x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Shisha cafe law is encouraging

A reader applauds the UAE's move to ban shisha cafes. Other topics: AC buses, Japan-India ties, Israel, Jamaat, hotel tax

A reader expresses delight over the rule banning shisha cafes in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
A reader expresses delight over the rule banning shisha cafes in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

I didn’t realise that any smoking regulations were being looked at here in the UAE (Abu Dhabi clears the air on confusion over new shisha cafe laws, January 30).

I came here in August last year and gave up smoking. In Ireland, cigarettes are over five times more expensive than here and we also have the smoking ban. I am glad to see that things are changing here as well.

Ráichéal Nic Ghaoithín, Abu Dhab

Stronger ties with Japan will benefit India

I enjoyed reading the opinion article How the Japan-India alliance could redraw Asia’s geopolitical map (February 2).

Being the third largest economy in Asia, India has plenty of expertise to acquire from a technologically progressive country like Japan. It is, however, critical for both nations to strengthen ties, keeping in view Chinese and the US advantages in the region. Therefore, the so called “strategic and global partnership” has a great relevance.

It is true that Asia’s technological growth is faster than Europe and the US. India with its billion-plus people has to cash in on the opportunities in learning and development sectors. To do so, it must educate and empower the workforce. A greater effort is also needed to fight terrorism and violence, which is apparently affecting the growth potential of the entire region.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Stay cool about non-AC buses

I refer to the news article Faulty air conditioning spurs Emirati woman to launch AC campaign for workers’ buses (January 27).

If I am “put” in an air-conditioned bus after walking outside in summer heat, can I spread a disease because I am sweaty?

Let’s remember that the infectious Mers virus was not started from millions of labourers in this region.

J Smith, Dubai

Pressure on Israel is mounting

The Jewish Chronicle reported this week that Israel’s former military intelligence chief, Amon Yadlin, has called for Israel to consider a “coordinated unilateral” withdrawal from most of the West Bank if the talks with the Palestinians fail.”

However, the international community including the EU, US and UN all call for coordinated unilateral withdrawal from all of the West Bank regardless of whether the US brokered peace talks succeed or fail.

And that includes all settlers and all illegal factories in the West Bank, such as the soda water company that has recently attracted media attention with its hiring of Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson to endorse its products.

She previously worked with international humanitarian charity, Oxfam, which has stated unequivocally that it was “opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law”.

Anthony Bellchambers, UK

Jamaat a blot on Bangladesh

Thank you Paulo Casaca for pointing out crucial parts of our history in the opinion article Jamaat’s brutality condemns Bangladesh to a violent future (January 28). I would like to mention here that Jamaat is only 1 per cent Islamic. That’s because of its name after Islam, which is Jamaat-e-Islami. Otherwise, the party is 99 per cent anti-Islamic.

Name withheld by request

Should hotels charge tax?

I don’t know what the overreaction is about (Dubai to charge ‘tourism dirhams’ to fund Expo 2020 projects, January 30). People often forget that this is a tax-free haven. Be reminded that in some European countries, income tax alone exceeds 50 per cent of the pay.

Khalid H, Dubai

Tourist tax is applicable at hotels in Canada as well and you pay HST (vat) tax on any purchase – goods, services or food – tourist or not.

Also many airports in North America have hidden fees in the price of your airline ticket to pay for expansions and terminal maintenance. You think that Wi Fi is really free? You’re paying for it one way or another. It’s sad that Dubai is adding fees or “tax”, but many countries already do.

Jonathan Taillefer, Canada

Why should the hotel guest pay an extra tourism fee when the hotels in Dubai are already charging their guests exorbitantly? I just feel that very soon more taxes, in terms of toll charges, tourism, rentals and various other fees will be levied on the public.

Fatima Suhail, Abu Dhabi