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US government fails own people.

Hurricane Katrina is a terrible tragedy. But it's a very American tragedy.

The government instruction to "get out if you can" would surely be seen as an abdication of responsibility anywhere else.

Perhaps now the people of the United States will wake up to the fact that the current administration of their country is not ( and indeed never has been ( primarily concerned with the welfare of its citizens.

The US federal government is more interested in pursuing a flawed policy in the Middle East than in allocating the funds necessary to protect its cities.

As always, it is the poor who suffer while the rich are further enriched. The funds that could have been used to prevent the flooding of New Orleans have gone in tax cuts for the wealthy and weapons for Iraq.

The painful irony is that, while the government can suppress images of Americans returning in coffins from Iraq, it cannot hide from the world's eyes the horror of bodies floating in the swamp that is now New Orleans. "The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small."

JAMES FITZPATRICK, St Pauls Court, Low Teams, Gateshead.

United need a divine miracle

THE furore of the signing of Michael Owen to NUFC couldn't have been any better if he had been Jesus Christ at the second coming.

The way Newcastle United have started off their football season, a bit of divine intervention and a miracle would be appropriate.

JOHN BOAK, Somerset Close, Ashington.

Another great evening out

THANKS once again to Mike Durham for providing excellent entertainment at the Saville in the formidable form of Jeff Barnhardt from Connecticut, a pianist of considerable talent and purveyor of a feast of comic songs.

For a delighted audience it's feet-tapping one minute, side-splitting the next.

A warning for Mike though, if he gets that longed-for grand piano onstage before Jeff's next visit, make sure it's insured! If I may digress a moment, older fans may recall Dave Brubeck's first visit to Newcastle City Hall. He walked on stage to find Steinway replaced by pub piano `as they knew he played jazz'.

Dinner in the `1896', great music to follow, another excellent evening at the Saville Exchange.

DON HENDERSON, Holmside Avenue, Gateshead.

Hit by lack of NHS dentists

I AM writing about the obvious lack of national health dentists. The dentist we have been going to since coming here in 1987 is to close in two days. We have tried to get into several other practices and they've declared they're going private.

My husband and I are on an extremely low income we have a full exemption certificate, which is obviously not worth the paper it's written on because you can't find a national health dentist to take us on. And this is going to cause a lot of problems in the future.

People are going to get mouth cancer and gum problems, apart from toothache and problems with general maintenance of their teeth.

My husband and I are now in our 50s and 60s. We are not able to pay the full charges and pay some sort of dental plan. This is what the Government is pushing. It is just not on. This needs to be sorted and rapidly. They are all changing to private because of Government regulations apparently, with what we have been told. We don't really understand it and quite honestly the dentists I have spoken to don't either. This needs to be addressed very rapidly.

Mr & Mrs E, Monkseaton.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 9, 2005
Words:586
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