Algerians have the correct approach to hostage takers
The media consensus seems to be that Algeria botched the raid on the natural gas refinery occupied by Al Qaeda (They hid in terror and just hoped for the best, January 22).
Certainly the loss of life is regrettable. But the Algerian government's consistent policy about hostage cases - no negotiations, no quarter, just blast them - actually makes a lot of sense. Any other policy rewards hostage-taking, which is counterproductive.
In war, generals deploy troops, knowing there will be casualties. When taken hostage, civilians are in effect drafted into the army, and must become, like soldiers, pawns of the high command.
Probably the Algerian government should have done more to prevent Al Qaeda's takeover of the plant, and the reports of inside help are particularly disturbing. But the general policy Algeria follows will, in the long run, reduce the frequency of hostage incidents in that country.
Omar Heywood, Dubai
Gun obsession grips America
James Zogby's A sick obsession at the heart of deadly US gun violence (January 20) is a clear depiction of the American mindset.
The protest rallies against the wise reforms put forward by President Barack Obama show many in the US are obsessed with guns.
The words of the character Bart in the 1949 film Gun Crazy still ring true for many Americans: "I feel good when I'm shooting them. I feel awful good inside, like I'm somebody."
Jafar Nizami, Abu Dhabi
Two sides to the coin confusion
It is certainly infuriating that the new dirham coins don't work in Mawaqif meters (What's new and shiny but useless if you need to park?, January 22).
But this is simply a good illustration of how complicated life is. Someone authorised the lighter weight for the coins, no doubt proudly thinking this would save a nice bit of money each year, without having considered parking meters.
Well, can you say you would have thought of that? The so-called law of unintended consequences reminds us that things are interconnected in unexpected ways
In the Dilbert comic strip, the stupid boss asked one day: "Will there be any unforeseen consequences?"
Life's just tricky. So get a Mawaqif card, and when you want to park you won't have to scrabble around for coins, new or old, ever again.
Ian Bennett, Abu Dhabi
The Mawaqif parking machines' inability to accept the legal tender of the country is a big PR disaster for the company.
I wonder if Mawaqif will accept shiny new one-dirham coins as payment for its fines.
Name and address withheld
Intervention can be necessary
I am writing in reference to Parents' concern over new child law (September 22).
I am glad that people are being given information about Wadeema's Law, which aims to protect children from abuse.
However, I am concerned that one man told the meeting with FNC members that he did not see the need for such a law.
Sadly it is the case that some families fail their children, and the community as a whole. It is important that a properly staffed agency intervenes in such cases.
A Campbell, Abu Dhabi
Obama still has to battle Congress
I am writing in reference to Obama urges Americans to end suspicion and fear (January 22).
Despite all odds, Barack Obama prevailed in gaining re-election.
He still has an uphill battle fighting a Republican Congress that has blocked his every move, affecting his goals of bringing equal pay to the middle class, women's rights and affordable health care.
The George W Bush administration drove the US economy into a swift nose-dive and Mr Obama is paying the price.
B Hardin, US
Question over recycling bins
Regarding Bins in two colours ... which one is green? (January 21), I have eagerly recycled since being in the UAE, even before the provision of black and green bins.
I do wonder, however, when the binmen tip the contents of both bins into the same truck.
C Miller, Dubai
Praise for Saadiyat Island mall plans
TDIC's luxury triangle for Saadiyat Island (January 22) is great news.
The new mall will be one of the biggest landmarks in Abu Dhabi and will attract more visitors.
P Peter, Abu Dhabi