A reader comments on premium prices for chemical-free food

Our readers also comment on the issue of plight of complainants in sexual-assault cases, the cost of food and the public's willingness to pay more for chemical-free local supplies, complaints about a university, and more.

The fear of chemicals on fresh produce is often exaggerated, argues a reader. Andrew Henderson / The National
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How bad are food chemicals, really?

What a strange world we live in: we hear every day about the problem of rising food prices, and yet you reported yesterday (A fresh angle for food producers, May 14) that consumers say they are ready to pay more for chemical-free local produce.

There is certainly a lot to be said for local produce; it's likely to be fresher and therefore tastier.

But our obsession with chemicals seems to me a little unreasonable: these "chemicals" have been tested carefully and they increase farm yields, keeping prices low.

And considering that life expectancies keep getting longer, I wonder how dangerous these chemicals can be?

Alan Marshall, Dubai

Much needed analysis on cases of sexual assault

I applaud your comment article, Victims of sexual assault should not be forced into silence (May 15).

Hassan Hassan brought this matter to the attention of the public, showing what goes on in UAE courts.

Furthermore, it was extremely well written, utilising fact-based arguments to look at ways to reform the system.

The laws surrounding sexual assault in the UAE were clearly not made, and are not currently being interpreted by judges, with the rights of the victim in mind. If a woman becomes the criminal in the eyes of the law when she reports a violent sexual crime against her, whom is the law protecting?

This clearly speaks to the larger issue of women's rights in the UAE. I sincerely hope that your article in some way brings about change in the UAE justice system's stance on sexual assault victims and women's rights in a broader context. Keep fighting the good fight.

SK, Dubai

Lifting licences sends a message

I refer to Lawless drivers are taken off the roads (May 14).

This is a punishment that will cause real problems for the 212 drivers who suffer it. But it may also save lives by making others drive carefully.

Joan Spencer, Abu Dhabi

Early reports can raise finance

From a corporate governance perspective, bringing the reporting period in line with international standards would allow our exchanges to provide a better investor structure (Results take too long, say fund chiefs, May 15).

Regrettably, most listed companies on UAE exchanges were only forced to be listed in the mid-2000s, and thus do not have the capacity or systems required to meet international standards.

But being rarely traded or not traded at all is a function of the company, not the reporting. So quicker reporting will only add to the "effectiveness" of pricing companies which hold liquidity.

Even though material price information should be reported speedily, stock prices in the UAE are driven by opinions rather than fundamental analysis.

SD, Dubai

Wollongong is in need of a review

Your report University of Wollongong, Dubai, welcomes investigation into complaints (May 11) shows exactly what is happening in UOWD.

As a student says in the article, the quality of teaching is getting worse day by day. From my experience, I can say with conviction that the lectures and policies of the school are disappointing a lot of students.

For instance, one of my subjects is taught by a lecturer who always shares his experiences about living abroad rather than teaching the subject matter. And while he demands a high standard in our performance, he decreases our marks for using certain English words such as "feasibility" because he simply does not like them.

Raymi van der Spek, the executive director of Wollongong, tells us that students should use the proper channel to complain - but he should also explain what is the right channel.

UOWD had good lecturers but they left because they were not getting paid properly. I think the quality of teaching deteriorated because as UOWD began paying teachers less, they were unable to attract the same quality of educators.

I strongly recommend that the UAE's education ministry should revise the accreditation of all lecturers at the university.

Lakshmi Ray, Dubai

An abhorrent act against women

Regarding Female circumcision in decline: study (May 15), female circumcision or genital mutilation is a stone-age idea. It falls under the tradition of "keeping the woman under control".

Angelika Lancsak, Austria