Readers comment on how Somali pirates' demand for expenses reflects an absurd situation, the fairness of charging 'weekend' fees on Thursday, India's Maoist rebellion and nuclear safety.
Extra wheelchair charges should be investigated
My wife's parents recently arrived for a visit to the UAE at Abu Dhabi Airport's Terminal 2. The airline had already charged them Dh600 (Dh300 each) to arrange for two wheelchairs at arrival in Abu Dhabi.
Wheelchairs provided at the departure airport were free of charge. Now that we are planning their return trip we are being advised that another Dh600 will need to be paid for arranging the two wheelchairs at departure from Abu Dhabi.
The airline is advising that this charge is levied by the Abu Dhabi Airport authorities.
I would like to mention that their respective ages are 80 and 75. Nowhere else in the world are such charges levied for deserving and elderly passengers. The Dh1,200 is approximately the price of a round-trip air ticket.
The authorities should kindly address this issue.
M Khan, Abu Dhabi
Pirates' demand for costs is absurd
In reference to Pirates may settle for expenses to free ship (March 28), I find the case entirely surreal as the pirates asked "at least" for the "expenses" they incurred feeding the crew members and for the maintenance of the ship.
They were not paid $10 million (Dh3.67 million) ransom that they had demanded in November 2010 from either the shipping company or crew members' relatives.
If a ransom is paid to pirates every time a ship is hijacked, then pirates will keep hijacking ships. However if it is not paid, then ships may not be released and crew members may be killed.
Countries with coasts that have not been governed efficiently for years will continue to encourage piracy to flourish.
Begum Budak, Turkey
'Weekend' fee on Thursday is wrong
I was appalled to learn that Fun City in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, is charging weekend prices at 11am on a Thursday. My two-year-old was about to embark on the bouncy castle when I was advised that, due to it being a "weekend", I had to pay weekend prices.
I have become accustomed to not taking such conversations at face value and to always probe further. I knew the attendant did not make up the rule and was simply obeying orders, but I probed nonetheless, with a view to hearing something refreshing (I know, I should get out more).
I politely reminded the attendant that the official weekend in the UAE falls on Friday and Saturday. The punch line arrived: the attendant exclaimed sheepishly that "the management" has decided that Thursday counts as a weekend. With this in mind, I politely declined and pulled my child off (albeit with a tantrum).
I now look forward to visiting Fun City on Monday when I will probably be advised "the management" will be charging weekend prices seven days a week because everyday is a weekend. Of course, the management is unlikely to be paying their attendants weekend salaries. Or will they?
Sabina Adam, Abu Dhabi
Violence will cost Maoists sympathy
I first became familiar with the Saranda Forest of eastern India when I heard the news that two Italians, Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo, had been taken hostage in mid-March and then one Indian politician, Jhina Hikaka, taken in late March by Maoist rebels (India sets out on a fight for the forest, March 28).
These rebels fight against the government to help the poor and landless, and also for the release of some Maoist rebels, but nonetheless their continued violence results in hundreds dying in the conflict and forests being destroyed.
The rebels have been likened to Robin Hood's bandits and have attracted sympathy for their cause, but they have put the lives of innocent tribal villagers at risk, sadly.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government should strive to develop the Saranda Forest as currently roads, bridges, schools and other amenities are reportedly absent in the region.
Gaye Caglayan, Dubai
Call for stricter nuclear inspection
Security of nuclear facilities is paramount to minimising the risk of terrorists acquiring weapons-grade uranium and warheads (UAE gives $1m to help track nuclear material, March 28).
It's critical that the IAEA and the UN Security Council embark on a programme to test nuclear facilities for gaps in security.
How easy is it to steal a nuclear warhead? How easy is it to acquire enriched uranium and weaponise it? The UN should inspect both military installations and power plants wherever enriched uranium is stock piled.
Nuclear facilities aren't going to disappear overnight - although Japan and Germany are phasing them out. But taking the proper security measures is a step in the right direction.
Randall Mohammed, Dubai