x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Sharapova back on the ball

A reader says renewed focus was an element in Maria Sharapova's French Open win. Other letter topics: bullying, Afghanistan and the dispute at Marina Residence.

A reader is impressed with the way Maria Sharapova has matured as a player. Pascal Guyot / AFP
A reader is impressed with the way Maria Sharapova has matured as a player. Pascal Guyot / AFP

The ruthless assault of 11-year-old Lujain Hussein by her schoolmates (Lujain recovers from school beating, June 8) is heartbreaking.

If nothing else, it should serve as a call to renounce age-old beliefs about childhood bullying - that it is just "kids being kids" or, ludicrously, a "childhood rite of passage" - and see it for the abuse that it is.

The scary truth is that we learn of only a fraction of the bullying that goes on. Sadly - and dangerously - too many accounts remain imprisoned in the untold narratives of school locker rooms, playgrounds and seats in the back of the bus.

There, in furtive, unregulated encounters between children who mistake exploitation for real power, and their vulnerable targets, a school's promise of safety is supplanted by exclusion and frank cruelty.

Finally, though, after such tragedies as Lujain's beating, bullying is being seen as something that can terrorise as well as maim, and thus being met with the coordinated resistance and intolerance it deserves.

We wish Lujain and her family a tranquil and undisturbed recovery. We hope, too, that they might find some spiritual restitution from learning of the call to action the brutality evidenced in this case has prompted from the international community.

It's really the only thing such a senseless act of violence could ever have going for it.

Janet Edgette, US Beth Margolis Rupp, Abu Dhabi

Safety an issue in Marina dispute

I write in reference to Confusion over emptied pools and locked gyms (June 8), about the situation at the Marina Residence in Dubai. Thank you for the great article.

Although there is still plenty of confusion due to lack of proper communication from the developer Nakheel, it has become clear that money is the issue.

My main concern at this point is the health and safety of all the tenants at Marina Residence.

The remaining water in the swimming pools and decorative pools has already turned green, and it continues to become more unhealthy every day.

Shawn Whisenand, Dubai

Sharapova shows us how it's done

Congratulations to Maria Sharapova for winning the women's final in the French Open. Sharapova played a wonderful, focused, determined game.

She has been on the tennis stage for years now and it is great to see her getting some accolades.

Sharapova is a great athlete and a delight to watch. Age has matured her and she now plays a more balanced game without getting overly excited on the court.

Rajendra K Aneja, Dubai

Switching banks is the best option

I refer to Homeowners caught in mortgage rate trap (June 10).

I bought a villa in March 2009 with a variable rate mortgage at 9.5 per cent. I insisted that my rate be variable, as I knew it was way too high, and I have always paid my monthly instalment in full and on-time.

When I asked the bank to reduce my mortgage rate after one year, it was brought down to 8.5 per cent; when I asked again in 2011 and referred them to 3.49-4.99 average rates on the market, they offered 7.25 per cent with a higher penalty for early closure and demanded another 1% loan origination fee (more than Dh25,000).

I am lucky to be in a desirable demographic for banks - I have a high, disposable income - yet continue to be dismayed by the lack of value that banks put on serving or retaining customers.

I will soon pay the price to switch mortgage provider, as my bank does not deserve my business.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai

Challenges for Afghanistan

Regarding the editorial Ignoring history in Afghanistan will be costly (June 8), the mineral wealth will come when the government gives licences to the miners. So will the transport systems to move them, just like it happens elsewhere in the world.

Where Afghanistan has to develop is in import replacements. It has $300 million (Dh 1.1 billion) in exports and $5 billion in imports. Most of its growth over the past 10 years has been in service industries to support the military and the international community.

It has nothing otherwise in the way of secondary and tertiary industries to complement the more than 80 per cent of the population involved in primary production.

Steve Hutcheson, Australia

A warning that's not so timely

Surely I am not the only person to notice that the announcement in Abu Dhabi taxis warning the passenger to ensure the driver has turned on the meter is only activated after the meter is turned on.

Colin Richards, Abu Dhabi