Congratulations to new Speaker

A reader praises Dr Amal Al Qubaisi on her elevation to the post of Speaker of the FNC. Other topics: intervention in Syria. Indian leadership and child abuse.

Question of US intervention in Syria not simple

I don't understand Michael Young's argument (Double standards as the US fails to act while Syria suffers, January 24).

If the US can use military power to change regimes in other countries without Security Council approval, as the writer advocates, where will it end? Who will decide when the US should act in cases like this and when it shouldn't? The writer? Global opinion polls?

Also, is the US political process to be overruled? Surely, after Iraq and Afghanistan, most Americans wouldn't support a Syria intervention without - or even with - the United Nations' endorsement. Nor would the US Congress.

Much is wrong with the international system, but unilateral US invasions whenever there is suffering is no answer. Noor Khan, Dubai

Every time the US gets involved in conflicts in the Middle East, it is told that it's putting its nose in where it isn't wanted.

This time, the US stays out of it and is still condemned. Can't win for losing.

T Adams, Abu Dhabi

Congratulations to new Speaker

Dr Amal Al Qubaisi deserves congratulations (Council applauds first female Speaker, January 23).

Her appointment is another incremental step in the right direction. I'm sure her route to the Speaker's position at the FNC was not an easy one.

C Smolens, US

Hostages should not be written off

I was horrified by the letter saying that the action in Algeria "makes a lot of sense" (Algerians have the correct approach to hostage takers, January 22).

I don't know how to stop hostage-taking, but just writing off the poor victims as collateral damage is certainly not right.

That kind of approach makes the authorities no better than the terrorists they are fighting.

Davina Harriman, Dubai

It's true that cooperation with terrorists - such as buying back hostages - will encourage more of the same kind of action.

Any parent knows that you punish bad behaviour and reward good, not the other way around.

However, if every government always adopted this policy, how would companies and agencies ever get any engineers, or anyone else, to go near a danger zone?

Kurt Meyer, Abu Dhabi

Wrong order for parking changes?

I am writing about New car parks will be just the ticket (January 24).

First there were charges for existing parking spaces, now the parking meters don't accept new coins.

I think the authorities should have looked at the idea of parking structures before they decided to introduce paid spaces.

Mohammad Mustafa, Abu Dhabi

Abusers must face severe punishment

If found guilty, I hope the two people described in Sisters and brother abused by family's maid and gardener (January 22) don't just get away with a year or two in jail.

As much as I appreciate the gravity of this, I truly believe that the death penalty - or at least life in prison - should apply in such cases.

On the basis of the accusations, these people have abused the most vulnerable members of our society, the ones we are meant to protect and nurture, and have damaged them beyond what we can see immediately.

What kind of effect will this abuse have on the children when they become adults? Will they be able to have functioning relationships and a stable family life? I hope that they can heal.

Name and address withheld

India needs leader with true courage

I refer to Harsh Pant's excellent opinion article, The Gandhi brand loses its lustre in India's new politics (January 22).

The next four to five years could be turbulent and arduous for India. A country with immense resources and potential, bright minds and entrepreneurial drive may again have some bad years.

The Congress should have selected an experienced and seasoned leader to head the party.

The country will drift perilously and the economy will decline further. A rudderless government is dented by massive allegations and perceptions of corruption.

For the first time since independence, citizens feel they are being ruled by a disconnected government. Sonia Gandhi is frosty; Manmohan Singh has no charisma.

The principal opposition party, the BJP, has also lost ground-contact. Its leadership is smothered in a power struggle to determine its prime ministerial candidate.

India desperately needs leaders with character and courage who can deliver growth.

Rajendra K Aneja, Dubai