Parents and education workers in Philadelhpia are continuing their water only hunger strike against the closings and cutbacks in the town.

As well as protesting the sacking of hundreds of lunchtime supervisors in the schools, who help to ensure the safety of the children, the hunger strikers are also protesting against the closure of schools and the ending of creative arts programmes. In all 3800 education workers will lose their jobs if the cuts go ahead as planned.

66 instrumental music teachers are to lose their jobs and last week they and their pupils played a farewell concert. The head of the music service told the Washington Post that from now on all the students would hear would be 'the sound of silence.'

Meanwhile in another development in the US, Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook billionaire has used his cash to buy influence in the town of Newark, New Jersey, to the extent that if his foundation - the Foundation for Newark's Future - is not happy with appointments to positions of importance in the town such as the state education commissioner, he will withdraw his money - effectively holding the democratic process to ransom.