x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

A shameful action

A reader wonders why, after so many years of occupying Afghanistan, Nato and allied forces still can't respect Muslims' most sacred text? Other letter topics today: putting an end to cheating, nuclear ambitions, forgotten Biharis, consumer protection and the value of the FNC.

Stone-throwers at Bagram airbase demonstrate their rage over an incident of Quran-burning. Readers say that the US and allied military officers should have known better. MassoudHossaini / AFP
Stone-throwers at Bagram airbase demonstrate their rage over an incident of Quran-burning. Readers say that the US and allied military officers should have known better. MassoudHossaini / AFP

The comment article In a digital age, it's worth asking cheaters a question or two (February 22) was very interesting. The idea of making each exam candidate sit for a live, personal discussion with teachers, as a final examination, is excellent in theory.

(Who was it, in antiquity, who said that the best school is a log with a student sitting at one end and a teacher at the other?)

But this would not be very practical at bigger universities. In a first-year class of, say, 200 students, even a 30-minute interview for each would take 100 hours, roughly three workweeks, of the professor's time.

No wonder this method is usually reserved for doctorate candidates.

Len Kennedy, Abu Dhabi

Students know that there are plenty of ways to cheat if they want to.

The joke at my school is that it doesn't matter for arts majors, but those learning to be architects, engineers, pilots and so on had better learn their lessons properly.

Ross McClennan, US

Nuclear powers are hypocritical

It is surprising that those who already have enough nuclear ammunition to destroy the world many times over are worried and anxious when other countries try to go nuclear (Concern high over global oil supplies, February 20).

Isn't this hypocrisy?

Why don't all countries simply destroy their nuclear arms at the same time, so that the world can rid itself of the fear of destruction?

Dr KB Vijayakumar, Dubai

Tragic ignorance about the Quran

It is tragic that after occupying Afghanistan for so many years the Nato/allied forces still can't differentiate between the Quran and other books (Afghan fury over burnt Qurans, February 22).

These are troubling and testing times for Muslims.

Name withheld by request

I was struck by the shameful action of some stupid individuals at a US airbase in Kabul.

Foreign troops in Afghanistan are there to bring lasting peace and stability and not to disrespect religious practices of the Afghan people.

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

Only politicians can help Biharis

I refer to your news story Echoes of partition leave Biharis still without home (February 21).

It is saddening that both Pakistani and Bangladeshi officials refuse to welcome Biharis. Bangladesh calls them "stranded Pakistanis" and Pakistan calls them "stranded Bangladeshis" so they are unwelcome in either country.

The UK, the US and the European-based Bihar Development Foundation seem to be doing well in raising awareness of the problem around the world.

But now it is political leaders who must take the issue seriously if anything is going to be done to help these people.

Ayse Arzu Caglayan, Turkey

Why delay action on overpricing?

The decision reported in Deadline for Pepsi and Coke speaks volumes (February 22) - to delay by one month the removal of 300 ml cans of cola products from store shelves - is, like many other decision in such matters, too lenient.

The authorities should just have started fining the companies by the day as soon as this practice of selling small cans was discovered.

It is good however that they are getting rid of the "tourist" cans.

Donald Glass, Abu Dhabi

I believe the authorities should let market forces sort out the retail price of soft drinks. In any situation where brand-name products suddenly become more expensive, the solution can be found in competition.

If there is enough competition in a sector, consumers will soon move to lower-price products of similar quality.

If there are no such products, either there is not enough competition or else there is a natural bottleneck - a poor harvest, for example - that is justifiably keeping the price high.

Free markets can regulate prices more quickly, more efficiently and more justly than any government. Where free-market prices create genuine hardship - not the case with cola - government handouts to the neediest may sometimes be needed.

Eugene Mouratides, Dubai

FNC coverage is welcomed

Thank you for your continuing coverage of the Federal National Council, including Minister quizzed on border controls and other stories on February 22.

Anyone who follows these stories can see that the FNC is off to a good start in communicating with the different ministers and officials.

Samir Sayed, Abu Dhabi