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    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

    Another shooting hits Fort Hood Military Base; a major aftershock in Chile causes massive evacuations; the US allegedly tried to undermine the Cuban government through the creation of a fake social media account; and a woman in Australia goes missing after being “taken” by a shark. Meanwhile, James Franco allegedly tried to meet up with a teenager via Instagram; a man arrested for trespassing on Selena Gomez’s property is sentenced; and Sarah Palin and “Vladimir Putin” have a phone conversation.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Fort Hood shooting spree: ‘Texans’ hearts are once again very heavy’: http://rtvote.com/1otWpcb
    Specialist Ivan Lopez went on a shooting spree Wednesday at Fort Hood Military Base in Killeen, Texas, wounding 16 and killing four others (including himself). All were army personnel. Lopez had had a history of depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. After his 4-month tour in Iraq, Lopez began to undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Lopez used his own gun in the shooting; it was not registered to the base, making it against the rules to have it on the base. In contrast to the 2010 Fort Hood shooting, authorities do not suspect that terrorism was the driving force behind Lopez’s actions.

    New evacuations in Chile after major aftershock: http://rtvote.com/PmTToC
    A 7.2 magnitude aftershock rocked the northern coast of Chile Wednesday night, just days after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake caused tsunamis and six deaths. After the 7.2 aftershock, the Chilean Emergency Office issued new tsunami warnings and subsequent evacuations of the entire Chilean coast, driving 900,000 people from their homes. Fortunately, no damage, deaths, or injuries have been reported after the aftershock, which is one of over a dozen that have hit Chile over the past few days. The aftershock was felt in Peru as well, once again leaving no damage or injuries in its wake.

    Crowd beats driver who stopped after hitting boy, 11: http://rtvote.com/1lqM7Fd
    On the East Side of Detroit, Michigan, a crowd beat a driver who hit an 11-year-old boy. The child was struck by the driver of a truck while trying to cross an intersection. The driver then got out of the car to check on the boy, at which point a crowd of approximately 30 people came to assist the child. Some members of the crowd then beat the driver, who sustained serious head injuries that could be life-threatening. The boy’s condition has not been released. Both the driver and the child were taken to the hospital.

    US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest: http://rtvote.com/1k3eXhG
    US government official Joe McSpedon, a team of technology contractors, and the Agency for International Development had been planning to undermine the communist government in Cuba by creating a fake social media website. The “Cuban Twitter,” or ZunZuneo, would have breached the information restrictions and bans put in place by the Cuban government. At its peak, the account reached thousands of Cuban citizens, giving many access to information that had previously been denied to them. Due to the financing being linked to a Cayman Islands account, the United State’s name was never connected with the project’s development. Whether the program is legal or not is unclear.

    Woman ‘taken’ by large shark in Australia: http://rtvote.com/1mDUf57
    63-year-old lifeguard Christine Armstrong was swimming in Tathra, Australia with her husband and fellow lifeguards when she disappeared. She headed off to shore alone, leaving her friends in the water, but appeared to never make it. A witness told police that he saw an 11-foot shark attacking something in the water that looked like a swimmer. After an investigation, neither Armstrong nor the shark could be found. Armstrong’s husband and friends who were with her that day are being given counseling to cope.

    CULTURAL

    British Olympic diver Tom Daley discusses his sexuality: http://rtvote.com/1fOPOzE

    It’s Amanda Bynes’ birthday! Take a look back through her career: http://rtvote.com/1scN1cd 

    James Franco tried to pick up a teenage girl on Instagram: http://rtvote.com/1gqOpyG

    Get the latest details about the guy arrested for trespassing at Selena Gomez’s house: http://rtvote.com/1hkyi5W

    Sarah Palin and “Vladimir Putin” talk: see the video! http://rtvote.com/QIBT8Z

    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: Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Thursday, March 6th, 2014

    Crimean lawmakers have voted to join Russia; a news anchor quits on her live show; Staples plans to close nearly 10 percent of its stores in and around the United States; and parents commit fraud for football. Meanwhile, kids recreate the 2014 Oscar’s best fashion looks; Katy Perry tries her hand at meteorology in Australia; Aaron Carter reveals lingering feelings for a Hollywood star; and see what Oscar winning actors actually do with the statue!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Breaking News: Crimea lawmakers vote to join Russia: http://rtvote.com/1dvBwGw
    Crimean lawmakers voted to leave Ukraine for Russia earlier, forcing citizens to choose if they want to remain in Ukraine or join Russia. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, however, says that the referendum proposed by the Crimean lawmakers who voted for the separation has “no legal grounds at all” and is an “illegitimate decision.” Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko says that the referendum is indeed invalid because in Ukraine, referendums can only be passed by the national government. However, Crimea’s government is staunchly pro-Russia, and they do not recognize the interim, pro-West national government in Kiev.

    Anchor quits: I can’t be part of network ‘that whitewashes’ Putin’s actions: http://rtvote.com/1f1C2gy
    Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl quit her job on-air at the end of her show on Wednesday. She said that due to her past (being a member of a family who fled Hungary to escape the Soviet Union in the 1950s), she “cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin.” The network responded, calling Wahl’s actions a “self-promotional stunt.” This action follows the similar outburst from Russia Today personality Abby Martin, who split from the pro-Russian repertoire and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea.

    Parents, students cheat to attend Atlanta school: http://rtvote.com/1f1GmMQ
    An Atlanta school is under fire from new cheating allegations coming to light. Parents of football players at Grady High School faked their children’s addresses solely so their children could play football at that school. Out of the 58 players on Grady High School’s football team, fourteen have faked papers. Currently, some students connected with the fraud have withdrawn from the school, and others had tuition bills sent to them. The school’s superintendent, Erroll Davis, is debating whether to press criminal or civil charges on the parents accused of fraud.

    Barbie, remove that Girl Scout tie, ad group says: http://rtvote.com/1cF9PHO
    A new ad featuring Barbie tied in with Girl Scouts has sparked controversy from consumer advocacy groups. The “Be Anything, Do Anything” patch allows Girl Scouts in kindergarten through third grade to look at different careers in a booklet with a Barbie theme. The groups believe that using Barbie as a role model for Girl Scouts “undermines the Girl Scouts vital mission.” Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, is bringing the issue to light now because the Girl Scouts of America did not agree to remove the partnership in private talks. Kelly Parisi, a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts, says that using Barbie enables them to tell girls that “they can do anything.”

    Staples to close 225 stores as sales move online: http://rtvote.com/1idGUOj
    Staples plans on closing 10 percent of its North American stores by the end of 2015. The store chain says nearly 50 percent of its sales are online, and that it wants to be more monetarily efficient. A majority of their 1,846 stores are in the United States, and Staples has yet to comment on how many jobs are being cut due to store closures. However, Staples CEO Ron Sargent says that the chain will not give up on actual stores due to the service customers can receive there, and the overall convenience of stores.

    CULTURAL

    What celebrities do with their Oscars: http://rtvote.com/NXNWgP

    Kids recreating Oscar looks: http://rtvote.com/1gUZOc3

    Here’s the host of the 2014 MTV Movie Awards! http://rtvote.com/1dvUsVM

    Katy Perry’s new day job: meteorologist? http://rtvote.com/1oulQ8d

    Aaron Carter can’t get over a romance that happened over 10 years ago! http://rtvote.com/1qbNqe3

    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: Friday, January 17, 2014

    Friday, January 17th, 2014

    President Obama addresses the nation on NSA spying programs; the $1.1T spending bill will head to the White House; and a harsh Pennsylvania voter ID law is struck down by a state court judge. Meanwhile, FLOTUS turns 50 and fabulous!; Kim K flashes new photos of baby North; and the 2014 Sundance Film Festival commences.

    - Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens, http://rtvote.com/1adj0Ug 
    Addressing the nation Friday morning from the Department of Justice, President Obama called for new reforms to NSA spying programs on U.S. citizens. After a six-month controversy, the president has ordered significant changes to the way the NSA collects & uses telephone records of U.S. citizens. He also advocated to end eavesdropping on many foreign leaders and allies of our country in order to rebuild their trust in the U.S. intelligence community.

    With Senate’s OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads to Obama,http://rtvote.com/1hywNEt
    The massive $1.1 trillion spending bill will now head to President Obama’s desk for a signature. The bill will prevent any gaps in government funding and provide a less harsh effect on automatic spending cuts. The Senate voted 72-26 to pass the spending legislation and reduce the likelihood of a government shutdown, at least for the upcoming election season.

    Putin: Gay people will be safe at Olympics if they ‘leave kids alone’http://rtvote.com/KnCoRK
    During a question and answer session Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, offered a statement that was apparently meant to be a reassuring answer for visitors to the Games. After being asked about Russia’s attitude toward gays, a controversial subject surround the upcoming events, Putin said that “one can feel calm and at ease. Just leave the kids alone.” Unfortunately Mr. Putin, I don’t think that’s the reassuring answer that most people were hoping for…

    Members of Congress Introduce New Fix For Voting Rights Act,http://rtvote.com/1m9ngUq
    Last summer the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when they released their ruling to the Shelby County v. Holder case. This ruling made it much easier for states with a history of discriminatory voting laws to enact new restrictive laws without federal supervision. Yesterday, the first bi-partisan solution was offered when legislation was introduced to help strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

    Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down, http://rtvote.com/19zLsPB
    Judge Bernard L. McGinley, a state court judge, struck down a controversial voter ID law in Pennsylvania Friday morning. After a twelve-day trial last summer debating the law, Judge McGinley ruled that the law placed an unreasonable burden on people trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote. 

    CULTURAL

    Kim Kardashian Shares New Pics of Baby North West, Talks Summer Wedding With Kanye West, http://rtvote.com/1avSIqX

    Michelle Obama Proudly Shows Off Her AARP Card on 50th Birthday,http://rtvote.com/1fFFqzJ

    Drake, Nina Dobrev, and More Degrassi Alums: Where are they now?,http://rtvote.com/1adbmcs

    Melissa McCarthy Returning to Host Saturday Night Live on February 1,http://rtvote.com/1jbj4GI

    Sundance 2014: Miles Teller Talks Divergent, Getting Naked in That Awkward Moment and His Rock Band Past, http://rtvote.com/KnzLzi

    Michelle Obama Turns 50! Let’s Look Back at FLOTUS’ Best Fashions So Far, http://rtvote.com/1jbjKvL

    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: Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Thursday, September 12th, 2013

    Vladimir Putin writes NY Times Op-ed; CIA delivers weapons to Syrian rebels; Colorado flash floods kill 2 people; and a secret Koch brother’s group is revealed to the public. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks has jury duty issues; Lady Gaga talks Miley; JT and Jessica Biel caught smooching; and Prince William leaves the military to be full-time royal.

    -Maura

    CRUCIAL

    U.S weapons reaching Syrian rebels, http://rtvote.com/17Z1gG3
    A flow of materials from the U.S. to Syrian rebels now marks what is being viewed as a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war. The CIA began delivering weapons to rebels ending months of delay in lethal aid promised by the Obama Administration. Other types of aid that includes vehicles, communications equipment, and advanced combat medical kits are also being delivered.

    Vladimir Putin’s comments on American exceptionalism, Syria cause fusshttp://rtvote.com/17Z2jpq
    Vladimir Putin has caught the attention of Americans by writing an opinion piece in today’s New York Times op-ed column, causing a flurry of reactions. Putin says he wrote the article to “speak directly to American people and their political leaders.”

    Flash floods wash away homes, kill at least 2 near Boulder Colorado, http://rtvote.com/17Z3Fk3
    Torrential rains caused at least 2 deaths Thursday in Boulder, Colorado. The National Weather Service described the conditions as “life threatening” in an emergency message issued just after midnight local time for areas around Boulder where 6.5 inches of rain fell in the last 24 hours.

    Exclusive: The Koch brothers’ secret bank, http://rtvote.com/17Z4p8R
    An Arlington, Virginia based conservative group called Freedom Partners, that raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape the political and policy debate nationwide, has been revealed. The group served as an outlet for the ideas and funds of the mysterious Koch brothers, cutting checks as large as $63 million to groups promoting conservative causes, according to an IRS document to be filed shortly.

    CULTURAL

    Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Share Rare PDA at U.S. Open, http://rtvote.com/15mUaMX

    Lady Gaga Talks Miley Cyrus at the VMAs On ‘WWHL’: ‘Lighten Up and Leave Her Alone’, http://rtvote.com/15mS3Jh

    ‘Breaking Bad’ Spinoff: ‘Better Call Saul’ Prequel Happening at AMC, http://rtvote.com/15mT1VU

    Prince William to Leave the Military and Become Full-Time Royal, http://rtvote.com/17YWSH5

    Tom Hanks’ jury duty service leads to misconduct allegation, http://rtvote.com/17Z0Tv6

    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