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July 23, 2014
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On Tuesday, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted, 6-4, to propose a tax on soft drinks, energy drinks, and other high-calorie beverages on the November ballot. This fall, then, San Francisco voters will decide whether to tax their sugary drinks at two cents an ounce, with the money going toward health and exercise programs for teens and children. The measure will only pass if two-thirds of voters approve it.

City lawmakers say they are proposing the soda tax because sugar consumption has been tied to rising obesity and diabetes rates, especially among black and Latino youths. At NBC Bay Area, Sam Brock and Kinsey Kiriakos argue that tying the tax to calories, not fluid ounces, would be more likely to cut sugar consumption and improve public health.

The American Beverage Association is already gearing up for a big fight. If San Francisco — or Berkeley, whose voters will consider a similar penny-an-ounce tax — approves the measure, it will be the nation's first soft drink tax based on public health concerns. Peter Weber

10:35 a.m. ET
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Beyoncé's visual album Lemonade is the gift that keeps on giving. To celebrate the album's one-year anniversary, the pop icon announced Tuesday that she's founded "Formation Scholars," a program that will award college scholarships to four young women for the 2017-2018 academic year. Beyoncé said the point of the program is to celebrate young women who are "unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious, and confident."

Participating schools are historically black colleges Howard University and Spelman College, as well as Berklee College of Music and Parsons School of Design; one student per college will be chosen to receive Beyoncé's scholarship. Female "incoming, current or graduate students pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature, or African-American studies" are eligible to apply, per Beyoncé's website. More information about the application process can be found on the schools' websites.

Eligible young ladies, get in formation. Becca Stanek

9:39 a.m. ET

During his show's opening monologue Monday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity vehemently denied allegations of sexual harassment and blasted the left for pushing such "slander" in an effort to silence "conservative voices." "I can no longer let the left's slander against me slide," Hannity said.

"If there's any person, any group, any organization, any media outlet that slanders, lies about me, besmirches me, my character, I'm going to be calling them out. Because at this point, enough is enough."

Hannity's denouncement followed former Fox News guest Debbie Schlussel's claim in a recent radio interview that Hannity retaliated against her after she declined his invitation to go back to his hotel room by never again inviting her to appear on the network. She has since clarified that she would not characterize Hannity's actions as sexual harassment; she said she simply found Hannity "weird and creepy."

Hannity read aloud the statement he'd provided to LawNewz adamantly denying the claims, which he reiterated were made by an individual who "for over a decade has made the most outrageous, unfair, untrue allegations against me." While he fully intends to fight "every single lie" by "all legal means available," he suggested the recent allegations were about more than just him.

He described it as part of a "coordinated attempt to silence the voice of every outspoken conservative in this country." "Liberal fascism is alive and well in America today," Hannity said, warning that "everyone who has publicly supported President Trump is a target."

Watch Hannity's opening monologue below. Becca Stanek

9:36 a.m. ET
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NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring from racing at the end of the 2017 season, Hendrick Motorsports reported Tuesday.

Earnhardt, 42, spent 18 seasons behind the wheel, totaling more than 600 races. He has won two Daytona 500 crowns and two championships, and has been voted NASCAR's Most Popular Driver a record 14 consecutive times. Earnhardt's father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was a NASCAR Hall of Famer who died in 2001 in a collision in the final lap of the Daytona 500.

Earnhardt missed the final 18 races of 2016 due to a concussion. In his eight starts this year, he has one top-10 finish. Earnhardt's final NASCAR Cup Series race will take place on Nov. 19, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jeva Lange

9:18 a.m. ET
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Ivanka Trump was grilled and booed at a summit on women entrepreneurship in Berlin on Tuesday during what marked her international debut as an official representative of the United States, Politico reports. Trump was at "W20," a women-centric forum at the G20 conference, at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump was put on the defensive from the first question. "You're the first daughter of the United States, and you're also an assistant to the president," the moderator, Miriam Meckel, said. "The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter. I'd like to ask you, what is your role, and who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?"

Politico reports Trump seemed to be put on the spot. "Certainly not the latter," she replied. "I'm rather unfamiliar with this role as well ... It has been a little under 100 days and it has just been a remarkable and incredible journey."

The crowd apparently did not warm to Trump as the conversation went on; she was later booed when she praised her father as a "tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive." "You hear the reaction from the audience," the moderator challenged. "I need to address one more point — some attitudes toward women your father has displayed might leave one questioning whether he's such an empowerer for women."

Throughout the conversation, Trump dodged a number of questions by claiming she is still learning and listening. "I'm striving to think about how best to empower women in the economy," she said. "I have no doubt that coming out of this trip I'll be more informed." Jeva Lange

9:11 a.m. ET
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On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will begin his push to unwind the net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC in 2015, when Democrats held a majority of commission seats. Pai, a Republican who voted against the Open Internet rules proposed by former Chairman Tom Wheeler, has made no secret of his intention to scale back regulations since President Trump tapped him as chairman. At a speech to the conservative group FreedomWorks on Wednesday, Pai is expected to talk about his ideas regarding net neutrality — the principle that internet providers must treat all web traffic equally — but not outline any specific proposals.

Under Wheeler, the FCC reclassified internet providers as common carriers, like phone companies, allowing the commission to enforce the 2015 net neutrality rules. A federal appellate court upheld the rules in 2016. Pai will almost certainly propose scrapping the common carrier framework, and according to sources who spoke to Recode, he is leaning toward making compliance with net neutrality principles voluntary and handing over regulation of broadband to the Federal Trade Commission.

Pai has been meeting in recent weeks with the telecom industry, which fought the net neutrality rules, and tech companies, which support them. He told reporters last week that he has consistently supported "a free and open internet," but disagreed about the approach to reaching those goals. Peter Weber

8:50 a.m. ET
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A majority of Republicans voters in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania agree that President Trump exaggerates or outright lies, but they simply don't care, a new poll by the Republican consultant Firehouse Strategies has found. Sixty-eight percent of the "Trump Country" Republicans agree Trump stretches the truth intentionally, while 51 percent said he "exaggerates only with good intent."

"Voters know he's often not telling the truth, but a majority don't care," the researchers concluded.

Among independents, only 17 percent said Trump never lies and 34 percent said he exaggerates with "good intent." Overall, voters in the survey think Trump actually lies less often than Republican members of Congress, 80 percent to 84 percent. But while many might claim they don't mind Trump's flexible definition of the truth, only 39 percent of voters say they are proud of how Trump has done as president.

The poll reached 3,491 people between April 21-23 via landlines in Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The margin of error for the topline results was plus or minus 2 percent. See the full results here, and read a breakdown at Axios. Jeva Lange

8:18 a.m. ET
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Elton John is recovering from a "rare and potentially deadly" infection after becoming extremely ill while flying home from Chile, Time reports. John was discharged from a U.K. intensive care unit Saturday, but has canceled a number of shows in Las Vegas in April and May due to the infection.

"I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and loyal fans and apologize for disappointing them," John said. "I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well."

The "harmful and unusual bacterial infection" was identified "quickly and treated … successfully," a statement said. "[John] is expected to make a full and complete recovery." Jeva Lange

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