By: Staff Writers Harshita Gupta & Chakshu Hurria
Local: Berkeley Approves Tax on Soda
On November 4, voters in Berkeley, California approved Measure D, a one-cent-an-ounce tax on sugary sodas and energy drinks. The tax, which does not apply to diet sodas, will come into effect on January 1, 2015. Measure D was passed by a 3-to-1 margin and will add about 12 cents to the price of a can of soda, and 68 cents to that of a two-liter bottle. Berkeley is the first city to successfully pass a punitive tax on sugary drinks, and its politicians lead the way in successfully advocating healthier lifestyles.
National: AP Recordings Suggest Violation of First Amendment
The Associated Press obtained audio recordings of phone calls from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on November 2 that suggest that the Ferguson no-fly zone was deliberately designed to keep the media from covering the protests, rather than protecting police personnel. Lee Rowland, an American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney specializing in First Amendment issues, said, “Any evidence that a no-fly zone was put in place as a pretext to exclude the media from covering events in Ferguson is extraordinarily troubling and a blatant violation of the press’s First Amendment rights.”
International: UK to Deploy Military Trainers to Iraq
The UK is taking the next step in action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and will be deploying military trainers to Iraq to assist US troops. The move comes days after the departure of the last UK troops from Afghanistan and three years after their withdrawal from Iraq. Large areas of Syria and Iraq are currently under the control of ISIS extremists, and although the Iraqi army is making some progress in halting the advance of the IS, they require more help from international allies. The UK troops will be joining 500 US troops to retrain the Iraqi army. UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said that the limited mission would not lead to the deployment of combat troops.
Quirky: San Diego State University Offering Masters Course on Zombies
In an effort to combat student apathy and low humanities enrollment, San Diego State University Professor Emily Hicks is introducing a graduate-level literature course that analyzes race, class and gender through zombie-related narratives. The zombie metaphor can be applied to many areas of American society and culture, and Hicks said that “Students become familiar with current approaches to social concerns of the Americas in the areas of literary theory, queer theory, geophilosophy, postmodernism, performance theory and Frankfurt theory… I have taught here 30 years and I have never had students so excited about writing a mid-term.”