Daily Digest: London student protests, graphic cig labels

Katherine Lymn

Your Wednesday Daily Digest:

London student protesters have gained access to the Tory conservative party headquarters in a protest against high tuition costs, the Guardian reports. The rally was set for noon London time (6:00 a.m. our time), and has grown to a crowd of 52,000, organizers estimate. Chanting “Tory Scum, Here We Come,” protestors are overwhelming unprepared police, breaking the windows of and getting onto the roof of the Millbank Tower, which houses the Tory headquarters. Protesters are throwing eggs and burning banners outside, and some have made it into the lobby, which prompted an evacuation of workers inside; at least two police officers have been injured. Police implemented the riot squad at around 9:00 a.m. Minnesota time. Protesters reportedly want to force “by-elections” for legislative seats where Lib Dems have broken their promises to keeping tuition low. The root of the rioters’ anger is a recent government proposal that would allow universities to increase tuition three-fold, while also cutting the schools’ budgets by 40 percent. One demonstrator explained the motivation behind the demo to a Guardian reporter: “The 4 hour coach journey down was predominantly filled with 3rd year and postgrad students, who won’t even be affected by these changes but feel disillusioned and worried about the prospect of ‘corporate takeovers’ as unis are being pushed towards a more business-minded way of working.” For all the latest riot news, keep an eye on the Guardian’s live blog or the hashtag “#demo2010” in Twitter.

Following the style of many countries outside North America, the FDA has unveiled prorposals for 36 warning labels on cigarette packages that illustrate smoking’s negative effects, according to the New York Times. The labels are part of a law passed last year that gave the FDA tobacco regulating power. While the US was the first country to require some sort of warning on the packages, the Times reports, the “Surgeon General’s Warning” is now largely ignored, and the graphic labels are an effort to “re-energize the nation’s anti-smoking efforts, which have stalled in recent years.”