x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Education must be open for all

Lawmakers should remember the concerns of special-needs students and their families, a reader writes. Other letter topics: fair trade, Australia, digital freedom, fireworks and Indian investment.

Vera Magnusson home-schools her 4-year-old son Bjorn, who has been rejected by schools because he suffers from a slight auditory sensory problem. A reader urges better special-needs education. Razan Alzayani / The National
Vera Magnusson home-schools her 4-year-old son Bjorn, who has been rejected by schools because he suffers from a slight auditory sensory problem. A reader urges better special-needs education. Razan Alzayani / The National

How can we be sure about 'fair trade' goods?

Fair trade lays down roots in the UAE (December 3) sets out a vision that is all well and good - in theory.

But which authority actively moderates the promotion and authenticity of "fair trade" produce here in the UAE?

Are we to take claims by different companies only at face value? It has become more and more evident that some companies are falsely stating that their products are "fairly" traded, purely to hike up retail prices.

The joke will be on the consumer if this is not regulated properly.

Alex Peterson, Dubai

The story about the "fair trade" movement is inspirational. Last month's deadly fire in a factory in Bangladesh reminds us again that many of the products we think of as bargains, in attire for example, are no bargain to the poor workers who produce them.

The fair trade movement can help improve conditions for workers and farmers in many poor countries, and deserves support.

Alexa Ambroziak, Dubai

Keep the internet open for traffic

"Information wants to be free," people say. But governments want tax revenue, and I think that is the real issue in the fight going on at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai.

There are many issues there but I have a guiding principle to offer: the internet is a huge 20-lane motorway which facilitates lucrative rapid trade - in goods, services and ideas. Many brigands, both corporate and governmental, want to establish toll booths along the motorway. What will be the effect of that? Nothing good.

John Avila, Abu Dhabi

Australians happy to retain crown

I refer to the letter Don't lump us in with the British (December 2), in which AE Vass states: "An Australian republic cannot come soon enough for us."

He was suggesting that most Australians want a republic.

Well, I am Australian, I love our history and being part of the British Commonwealth. I can assure you that most Australians would prefer to stay with the Brits than to become a republic.

So I say to Mr Vass: speak for yourself, mate, not for all of us.

Brigitte von Bulow, Abu Dhabi

Best wishes for new arrival

Boy arrives in time to share UAE's birthday (December 3) was a joy to read.

Congratulations and much peace to Randa Eltayeb. I wish her and her baby, Yousuf Elmouez, good health and happiness for life.

Cheryl Collins, US

Fireworks evoke unhappy images

My neighbours and I all enjoyed the fireworks displays over the Corniche during the National Day weekend.

However, there was a real tinge of sadness to the event because we could not help thinking that while our children looked on in delight at the aerial explosions, in Syria there was death, not pleasure, in the air.

TR Menon, Abu Dhabi

Make extra effort for all children

Every child deserves the right to an education. The issue raised in Special needs children may suffer if expat schooling bill passed (November 17) is very important and requires immediate attention.

All parents should be encouraged to educate their children, not punished for making the effort in an already challenging situation.

Raya Asfour, Dubai

Indian tax reform can lure investors

It is good that the Indian government is working to bring in more foreign investment (New pharmaceutical FDI guidelines set for approval in India, December 3).

But what of the special enterprise zones that were set up for this very purpose? They are today reeling under the minimum alternate tax rules and therefore have seen a drastic fall in their capacity to rope in foreign investors, or even hold on to existing ones. Rolling back this minimum tax in enterprise zones would give a major boost to foreign investment.

Shrut Sharma, India

Not everyone enjoys the view

Yes, the Etihad Towers are attractive (Winsome curves win high praise, December 4), or at least they will be when the construction mess and din, that have been going on forever, finally subside.

But my neighbours and I would like them a lot more if only they didn't block the sweeping view we used to have from our balconies.

Frances Lloyd, Abu Dhabi