x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

New material for Cleese, please

A reader is tired of hearing the British comedian being asked about his old successes. Other letter topics: taxi fares, Somali pirates, student fitness, aid for the disabled, and Maria Sharapova.

It's time for journalists to find some new questions for John Cleese, a reader says. Bjorn Sigurdson / AP
It's time for journalists to find some new questions for John Cleese, a reader says. Bjorn Sigurdson / AP

Trouble in the ranks as fares go up (May 23) was disquieting. This increase, imposed on defenceless taxicab users, was explained as being for the benefit of the drivers.

However, although the effect seems to vary from one company to another, it appears that the drivers are doing only a little better, and in some cases even a little worse, while the companies have seized some of the new revenue for themselves.

Mike Abley, Abu Dhabi

If we want to reduce traffic and parking problems, then it makes sense to have lots of taxis. The increase in fares is not helping.

Abdul Malak, Abu Dhabi

The part of Abu Dhabi's taxi changes that I don't understand is the effort to reduce the number of cruising cabs.

If I'm not able to hail a taxi at the nearest bus stop when I need one, because there are far fewer on the street, then I am less likely to use taxis and more likely to take my car when I go shopping or out on business. Is that what the authorities want?

Mark Boone, Abu Dhabi

Jail Somali pirates for long terms

Your report Somali pirates jailed for life (May 23) raises the question of whether captured pirates deserve clemency or leniency. Considering how much these petty thieves with motorboats are costing the shipping industry, I think the answer has to be that they deserve only severe punishment.

I understand that conditions are bad in Somalia, but most people there do not resort to brigandage.

In the old days, pirates were hanged from the yardarm. I would not go that far, but I understand there are prisons in Somaliland and Puntland that are accepting pirates as prisoners if somebody pays; long sentences there are the best solution.

Alex S Kemlinn, Dubai

Schools must join in obesity fight

I was pleased to read the excellent advice to parents about the prevention of childhood obesity in the letter to the editor Weight and see attitude is flawed (May 22).

However, it is not only parents who need to get a grip: teachers need to be held to account as well. My daughters, 13 and 11, eat fresh fruit and healthy sandwiches every day but are surrounded by children who openly eat sweets, cakes and fatty crisps in the playground, frequently in front of their teachers.

The well-reputed British school they attend holds "wellness" forums for parents and pupils but also has many bake sales each term, always featuring doughnuts, fizzy drinks and the like.

Many of the teachers are significantly overweight, including those who teach sport, yet they do nothing to prevent this gluttony or to support the children in their care by suggesting healthy alternatives.

Nargis Walker, Abu Dhabi

Still much to do for the disabled

I took great interest in Disabled 'could learn from Arab Spring' (May 22), about how technology can help people with special needs.

My family, including my autistic 17-year-old son, arrived in the UAE around the start of the year. Having travelled extensively we were all quite shocked at the lack of special needs facilities in public places here. This greatly limits recreational opportunities for our son and the whole family.

Some basic issues about the disabled need attention.

I fully endorse Mohammed Al Nabulsi's comments about how social media can help people with special needs to lead better lives.

My son has access to an iPad and a Light writer text-to-speech device for facilitated communication. These have greatly enhanced his quality of life.

But people with special needs also require support through public facilities.

Anna Constas, Abu Dhabi

Find some new topics for Cleese

Ever since I was a preteen I have been laughing at the comedy of John Cleese (Something a little different, May 23).

But please, let us have no more interviews asking him how he feels now about Monty Python's Flying Circus or Fawlty Towers.

I feel as if I have seen those questions, and the answers to them, 100 times.

Chris Pascucce, Dubai

Sharapova is more than a pretty face

Thank you to Chuck Culpepper for speaking up for Maria Sharapova in the column True grit outweighs glamour (May 23).

Yes, the lady is attractive and has a glamorous side. But as your columnist notes, she has now more than proved that she is a serious athlete as well. She deserves respect for that.

Wayne Eagan, US