News In Brief, October 3, 2014

Catalan, Spain:

The day after Scotland’s historic vote, the Catalonian parliament voted to allow the Catalan region of Spain to vote on independence on Nov. 9,  according to the BBC.  The vote was suspended this week by the Constitutional Court after an appeal from the central Spanish government, which contends that a referendum for independence is not compatible with the constitution.  Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said “nobody and nothing will be allowed to break up Spain.”

California, USA:

California became the first state to ban non-reusable plastic bags, according to the BBC. The law only affects stores selling food or drink (grocery stores and liquor stores, for instance) and pharmacies. It also bans paper bags unless the store charges at least 10 cents per bag. Larger stores will have until next July to comply, while smaller stores have until July 2016. The new law was condemned by the executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, Lee Califf, who claimed the law would  “jeopardize thousands … of jobs, hurt the environment and fleece consumers for billions.”

Iguala, Mexico:

Forty-three people are missing after an attack by police in Southern Mexico that left six people dead, according to Vice News. The police opened fire on a bus of students from a teachers college for reasons that remain unclear, although the police claim to have stopped the bus because they thought the students had kidnapped the driver.  Three hours latter, another armed group killed two more students.  At the same time, police or another armed group attacked a second bus, believing it to also be carrying students. State forces have arrested 22 members of the local police force.

Hong Kong, China:

Since Friday, protestors have gathered in Hong Kong to advocate for a more democratic system, according to The New York Times. They began after an announcement that the city chief executive would be selected by vote, but only after approval from Beijing, giving the power mostly to the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Many see this as a corruption of Hong Kong’s tradition of separate and free governance from the rest of China. Police attempted to clear protestors using tear gas, while protestors shielded their faces with surgical masks, umbrellas, and cling wrap.