x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Fade to black

A reader is happy to see dusk descend on the Twilight film series, and hope to see something more relevant at the cinema. Other letter topics include Wadeema's law and minimum salaries.

Star Robert Pattinson meets fans at this week's London premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. A reader hopes that all vampire films are now dead and buried. Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Star Robert Pattinson meets fans at this week's London premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. A reader hopes that all vampire films are now dead and buried. Luke MacGregor / Reuters

Wadeema's law a welcome initiative to protect children

I was pleased to read Wadeema's Law drafted to curb child abuse and neglect (November 13).

I have been following Wadeema's case since I heard of it in July. It left me speechless, and I wondered how heartless people had to be to torture an 8-year-old child to death, then bury her in the desert.

Thankfully, Wadeema's 7-year-old sister Mira survived the hot-irons and electric shocks, and is now staying at the Dubai Children and Women's Foundation.

Naming this new law after Wadeema will always keep her memory alive. The fact that the law will provide for child protection specialists shows the UAE's determination to give special care to young people.

Restricting convicted abusers from working in any job linked to children further ensures that no other youngster will face what Wadeema went through.

Congratulations to the authorities for acting on abuse and approving laws to protect children - and especially to Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who has followed the case, called for the law to progress, and asked that it be named after Wadeema.

Sherouk Zakaria, Sharjah

Blocking Skype makes no sense

I am an expatriate American now living in Abu Dhabi after a couple of years in Al Ain.

Through my previous job, I have had experience with Etisalat and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), and I have been struck by the difference between the stated goals of these organisation and their actions.

About three years ago, a prominent citizen wrote a newspaper article in which he argued that Etisalat blocking Skype was conceptually similar to blocking fax machines, in that they are preventing people from using a tool that is widely used by the rest of the world.

His argument was that this puts UAE businessmen at a disadvantage when trying to compete with anyone outside of the UAE. He was, and is, exactly right.

Recent tests show that Etisalat has become even more aggressive in blocking Skype, and it seems to me that this simply should not be allowed by the TRA. Doing so is conceptually identical to the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company telling its customers which type of devices they are allowed to connect to the electricity supply.

Now, on the issue of internet performance. According to Speedtest.Etisalat.ae, I get about .020 GBS (gigabits per second) downstream and .00067 GBS upstream for the price of Dh350 per month.

In Kansas City, in the US, Google provides a 1.00 GBS bidirectional service for the equivalent of Dh250 per month. Last year, living in Munich, Germany, I got .025 GBS down and .010 GBS upstream for Dh50 a month.

I think it is obvious that internet access in the UAE has been very poorly handled. This is in sharp contrast to the mobile phone service and road building, where the performance is excellent.

Terry Horton, Abu Dhabi

Saudi rule will hit workers' salaries

The decision described in Saudi sets new foreign hiring policy (November 15) will have an effect on expatriates' salaries.

Private companies, which now face being fined for having too many foreign workers, won't lose money.

A Niembro, Abu Dhabi

Online payments system a mystery

I read PayPal befriends Middle East (November 15) with interest.

I signed up for PayPal many years ago and used it once. Now I pay for online purchases directly by credit card - and I've never had a security issue with doing so.

Am I missing something, or is PayPal an unneeded middle man?

K Throssel, Dubai

Minimum wages remain important

Regarding Employer ignoring wage law for Filipinos (November 13), how enforceable is the requirement that maids be paid US$400 (Dh 1,470) per month?

Clearly Mona, the woman quoted in your story, and recruitment agencies know about the law but choose to ignore it.

I'd like to know more about how the law is enforced and what other requirements there may be regarding domestic labour. Is there a place to report the fact that some employers underpay their staff?

Minimum wages are important, even in market economies.

M Carr, Dubai

Pleased to see the sun set on Twilight

The sun also rises (November 15) promises that this is the "final instalment" of the Twilight Saga. I'm glad that that's in writing.

I realise they have an audience, but I'm tired of films about vampires, werewolves and wizards.

Can we have something more down to Earth and relevant to our lives next, please?

James O'Shea, Dubai