United States

On February 25, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache in Maryland. A simple tooth extraction could have saved his life, but by the time he received medical attention a tooth infection had spread to his brain. Driver’s family did not have private health insurance and their Medicaid coverage had expired. Even with Medicaid, many people have to travel several hours to find a dentist willing to treat them — just 900 of the state’s 5500 dentists accept Medicaid patients. Figures show that fewer than one-third of children in Maryland’s Medicaid program received any dental care during 2005.

An extraordinary mobilisation of Rainbow Solidarity for the Cuban Five is extending around the world.

An opinion poll conducted in early February by the Washington-based Pew Research Center found that 53% of US voters surveyed agreed that the US “should bring its troops home as soon as possible”. This sentiment explains why the leading Democratic Party presidential hopefuls are trying to convince voters they have a plan to end the US war in Iraq.

The January 27 demonstration in Washington DC was the largest anti-war protest in the US since September 2005.

Five footballers at North Carolina’s Guilford College were charged with “ethnic intimidation” and the assault of three Palestinian students on January 21. The FBI will also investigate whether the footballers should be charged with “hate crimes”. The three Palestinian students were brutally attacked by up to 15 members of the college football team, who used “brass knuckles” and called them “terrorists”, “sand niggers” and “fucking Palestinians”. Students at the college have condemned the attacks as racist and have begun to organise in support of the Palestinian students. On January 24, Yes! Weekly online magazine reported that students have also threatened to walk out of school if the attackers were not suspended.

Chanting “bring our troops home”, anti-war protesters rallied in front of the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 27 to pressure President George Bush’s administration to end the war on Iraq, now only two months short of entering its fourth year.

Prosecutors are calling Amber Abreu a murderer. But the 18-year-old is a victim of restrictions on access to abortion. Prosecutors recently charged Abreu, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, with “procuring a miscarriage” — a felony that can carry a penalty of seven years in prison. They say they are planning to file additional charges, including a possible homicide charge, against her.

The Bush administration’s decision to send more troops to Iraq in the face of rising opposition among ruling-class politicians and pundits, and against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the US people, represents a desperate gamble.

When supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rallied in the Teresa Carrena theatre in Caracas on December 15 to celebrate their presidential election victory, “there were cheers in the back half of the theatre”, wrote Caracas-based Marxist writer Michael Lebowitz in Venezuelanalysis.com, “but few in the high-priced seats”.

A national mobilisation for May Day 2007 is set to involve young people, workers, peace activists and others in solidarity with immigrant workers. The protest will say no to anti-immigration legislation, to the militarisation of the US border and to

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