Thursday, December 9, 2010

Student Protests Continue

Thousands of students across the country joined protests against the proposed tuition fee rises again yesterday. Lecturers and students organized protests at their institutions, while around 300 people staged a sit-in at Euston Station, causing disruption during the evening rush-hour. Earlier in the day, they had descended on St Pancras, staging a "teach-out", with Trevor Marchand, a professor of social anthropology at London's School of Oriental and African Studies, giving a lecture in the station.

Students in Scotland are staging protests too – even though the planned fee increases will only affect England directly. They are worried a tuition fee rise in England will fuel calls for the re-introduction of graduate contributions in Scotland and mean that Scottish students studying in England will incur more debts.

Demonstrations took place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Liam Burns, president of NUS Scotland, said: "Thousands of students, pupils, teachers and workers across Scotland are braving sub-zero temperature and dangerous roads to make it clear to people and politicians all over the UK that the Westminster vote to increase tuition fees is far from an English-only matter."

Student activist blogs suggested at least 23 occupations were staged on campuses and there were protests in Leeds and Birmingham, among other cities nationwide. Student protests are expected to continue today.

Climate talks in Cancun, Mexico since November 29 have more modest ambitions than at Copenhagen last year, but there are still yawning gaps over the future of the Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse gas emissions by rich nations until 2012.

Developing nations insist the rich world must lead by setting deeper cuts beyond 2013. The latter insist they will not extend the pact unless poorer nations also commit to emission cuts. As expected, another stalemate is likely.

Without success in Cancun, faith in the seemingly endless UN talks, which require unanimous support for any accords, could wither away. Harvard University’s Robert Stavins may be right: “I think the UN process has real problems, potentially fatal. Anything under the United Nations tends to polarize developing and industrialized countries”.

Arsenal reached the last 16 of the Champions League for the eleventh successive season when they carved a 3-1 victory over Partizan Belgrade at The Emirates; their scorers were Robin van Persie (penalty, 30), Theo Walcott (73) and Samir Nasri (77).

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