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Fishmongers examine bluefin tuna at a Tokyo fish market. Around the world, many aquatic and terrestrial species are dwindling away as humans voraciously eat them up. AFP / Yoshikazu Tsuno
Fishmongers examine bluefin tuna at a Tokyo fish market. Around the world, many aquatic and terrestrial species are dwindling away as humans voraciously eat them up. AFP / Yoshikazu Tsuno

Hungry people are destroying many other species

A reader laments The National's cheerless report on at-risk species being eaten away by voracious mankind. Other topics: Syrian protests, shy men, Catholic doctrine, Pakistan tourism, gold dispensers and, once again, bottled water

Your report Leaves a bad taste (July 17) reduced my teenage daughter to tears, and I didn't feel much better. The idea that threatened and endangered species are being killed to feed ever-growing numbers of people is just sickening.

This is particularly awful because those of us who care are powerless to do anything about the issue.

You can't blame hungry people for eating, but how can we ever organise human affairs so that sustainable food is available to all, leaving enough wildland and ocean for all the other species?

I know conservation groups are trying hard, and some governments are well-intentioned, but their efforts are no match for the hunger of growing populations.

Marie Roman, Abu Dhabi

Women can speak if men are too shy

Your article What if no one proposes? (July 16) shows surprising passivity.

From my experience in the US, Canada and the UK, there are many educated Arab women who propose to men. The other issue not addressed is that many Arab men are very shy in private.

Athar Mian, Canada

No Syrian majority against regime

I refer to your story 'A million marchers' in Syria as uprising enters its fifth month (July 16).

Syria's population is 22.5 million. Protests by one million people amount to one drop in the ocean. Supporters of the government are still in the majority.

The time for the Syrian government to worry will be when 12 million march.

Ahmet Kianin, Dubai

Hydrogen fuel can't beat electric

This is about the news report Eco-Money: China takes big risk with clean-car upgrades (July 16).

I have a hard time understanding the idea that hydrogen fuel cells will replace electric vehicles (EV), in China or anywhere else.

Once EVs become cheaper and attain better range, I believe they will have a clear advantage.

The hydrogen will have to be made using the same renewable electricity which would charge EV batteries. A manufacturing, transporting and distributing infrastructure would have to be built for hydrogen, whereas the infrastructure to charge EVs already exists. Finally, EVs are going to be there first.

Bob Wallace, Dubai

Pakistan tourism story is welcome

You don't hear much about Pakistan as a tourist destination these days, which made your report The Real Shangri-La (July 16) a truly welcome change.

I know that region a little and it is everything your writer says. The photos with your article, too, were memorable and attractive.

Malik Ahmad, Dubai

Reservations over Catholic doctrine

I quote from your story Calls in Ireland for expulsion of papal ambassador over child abuse (July 16):

"Critics of the church have attacked the Vatican's use of the concept of 'mental reservation', whereby clergy believe they can mislead and lie if they feel it serves a higher purpose."

This "mental reservation" seems to mean that Catholics believe it is acceptable to lie in defence of their faith or their church.

Ogden Lafaye, US

Deliberate waste of bottled water

I refer to the story Restaurants' charges for water 'wrong and illegal' (July 10) and all the letters about it since.

Let me recount how it is done in one Abu Dhabi restaurant:

A waiter runs to a couple's table with a 1.5 litre bottle of Aquafina.

With no questions asked, he just pours the water into the glasses. The couple say that what they wanted was beer and lemonade.

The bill includes Dh14 for "mineral water" and the manager refuses to eliminate the charge.

One glass of water was consumed, and the rest of the big bottle was intentionally wasted by the restaurant. So much for environmental protection.

The couple decides never to return to this place.

Name withheld by request

Gold machines are not ATMs

Why does The National persist in calling the machines which sell gold to tourists "ATMs"? (Two more gold ATMs coming to Abu Dhabi, July 16).

Automatic teller machines dispense cash, accept cash and cheques and provide other banklike services. These gold machines are just vending dispensers.

John Sutter, Abu Dhabi

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