x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Farm fresh is a fantasy

Despite the presence of many small farms in the UAE, fresh local produce continues to be elusive in many supermarkets, one reader contends. Other letter topics today: continuing education, America's anti-Islamic sentiment, new bank rules and isolating Iran.

Fresh produce abounds at the Baker and Spice Framers Market in Dubai. Sadly, one reader laments, the same can't be said for the country's supermarkets. Charles Crowell / The National
Fresh produce abounds at the Baker and Spice Framers Market in Dubai. Sadly, one reader laments, the same can't be said for the country's supermarkets. Charles Crowell / The National

I refer to Reform in schools to cut rate of dropouts (December 13).

One way to encourage dropouts to go back to school would be to have a programme offering something like the American general educational development (GED) certificate: a diploma for anyone who hasn't completed school but passes certain tests.

This can be considered to be a high school diploma, opening the door to some further training.

Currently anyone looking to continue their education has to go through every grade since they dropped out, and just the thought of that puts many people off.

Ahmed Al Hashemi, Abu Dhabi

Ban on Muslims is tragic comedy

Hotel bans Muslim over US national security (December 13) is tragicomic.

A Moroccan-born US citizen and 11 other employees of a hotel were banned from working in proximity with an Israeli delegation staying at the hotel, on supposed grounds of "national security".

So what will happen if Saudis go to Washington and do not want to be served by Jews, or Indians refuse to be served by Pakistani hotel employees?

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

That story makes me question the policies of that hotel, and leaves me concerned about the rise of anti-Islamic sentiment in America.

Doesn't America have laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender or religion?

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

New bank rules deserve support

Tougher bank rules a threat to Gulf trade (December 12) is good news, isn't it?

This should be just the kind of thing to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those that can't stand the proverbial heat need to get out of the international kitchen.

Your headline somehow implies that these new requirements are a bad thing. But shoddy businesses can't be expected to be shielded from the effect of the world economic problems. If we substituted "global warming initiatives" for "tougher bank rules", would we be so eager to jump up and say "yes, but not in my back yard"?

Dan O'Bannon, Dubai

Iran isn't really very isolated

I have a comment about your story Capture of US drone provides respite for Iran (December 11).

I wonder what makes this author think Iran is "isolated". Certainly, it's not isolated from Russia, China and other Asian nations. Perhaps this author imagines that Europe, which is facing its own economic meltdown, and the US actually matter as much as they used to?

Bill Purkayastha, India

Syrian election is just a farce

I refer to Syrian opposition refuse to stand in 'utterly meaningless' elections (December 13).

Consider the farce: Baathist authorities hail the nationwide ballot as a critical step towards democracy, but those who will organise the election are from the Baath party, those who will count the votes are Baathists and those who will announce the results are Baathists. What a democracy!

The only significance of the election is that it shows the limits of the Assads' reforms. Around the region countries are really electing new presidents and parliaments, but Syrians are "graced" with municipal elections while at the same time being killed for protesting.

Muhsin Ghannam, Syria

Someone should repatriate maids

It is shameful that many poor immigrant maids, who come to the Middle East to eke out a living for their families back home, end up trapped in shelters (Maid's case shows gaps in the system, December 13).

These women are not criminals but they have no foreseeable end to their plight.

It would be a wonderful gesture for someone to arrange for national airlines to put on special extra flights to clear the backlog and repatriate these helpless souls.

Criminals are pardoned and released each year by Government decree; to clear the slate of these poor maids would send a wonderful message to the world.

Name withheld by request

Local produce must be fresh

Push to put local food on more plates (December 12) seems to me to be sound policy.

My complaint however is that somewhere in the supply chain, a lot of local produce seems to sit in a warehouse for a few days before it gets to the supermarkets: it really should be fresher than imported, but rarely is.

Katherine Lyons, Abu Dhabi