Berkeley in the News Archive

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

1. Russian aid convoy puts Ukraine in difficult position
Los Angeles Times

Associate political science professor M. Steven Fish comments on the Kremlin's deployment of a massive aid convoy to civilians in eastern Ukraine. "If Putin can pull this off in a way that makes it look like Russia really cares about eastern Ukrainians and it's the government in Kiev that is blocking them, he scores a public relations victory whether the aid moves in or not," he says. He adds that sending nearly 300 large vehicles capable of transporting troops across the border also bolsters Russian forces' readiness for an invasion, should Putin decide to forgo any chance of expunging the pariah image he has acquired over the last six months. Full Story

2. "Six Californias" Wouldn't Help Republicans: Study
KNTV Online

Political science professor Jack Citrin, director of Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, and Ethan Rarick, director of the institute's Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, crunched some numbers connected to the initiative to split California into six states, concluding that the breakup would be more likely to benefit Democrats than Republicans. Of the six states, three would remain strongly Democratic, two would tilt Republican, and one would be very competitive. Full Story

3. Racism, the misuse of genetics and a huge scientific protest
Los Angeles Times

A group of scientists, including associate molecular and cell biology professor Michael Eisen, have been speaking out about Nicholas Wade's book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. The scientists object to Wade's "misappropriation" of research on human genetic differences and his juxtaposition of "incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results, political institutions and economic development." Professor Eisen, a geneticist, says Wade "is trying not just to make it OK to voice racist theories about the origins of human phenotypic variation, he is yearning to give them the validity of science." Professor Eisen adds that Wade has also blurred "the distinction between storytelling and science," and that this type of blurring is infecting scientific discussions that have great public implications, such as the attack on climate science, the promotion of creationism, and the marketing of California's multibillion-dollar stem cell program. Full Story

4. Deal Book Blog: A Takeover Battle That May Put Tax Inversions to the Test
New York Times Online (*requires registration)

Law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon writes about the takeover battle over Chiquita Brands International, which he says "highlights the problems that tax inversions can create for American companies themselves in their mad dash abroad." Inversions occur when companies are reincorporated in foreign countries so that U.S. taxes are lowered, in turn freeing up cash held abroad. The problem, he says, is that the foreign company's shareholders get a premium while U.S. shareholders do not. Professor Solomon also wrote about the Allergan takeover battle in the New York Times Online. Full Story

5. China Real Time Report Blog: Arrested, Detained: A Guide to Navigating China's Police Powers
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Law lecturer Stanley Lubman writes about recent detentions, arrests and indictments of Chinese citizens who "protest, talk about protesting or commit other acts the state deems disruptive." The article reviews the confusingly varied terminology used in these cases to "help readers make sense of the tangle of the powers wielded by the police and procuracy in their service to the party." Full Story

6. 'It Takes Time'
Inside Higher Ed

In 2010, when the UC system adopted an online education proposal put forth by law professor Christopher Edley Jr., then-dean of the Berkeley law school, the university was facing a multibillion-dollar deficit, budget cuts, layoffs and tuition hikes. At the time, the goal of the initiative was to produce up to 20 fully online undergraduate courses by the 2012-13 academic year, with some fully online degrees eventually. Today, with the economy rebounded and the sense of urgency diminished, the system's strategy is changing. Full Story

7. Cal mom to document her sonís life with Aspergerís

Berkeley transfer student Nils Skudra's mother, Renee Skudra, is raising money to make a documentary about his life with Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. Citing widespread ignorance about the condition, she hopes to contradict misconceptions and show the value people like Nils can offer to society. Although his social challenges make it difficult for him to interact with peers, he is a straight-A student with five merit-based scholarships. Full Story

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