspiration for Will Ferrell’s ‘Anchorman’http://rtvote.com/19wbw8G
    As theaters prepare for ‘Anchorman 2’, Ron Burgundy has been popping up on talk shows and sports events around the country. Even though the hilarious news anchor is a fictional character, he is based on someone very real. Meet the man who inspired Will Ferrell’s perfectly mustached character.

    Cellphone data spying: It’s not just the NSAhttp://rtvote.com/1dhAdbx
    The NSA is not the only one spying on people. Local police are now using new technologies to secretly collect data from people’s cellphones. About 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies have used a tactic known as a “tower dump”, and at least 25 police departments own a Stingray, a device that acts as a fake cell tower. 36 other police agencies refuse to say whether they’ve used either tactic.

    ‘127 Hours’ author arrested in Denverhttp://rtvote.com/1gSNw4F
    The man who James Franco portrayed in ‘127 Hours’ was arrested for assault and wrongs to minors in Denver on Saturday night. Aron Lee Ralston, 38, is due in court this afternoon. Ralston is best known for amputating his own arm with a dull blade after being trapped by a boulder for five days in a Utah canyon.

     

    CULTURAL

    Selena Gomez Curses During Performance, Walks Off Stage After Technical Difficulties, http://rtvote.com/1jEeZJQ

    Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles Leave NYC Hotel Together, http://rtvote.com/J7kByw

    One Direction Joins Paul Rudd and His Anchorman 2 Costars on SNL, Debut “Through the Dark,”http://rtvote.com/IXIWGn

    Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Attend Her Brother’s Wedding, http://rtvote.com/1cwnaVd

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: November 18, 2013

    Monday, November 18th, 2013

    Serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin awaits his execution; the Cheney sisters bicker over Facebook; and a father stands trial for leaving his gun loaded and unsecured, which led to his 4-year-old killing their next-door-neighbor. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence talks about her social anxiety, and a VS Angel takes back her slam on Taylor Swift.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Top Syrian rebel commander Abdul Qadir al-Saleh dieshttp://rtvote.com/17Eh9AV
    A top Syrian rebel commander has died of wounds sustained in an air strike on a rebel-held air base in Aleppo province on Thursday. Abdul Qadir al-Saleh was the leader of Liwa al-Tawhid, one of the main rebel forces in Aleppo. BBC Reporter James Reynolds says this is a “big symbolic victory” for Mr. Assad’s forces.

    Serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin prepares to diehttp://rtvote.com/HVf39c
    Joseph Paul Franklin, the man who murdered 22 people between 1977 to 1980, is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday in Missouri. His victims included Jewish people, African-Americans, and interracial couples. His mission was “to get a race war started.”

    D.C. insurance commissioner fired a day after questioning Obamacare fixhttp://rtvote.com/I1kJ2b
    A day after he questioned President Obama’s decision to dismantle a major part of the Affordable Care Act, D.C. insurance commissioner William P. White was fired. White had expressed his opposition to President Obama’s Thursday announcement that those whose plans would be canceled could keep their policies for another year.

    Dispute Over Gay Marriage Erupts in Cheney Familyhttp://rtvote.com/1amp9ea
    Mary and Liz Cheney are no longer the adorably close sisters who tagged along on their father’s campaigns. A feud has erupted between them, and they’ve taken it to social media. Things started yesterday when Liz appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and said she opposed same-sex marriage. Her sister, who is homosexual, fired back at her on Facebook.

    Father of boy, 4, who killed playmate rejects plea dealhttp://rtvote.com/1aBJn2w
    Anthony Senatore’s 4-year-old son got a hold of his father’s loaded rifle on April 8th and shot and killed his 6-year-old neighbor. The gun was unsecured in Senatore’s bedroom, and he now faces five charges of child endangerment. The parents of the six-year-old victim, Brandon Holt, are also filing a lawsuit against Robert and Melissa Senatore, seeking more than $1 million in damages.

     

    CULTURAL

    Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Make First Red Carpet Appearance in Six Months, http://rtvote.com/17hemAH

    Ireland Baldwin Defends Alec Baldwin on Twitter: “Let My Dad Be,” http://rtvote.com/HVpUjy

    Jennifer Lawrence Reveals She Suffered From Social Anxiety, Used Acting to Cope, http://rtvote.com/1gYFkCx

    Victoria’s Secret Angel Jessica Hart Backtracks After Taylor Swift Criticism, http://rtvote.com/1amBHCh

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    Intern Rock Star, Rosalie, Reflects on RTV

    Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

    Finding an internship on Twitter was not what I expected to happen. But I knew that Rock the Vote (RTV) would be a unique place to intern. Communication happened rather quickly and following two phone interviews then I had a face to face interview. Once I made it in for the interview I was pumped. The internship called for a variety of tasks from dealing with RTV merchandise, Election Day help, and blogging! I have never blogged for a professional cause before and found that experience rewarding and fun.

    I wrote my first blog about being from Virginia, a state that was holding gubernatorial elections on November 5. I also shared a little about my college experience at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, as well as the excitement I felt for Election Day. Getting to share the importance of voting in this 2013 election, and inspiring young voters to get out there and rock the vote was extremely gratifying. In addition to blogging, I enjoyed helping with pre-election day work such as calling volunteers to come out and ‘Rock the Calls”. Rock the Calls was an effort to call to the attention of young registered voters, through phone banking, that Nov. 5 was an important day to vote. We decked out the office with streamers, confetti, and plenty of snacks to fuel the phone banking effort which were carried out over the week leading up to Nov. 5.

    Calling Virginia voters and reminding them to vote was a really cool process. I enjoyed seeing all the different area codes from Virginia show up on my list of names to call! In addition to calling a bunch of fellow Virginians I enjoyed talking to the enthusiastic young voters who were already sure of where they would be going to vote and what time. I also spoke to people who had already voted absentee. The value of Rock the Calls lies in putting a voice to the importance of voting. Voting is the pinnacle of Democracy. Getting to work with a team of interns has been fun, and engaging. I have learned a lot about myself as well as how to get people excited about the political process. I have fond memories of my internship at Rock the Vote, it was short but I was happy to intern here.

    RosalieDech
    Bio: A native Virginian, I have been voting since it was legally possible for me to do so. Intern here at Rock the Vote and interested in politics, news, and civic engagement.

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