x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Money direct to the needy

Cash grants to impoverished people in shantytowns, provided that they get inoculations and keep their children in school, are a valuable tool, a reader says. Other topics: Mawaqif, changes to The National and adverts by SMS.

Filipinos in shantytowns like this benefit from conditional cash payments, a reader says. Francis R Malasig / EPA
Filipinos in shantytowns like this benefit from conditional cash payments, a reader says. Francis R Malasig / EPA

In certain areas of Abu Dhabi, I must admit, parking has improved immensely with Mawaqif.

However I live in the Tourist Club area, where the machines went up a couple weeks ago. Now I find that all the parking near my building is "residential permit holders only" from 9pm to 8am (Paid parking spaces increase by 4,644 at Tourist Club, February 19).

Does this mean that people living here are not allowed visitors after 9pm? I regularly have family and friends over for dinner; so of course do many other people.

This residents-only parking rule must be a mistake, it just seems so illogical.

I hope this gets sorted out.

Neusha Farley, Abu Dhabi

Readers comment on our changes

Congratulations, mostly, on the changes to The National.

I think that in general newspapers put too much attention into design and not enough into content, and I hope The National will continue to focus its resources on the message, more than on the medium.

VJ Chaterjee, Dubai

I'm glad to read that you will be expanding the listings in the Arts & Life section of The National.

More options of different things that we can do will be welcome, especially if they include not just for-profit venues but also free lectures and educational events of different types.

Theodora Grieg, Abu Dhabi

Your new Luxury magazine (May 3) looks wonderful. The large format gives it a lot of presence and the idea of changing topics each month promises a lot of diversity.

Too bad it's going to be only once every four weeks.

Helen Lyons, Dubai

I am happy to hear that all the weekend sections of The National will be appearing on Fridays instead of Saturdays, as I was often still trying to catch up with the Saturday paper in the middle of the next week.

However, I cannot believe that you are turning M magazine into the Ultratravel and Luxury magazines.

Are you trying to alienate the large proportion of your readers who do not wish to spend Dh20,000 on a dress, nor to stay in a 5-star hotel in the Maldives?

I have slavishly read M from cover to cover every week, though I do skip the fashion pages, with their ridiculously priced, nonsensical clothing.

But the rest of the magazine has been witty, light-hearted and about things I can relate to.

Emma Smart, Abu Dhabi

This morning over breakfast and the paper I was saying to my wife "this new Luxury magazine is just like the little magazine that used to appear in The National - all for women. Why isn't there a magazine for men?"

Silently, she handed me the sport section.

Walter Nicholls, Abu Dhabi

Transfer schemes are a good idea

I refer to A scheme to shield the Philippines' poor (May 3).

Conditional cash transfer schemes such as Philippines' pantawid pamilya are worth emulating.

Immediate help to the poor and to the most vulnerable can end vicious cycles of poverty and improve health, education and opportunities.

These plans are simply prudent safety net for poor families.

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

Unwanted texts annoy everyone

I was delighted to read Sheikh Abdullah complains about Etisalat spam (May 2).

He was objecting to news alerts rather than commercial advertisements, but the principle is the same: unwanted SMS messages are no way to advertise, or to build public goodwill.

On the same day that the story about Sheikh Abdullah appeared on page one, The National was kind enough to print my letter to the editor complaining about SMS adverts.

It is interesting - and makes me hopeful - to note that people at different levels of society have the same opinion about unsolicited messages.

Michel Daoud, Dubai

"According to Etisalat," your story says, "to unsubscribe from an unwanted text service, SMS the letter 'B' followed by the four-digit code from the message sender and text it to 1011."

But what about the senders who have codes that are not four digits?

What SMS spam company is doing this, anyway? It's not the individual companies and restaurants.

Irwin Fletcher, Dubai

I wish that some person would organise a campaign to boycott companies that choose to advertise by SMS.

These intrusive adverts are always unwelcome, especially when one is at work or spending time with family and friends.

Abdel Hamed, Abu Dhabi