Praise for Dubai's Yallah Walk good health initiative

Readers respond to The National's coverage and issues of the day.

The news article Tens of thousands ready to walk their way to good health (February 18) reported on the Yallah Walk, a promotion to encourage people to use the city's 23 walking tracks. May I commend the Dubai Municipality on this excellent initiative.

Walking is the closest thing to perfect exercise. We have an eminent professor here in the UK, Sir Muir Gray, who says that everything from diabetes to heart disease and osteoporosis should be re-named "walking deficiency syndrome".

Here in England we have also started to promote the use of Walk4Life Miles to encourage people to walk more. Remember it is important to try to challenge yourself to walk at a brisk pace where you feel a little warmer and your heart beats a little faster to get the full benefits. Good luck and well done!

Veronica Reynolds, Director, Walk England, UK

Dismay at protests and violence

I refer to the news article Two killed in clashes at protest in Oman (February 28). It is horrifying to read about the protests and violence in Oman, one of the most peaceful and prosperous countries in the Gulf. Oman is to the Gulf region what Goa is to India: a peaceful and welcoming haven. Oman is pretty, well-organised, has excellent infrastructure and the people have always been warm and hospitable. The country has fantastic beaches, hotels and restaurants.

Well-wishers of Oman and its wonderful people, like me, can only hope that the current spate of violence will end soon and the representatives of the ruling family and the protesters can sit down and solve their problems.

Around the world, the gulf between the "haves" and the "have-nots" has been widening. It is indeed true that while there is more material wealth in the world, it is not necessarily percolating down the population strata in terms of jobs, opportunities and education.

However the remedy to this important issue is dialogue and debate. Violence and destruction of property will not solve any problems.

Rajendra K. Aneja, Dubai

Suggestions for the Eida system

In reference to the news article ID cards to be renewed every two years (March 2), I would rather pay Dh100 tax per year rather than go through the hassle of registering and renewing the Emirates ID card every two years.

Seriously, why don't they think of issuing the card only once with an unlimited validity period? To cover the "administrative cost", why not make us pay the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) fees every time we renew the residence visa?

We should only change the ID card when it is damaged. As it is a chip-based smart card, whenever we need to update any information, it should be done by just updating information in the chip, not the physical card.

Eida should also release the Emirates ID command sets and Software Development Kit to third parties (after signing some agreements of course), so that more organisations (such as other government agencies, banks, hospitals and even businesses) could make full use of the Emirates ID by being able to read or store information in it.

Kirana Paripurna, Abu Dhabi

The origin of dictatorships

The opinion article Dictatorship as a career path is for men only (February 26) is an interesting commentary by Shelina Zahra, obviously written by a true feminist.

I would like to seek clarification on her ideas on the origin of dictatorships. Is it how one got to power? Or how long one stays in power? My answer is neither. I would suggest that both are secondary to how one actually manages that power.

To cite a few examples in support of this notion, it is on record that most African leaders - the supposed critical mass of 21st century dictatorships - were all elected into office and sometimes in a landslide, but eventually this was made to happen time after time.

NM, Sharjah

Why I can't sleep until midnight

I refer to the news article Al Bandar development takes a people-first approach to living (February 23). Al Bandar faces Yas Island, where anyone can come to drive his or her car on the Yas Marina circuit. Since there are enough people with enough time and big enough cars around, this happens on a daily basis and at times goes on until midnight. Cars drive at a noise level sufficient to keep me from sleeping despite closed windows.

Al Bandar would be a beautiful place, if someone had built it somewhere else rather than opposite a race track. Once the marina becomes functional, I am sure its noise pollution will add to what is there already.

Ingo Forsteniechner, Abu Dhabi

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