In 2018, we need to focus on reducing inequalities in the world

Readers discuss poverty, the Year of Zayed, protests in Iran and disruptions to telephony

I refer to the article Four things we have learnt about the world in the past 12 months by Tom Fletcher (December 29). He has done well to underscore that "Inequality is the greatest geopolitical risk today."

A 2017 Oxfam report reveals that just eight rich men have as much wealth as that owned by the 3.6 billion of the bottom half of the world’s population. The affluent can influence governments on all policy matters. Public angst with massive inequalities drives the rise of conservatism in many countries. Again, consider that 844 million people lack access to clean drinking water and 2.4 billion people need improved sanitation facilities in our world.

Poverty is fuelled by massive inequalities in the world. Economic stability in 2018 will not automatically put more food on the plates of the hungry. Poverty is still the biggest problem confronting the world. Large swathes of the world population live in slums: 24 per cent in India, 66 per cent in Liberia, 74 per cent in Somalia, 47 percent in Iran, 31 per cent in all of South Asia combined and 55 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2018, we need to focus on reducing inequalities in the world and eradicating hunger.

Rajendra Aneja, India

This country owes a debt of gratitude to Sheikh Zayed

In reference to your editorial This year is a chance to show our gratitude (January 1) and your coverage of the start of the Year of Zayed, the UAE is what it is today because of this great man. His vision lives on to this day in this vibrant country.

Lorea Odz, UAE

The government has gone too far in Iran

In reference to your coverage of the protests in Iran, I note that demonstrators were shot dead during the third day of rallies in Iran. Before the shooting order, the government should have warned that it would unleash deadly force. This is an extraordinarily sad state of affairs.

K Ragavan, India

The importance of Skype to expats

I am writing in regards to the article UAE users complain of disruptions to Skype (December 29). I use Skype as a lifeline to my family back home. Being able to talk to them and see them regularly makes living far away from them bearable. Unfortunately I cannot afford to pay the telecom companies even more money each month to allow me to do this. I already pay extremely high rates for internet and mobile phone plans each month. I am hopeful that it is realised how much of a negative impact it will have on residents of the UAE. I am not looking forward to telling my two small daughters they are no longer able to Skype chat with their much loved grandparents.

Name withheld by request