x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

For China, a big change on Syria

By Chinese standards, that country's new position on Syria represents a substantial change, a reader says. Other letter topics: Arabs and the enlightenment, fish on the Metro, North Korea, Womad and food prices.

A reader welcomes the news that China now supports humanitarian aid for Syrian civilians like these. Bulent Kilic / AFP
A reader welcomes the news that China now supports humanitarian aid for Syrian civilians like these. Bulent Kilic / AFP

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that North Korea has agreed to a nuclear moratorium, and that the US will give food aid in return (North Korea to halt work on nuclear arms, March 1).

But during six-party talks in September 2005 Kim Jong-il agreed to abandon his nuclear ambitions in exchange for aid, but the deal was never completed.

North Korea's new young leader will, I hope, stick to his promise, unlike his father.

North Koreans desperately need the proposed 240,000 tonnes of food aid.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Column was enlightening

I thoroughly enjoyed Why is enlightenment still 700 years behind Ibn Battuta? (February 29), by your columnist Ali Khaled.

I am really impressed, and from a veteran reader this should mean something.

The last line was particularly effective: "But today, many Muslims at every level of society are simply speechless."

How true.

Syed Mohyuddin Hashmi, Abu Dhabi

That was a well-done column about the story of Ibn Battuta.

People like the columnist, Ali Khaled, are making non-Arabs and non-Muslims aware of the rich and golden history of Arabs and Muslim. We need more of this; keep the good work flowing.

Nasser Abdalla, Abu Dhabi

Fishy story had a clever headline

My wife and I laughed out loud at the headline Fish on the Metro: they're unwanted, dead or alive (March 1)

The story was entertaining and the headline summed it up very neatly.

Michael Daoud, Dubai

Pearling industry good for society

An ancient local culture reinvented (March 1) explained very well why and how community-based projects such as "pearling" contribute to a society socially and culturally, as well as being profitable.

I appreciate the efforts of Abdulla Rashed Al Suwaidi, the managing director of RAK Pearls Holding, to take the cultured pearl concept to other parts of the UAE and the wider Gulf.

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

China's change on Syria is welcome

Beijing softens its stance over Syria with humanitarian plea (March 1) was very good news.

Until now China has been intractable about tyrants mistreating their people, because they worry what the world may someday say, or even do, about China's own abuses of its minorities.

This change shows that China is susceptible to world opinion.

Narish Chandwani, Dubai

Price controls mean shortages

Retailers baulk at price monitoring (March 1) includes some insightful comments from analysts warning, in different words, that companies that lose money on a product will soon stop selling that product.

Last year's petrol crisis in the Northern Emirates was a good example: when price controls come in, shortages follow.

This is bad enough when it hit petrol supplies, but will be a much bigger crisis when it applies to staple foods.

Peter Burrell, Dubai

Price controls and monitoring of retail prices will make companies maintain their total profits by raising prices on uncontrolled luxury goods, one expert says in the story.

That's fine with me: it amounts to richer people subsidising the poor, and that's not a bad thing.

Lynda Moore, Abu Dhabi

What happened to Womad 2012?

A week ago you reported bad news for Abu Dhabi music fans (Womad music festival cancelled this year, February 23).

Like no doubt many others, I'm hoping this decision will be reversed, or modified, or at least explained. Last year was my first Womad season in this country and it was a joyous time of music and fun. I'll miss it.

Mark Lepage, Abu Dhabi

World economy is gaining ground

Your business section had some encouraging reports (US economy prompts some cheer and German jobless rate holds steady, both March 1).

Despite all the euro's problems and the sabre-rattling in the Strait of Hormuz, the world economy has more vitality and resilience than some people expected.

Peter Hopper, Dubai