The awarding of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar is a commendable part of Fifa's efforts to put the 'world' element back into the competition: and it will also benefit the entire GCC.
Reactions to Qatar's win for the World Cup
As reported in the news article Qatar's win 'a source of pride to all of us' (December 3), Russia and Qatar were named the Fifa World Cup hosts for 2018 and 2022 respectively to their own jubilation and to England's chagrin. The English press asserted claims of corruption, cheating and favouritism.
Some claim that the move was all about money - it probably was and there is nothing wrong with that at all. It will, after all, take money (and lots of it) to host these events and Russia and Qatar have it, and from all indications, a global recession and massive cuts in public spending, England (and indeed Europe) doesn't.
But logic and common sense aside, Fifa has also been aiming to put the "World" into the World Cup.
In the 19 events since the beginning of the competition in 1930, 10 were hosted by European nations. Indeed, the World Cup was seeing a revolving door of winners and qualifiers happily broken by Spain, first-time winner in the 2010 competition.
The danger is to see a similar list of the "usual suspects" taking on hosting duties and benefiting from the potential commerce thereof. Fifa is absolutely right to spread opportunity - one that doesn't always guarantee profit as the gains for hosts are usually over the long term.
Some objections to Qatar's selection cite a small population, its negligible footballing presence, relatively small size and very high summer temperatures as the main reasons that make Fifa's decision a questionable one.
Qatar countered with a promise of climate controlled stadiums and the relocation of the same to developing countries after the competition.
This was a savvy and thoughtful response, and if the ambition, growth and wealth of the region is anything to go by, they are capable of living up to their word.
Craig Young, Dubai
Congratulations to the Emir and the people of Qatar on being awarded the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
This is the greatest moment for the Middle East and the GCC countries.
The wonderful aspect of this event is that it will usher in a new era for the GCC, as the host country will need to create the appropriate infrastructure to hold the tournament in all its glory, and in doing so will indirectly inculcate in other member countries the necessity to enhance their own infrastructure, thereby encouraging global foreign direct investment in a big way. This will further the scope for holding major events such as this one, thereby enabling a boost to their individual economies.
The event will also prove to be a superb public relations platform, affording tremendous opportunities to the host country to display its capabilities in development and technological advancement.
Surely, directly or indirectly, the future looks very bright indeed for the region.
Amit Bhattacharjie, Abu Dhabi
Reasons for North Korean attack
Tony Karon's opinion article Battleships can no longer answer North Korean bluster (November 29) is a fair summing up of North Korean sabre rattling.
It unlikely that North Korea can proceed further as there is tremendous pressure from the UN and the international community that will not allow the act of shelling an island to escalate further and ultimately North Korea will have to return to the negotiation table.
Moreover, Pyongyang will be isolated if it continues this adventure further than a few shots. China may give it moral boost along with some military hardware, but will not enter into the conflict as this will affect its economic and industrial gains that have propelled it into a budding superpower status.
It is beyond any logical reason why North Korea has chosen to enter into an aggressive mood and start shelling South Korean territory.
South Korea cannot be wiped out, and Pyongyang cannot walk in like Hitler did in Europe during the Second World War. It is probably a political ploy to gain some concession or aid from the US and the EU who would not like to see the peace in that region give way to smoke and fire.
With the United States entering into the conflict the military equation does not remain balanced. The US is a formidable force in the world and North Korea is no match against it.
The situation is different from Afghanistan and Iraq. Pyongyang will do better if it follows the patterns adopted by China, South Korea, and India as it will bring economic progress and peace in the region.
Nazim H Khan, Abu Dhabi
Inexorable rise of consumer prices
I refer to High consumer prices hurt UAE (November 30). You don't need to go back 20 or 30 years. When I started visiting the UAE only a few years ago, things were cheap. Prices have been increasing steadily each year, even before the global financial crisis. I think commercial powers think that anyone who can still afford to live here can pay for it.
Karen Sullivan, Abu Dhabi