x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Redefining poverty

Countries define poverty differently, but India's Dh2-a-day definition is "shocking" and "shameful", one reader argues. Other topics covered by letter writers today: Abbas' moment, cheap airfare, FNC turnout and waiting for Tim Hortons.

A reader objects to the Indian government's declaration that anyone earning over Dh2 a day is above the poverty line, arguing that poverty in India is far different than conditions for 'poor' people in the West. Adnan Abidi / Reuters
A reader objects to the Indian government's declaration that anyone earning over Dh2 a day is above the poverty line, arguing that poverty in India is far different than conditions for 'poor' people in the West. Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deserves admiration and applause for seeking membership in the United Nations (With statehood application, Abbas tells UN 'moment of truth' has come, September 24).

This represents the long-held genuine aspirations of his people who have suffered too much for too long.

Israel, unconditionally and unjustly supported by the US, is not only guilty of the illegal occupation of the Palestinian lands, but has also inflicted so much death and destruction.

There is still time for the US to realise that Israel will never agree to a just resolution of the conflict without pressure from outside.

The US cannot afford to carry the Israeli luggage for too long.

Muneer Ahmad, Abu Dhabi

Lower plane fares will be welcome

UAE plane fares to get cheaper as competition ramps up (September 25) will be good news if it comes true.

Competition is supposed to help consumers but I don't find that fares on the regional airlines have been much of a bargain until now.

Carol MacNeil, Abu Dhabi

Why the low FNC voter turnout?

It was interesting to see how the voter turnout in the FNC elections varied by emirate (One more step towards the future as Emiratis go to polls, September 25). Eligible voters in the Northern Emirates evidently took the election more seriously than those in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Is there a conclusion to reach from this?

On the other hand even in Umm Al Qaiwain, where percentage participation was the highest, the turnout didn't even reach 55 per cent. Jaded voters in many western countries don't bother to turn out for their elections, either, but I wonder what the dynamic was here, where voting is still rather a novelty?

David Murray, Abu Dhabi

I have been following the FNC campaign coverage in The National with a big smile on my face.

I believe the fairness, sincerity and the honesty of the Rulers and this move towards parliamentary life, in line with the decisions of the Rulers themselves, is a welcome step.

All elected Emiratis will care for the living conditions of their people and will, I hope, do so in a transparent way.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Who decides on 'responsibility'?

I am sorry to see the scourge of "corporate social responsibility" reaching the UAE (Companies warming up to the social responsibility movement, September 25).

Corporate social responsibility is just another facet of political correctness: pompous bullies, claiming to speak for "the people", threaten companies that are arbitrarily deemed not green enough, too corrupt, or whatever else.

In fact companies should be expected to obey the law and strive to make a profit. Anything else is foolishness.

Companies will act in their own best interests, which sometimes includes giving in to these bullies. But who appointed them to decide what's acceptable?

Joe Gault, UK

Hoping chain will keep expanding

I saw your story Tim Hortons outlet in Dubai mobbed by Canadian expats (September 20).

Now if we could get Tim Hortons in Japan, that would be awesome. It would be way better than our current options. I hate coffee (any brand) but quite like Tim Hortons doughnuts and hot chocolate.

Deborah Ruth Trotter, Japan

Dh2 'poverty line' is just shameful

I'm always a little sceptical of "poverty lines" because in rich countries they're a measure of inequality, not poverty. In the US, for example, most "poor" household have a car and a television.

But in poor countries poverty is really poverty, so the story India puts its poverty line at just Dh2 a day (September 25) was shocking.

There are many questions about government subsidy programmes and how wise they are, but for an Indian government agency to pretend that those living on Dh2 per day are officially not poor is simply shameful.

Manuel de Souza, India

Indian Restaurant survived Salam St

For years I have been worried that my favourite Indian restaurant, on Salam Street, would not survive the loss of business from the construction.

Now the street is open, and the restaurant manager is even quoted in your story (Business as usual in the new Salam Street, September 22).

That's a relief. Michael Daoud, Abu Dhabi