It is time that the process of declaring public holidays in the UAE is reformed. As a manager at a small business, the lack of predictability and late notice regarding public holidays is a constant difficulty. The latest announcement regarding the private sector holiday for the Islamic New Year, which has suddenly been moved to Saturday, December 4, is the latest decision from the Ministry of Labour in this area. I do not understand how suddenly a religious holiday based on the lunar calendar can be changed in this way. As far as I am aware, the UAE is the only GCC country to have taken this step.
The Ministry may believe that they are helping companies by reducing the number of paid annual holidays, but this is counter-productive as changing holidays in this way at such late notice causes employee resentment and forces companies to play guessing games regarding the intentions of their clients and suppliers. This undermines productivity and affects the ability of companies to plan ahead.
Uncertainty regarding holiday dates is far more costly for companies than the holidays themselves. The UAE should take the lead in establishing a clear public holiday schedule that can be communicated in advance to companies and employees.
Peter S O'Laranon, Abu Dhabi
A pair of brothers under the skin
In reference to Talks collapse as Israel vetoes freeze (December 9), for as long as the right-wing Likud party holds power in Israel, there will be no cessation of illegal settlements in the West Bank. These settlements or "facts on the ground" are an integral part of the Likud's strategy to make the entire area of former Palestine Arab free. The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's play-acting is an obvious device to maintain the status quo and illegal settlements by pretending to enter into peace talks - in much the same way that Iran pretends to talk about dismantling its nuclear programme.
Both Mr Netanyahu and the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinijad are brothers in kind. They both pull the strings that make the US and the EU and the UN dance to their respective tunes.
Colin Dale, UK
The aftermath of Sarkozy's visit
This refers to the article Call for calm after bombing in India (October 8), which reported on a terrorist explosion in Varanasi, an ancient holy city and tourist destination.
This followed a recent statement by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy while touring India and paying homage to victims of 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai that left hundreds of people dead. He called for the Pakistani authorities to step up their efforts in combating terrorism.
While in India, the French president said he hoped for a reformed UN Security Council in which he expects India to be a permanent member.
This clearly endorses the fact that India, being a responsible country of a billion plus population, is also a rising economic hub and needs true global recognition.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman
A tribute to a grandmother
I am one of the readers who was moved by Rym Ghazal's article about her beloved grandmother and Sophia Loren, A salute to Ms Loren and women of timeless beauty (December 2). I loved how descriptive and emotive she was. Her feelings are still raw and having lost my father a decade ago, I can empathise. I can also share that it never goes away but gets easier.
I hope she will have many more happy memories about her grandmother and loved ones.
Linda Sharaf Khaoula, Abu Dhabi
Western influence promotes drugs
In reference to the editorial Awareness can combat addiction (December 9), a more comprehensive explanation for the increase in drug abuse is that western influences that promote drug use are gaining hold over youth. This is occurring through the attraction of western media and cultural activities.
Why are major events always highly promoted, fashioned, and run according to western cultural standards?
Having just moved to the UAE from America, I can personally testify that American culture is inundated with destructive cultural trends, such as drugs and immoral sexual conduct.
Mus Ab, Abu Dhabi
Source of British reaction to Fifa
In response to the sports article England were too arrogant, (December 9), no, they weren't. If they were too arrogant, why did they send David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham to Fifa in Zurich? Russia didn't even send Vladimir Putin. The bad British reaction was due to Fifa officials promising votes and lying.
Dave Sheen, Abu Dhabi