The high voter turnout in Tunisia is good news, a reader writes. Other letters topics: online retailing, shark attacks, "job creation", the film festival, and US economic power.
Tunisians take the future seriously
How wonderful it was to see that Tunisians took their new freedom so seriously by turning out in large numbers to vote ('Once voting had no point, now it has' October 24).
With more than 100 political parties, making a choice must have been difficult for those voters not closely allied with one faction or another.
I seem to recall similar impressive voter turnout figures in Iraq in the first elections after people there got rid of their dictator, too.
But the self-serving and short-sighted political class there has now smothered a lot of that optimism for democracy in Iraq. I hope Tunisia's newly-chosen leaders will be able to do better.
Georges Belhassan, Dubai
How to improve online shopping
I was interested in Online retail is fisherman's sale (October 23).
In my opinion online shopping is growing slowly in the Middle East for three main reasons: first, many businesses do not have online stores; second, postal services do not provide exact locations for houses and businesses for parcel delivery; and third, easy-to-use debit cards are still generally unknown here.
Abdulrahman Almuhairbi, Abu Dhabi
As a fairly new arrival in this country I was surprised how little online retail there is available from local merchants.
Most places in the West - and I daresay in Asia, too - this form of commerce is much more advanced.
A lot of sales here must be lost to foreign online merchants.
Linda Rivington, Dubai
Don't let sharks bite tourist trade
I refer to your alarming news report Sharks spotted in Dubai waters (October 24).
Prevention is better than a cure in a case like this. Although these shark sightings have not escalated into shark attacks, the authorities should quickly begin a process of closely monitoring sharks movements in those waters.
At the same time, it will be important that the authorities also commence the protection of popular bathing spots by use of nets to exclude sharks from those areas.
Shark attacks could have a negative effect on tourism, so my advice is let's prevent them.
Randall Mohammed, Dubai
Governments cannot create jobs
Thank you for the sensible editorial Private sector reforms can cure Arab joblessness (October 24).
I laugh every time I hear politicians in any country talk about "job creation".
It is well established that economic freedom correlates closely with fuller employment. In other words every time a government meddles in the economy with some tax-and-spend "job creation" scheme, the goal of full employment recedes, instead of coming closer.
In this part of the world, of course, government is deeply involved in many business enterprises. That serves various useful purposes and is not necessarily a bad thing for the economy.
But in the long run real economic vitality comes mainly from the private sector, which must be given freedom to operate.
Norbert Hartmann, Dubai
The wrong name at the wrong time
I felt sorry for the man whose father named him Muammar Qaddafi (Tangled up in red tape, the other Gaddafi, October 24).
Fashion in names can be changed by historical events. I can't imagine many babies being named Muammar in Libya this year, for example.
And I seem to remember the common first name Oswald almost vanishing in the West after Lee Harvey Oswald killed President John F Kennedy.
Thomas Molnar, US
Keep festival films available on DVD
It was nice to see a look back at the film festival in your photo spread (The festival scene, October 24). As I contemplate the dreadful commercial films at our cinemas, I am already depressed that the festival is over.
Here's a suggestion: why not allow sales of DVDs of the festival movies, so that those of us who missed some films could have a chance to see them at home later?
Kendall Carson, Abu Dhabi
US should stick with economics
As the US prepares to withdraw all its troops from Iraq, Hillary Clinton is now talking about economics, rather than American military might (Clinton calls for economic integration, October 24).
It's about time. As a military power America is muscle-bound and limited, but it still has economic clout in the world.
Robert Sawatski, Dubai