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Sand artists such as Shayma Al Maghairy can do incredible work, a reader says. Pawan Singh / The National
Sand artists such as Shayma Al Maghairy can do incredible work, a reader says. Pawan Singh / The National

Magical effects from sand artists

Sand animation attracts some wonderfully talented people, a readers suggests. Other letters deal with vitamin D, the cost of driving, the law on rape, and leaving things until the last minute.

Pay attention to your daily dose of sun for vitamin D

I refer to a letter to the editor entitled Doctors can create confusion (August 10).

As a family physician, I face a lot of questions - and confusion - related to this issue. I have some points to make that I hope will be useful to people concerned about this matter.

The amount of vitamin D produced by the body in response to sunlight depends on the person's skin colour. You probably need from five to 30 minutes of exposure to the skin on your face, arms, back or legs (without sunscreen), twice a week.

Bur remember that the intensity of UVB rays is reduced by clouds and air pollution, and that UVB will not travel through glass. This last point means that simply sitting inside next to a window will not in itself lead to getting enough vitamin D.

If you're fair-skinned, then going outside for 10 minutes in the midday sun, with limbs mostly exposed, ought to give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units (IUs) of the vitamin in your body. Dark-skinned individuals and the elderly produce less vitamin D.

Official dietary recommendations are that people should get 200 IUs a day up to age 50, 400 IUs to age 70, and 600 IUs over 70.

But many experts believe that these recommendations are far too low, and advocate supplementation whenever one doesn't get enough sunshine.

Also vitamin D levels can be monitored by your family physician.

Dr Aida Saade, Lebanon

Petrol isn't the only cost of driving

I refer to your special report on the different ways to travel, Race to Dubai: are four wheels faster than two wings? (July 31).

Hareth Al Bustani, your reporter who travelled by car, seems to be unaware that in addition to the cost of the fuel, he also has to pay for insurance, Salik, registration fees, and maintenance.

And all of this is even before we consider the cost of depreciation of his car, which can be as much as 25 per cent per year.

The fuel cost is actually one of the smaller parts of the cost of running a car.

Peter Jenkins, Dubai

Sand animations can be magical

Thank you for posting the article The UAE's sand animation masters (Aug 1). I was once at an official function in Abu Dhabi where a sand artist was present. It was nice to watch her make some incredible sand pictures in a short span of time. It was magical.

Brigitte von Bulow, Abu Dhabi

Rape law doesn't advance justice

International coverage of UAE law: ignorance is no excuse (July 23) was an interesting analysis of the case of the Norwegian woman Marte Dalelv. The problem is not that adultery is illegal but that women who complain of rape are likely to be treated as guilty.

Ms Dalelv was held in jail for at least four days before, it is reported, she admitted that there had been no rape. She was apparently under the impression that this would make the charge go away.

Women are left with the idea that not reporting, or denying, a rape is a preferred option. And this is a big part of the problem.

Name withheld by request

Indian politicians get bargain meals

India's poverty data cheers politicians, but not the poor (August 11) shows that foot-in-mouth syndrome is on the rise among India's politicians.

Raj Babbar, Rasheed Masood and Farooq Abdullah all gave absurdly low estimates of the cost of a meal.

One suspects they were thinking of the subsidised Parliamentary canteen, where prices are astonishingly low.

It is saddening that privileged MPs have lost touch with the real world outside.

This is a cruel joke on the millions who have no access to the Parliamentary canteen.

CS Pathak, Dubai

Student should learn good lesson

I have a comment on your news story Student stranded in Abu Dhabi after US embassy shutdown (August 12).

I'll bet the student has learnt a valuable lesson: don't put off important tasks until the last minute.

Teri Adams, Dubai

Attitudes have not changed enough

I refer to the news article Briton who slapped guard in row over parking space fined Dh3,000 by Dubai court (August 5).

It is truly sad that there are still people who believe that they can get away with abusing the poor.

I hope the fine in this case will teach a lesson, and not just to the person who must pay it.

Murli Rao, India

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