Share the beach, but with rules

A reader says Abu Dhabi's controls on beach access for single men are reasonable. Other letter topics: Italian food, Indian candy, online liquor licencing and Yemen.

Limits on bachelors' access to the Corniche and beaches are a compromise, a reader says. Ravindranath K / The National
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As someone who has visited Yemen several times, though not in recent years, I found your headline Yemen's slide cannot be allowed to continue (July 12) to be both correct and tragic.

Correct because failed-state status is not far away if dysfunctional governance goes on, and tragic because there is so little hope of improvement.

Factions and greed have made Yemen into a "war of all against all" and the world is neither interested in nor capable of doing anything to stop this disaster.

Nasrullah Gul, Dubai

Licence system is being improved

A letter-writer complained (Online licence system failure, July 12) of a technical problem with our new online system to apply for an Abu Dhabi liquor licence, as reported in Alcohol licensing moves online (June 30).

The Special Licence Office would like to reassure the writer, and all your readers, that work is underway to upgrade the clarity of the website

The "Open SSO" referred to in the letter stands for Single Sign On, a secure-access system that will give each applicant the option to create a username and password.

For more information, readers can email

Stuart Simpson, Special Licence Office, Abu Dhabi

Eating 'Indian candy' in the rain

The scope and diversity of dried meats (July 12) made me fear for the writer's arteries, but she awakened some painful nostalgia for me when she got to "Indian candy", the sweetened dried salmon chunks that are a famous snack not only in Alaska but also on Canada's beautiful west coast and in the US Pacific Northwest.

As a native of British Columbia on Canada's scenic Pacific coast, I grew up with Indian candy. I know that there are many versions, some better than others.

I used to buy the best brand I could find at Vancouver's Granville Island market.

Ah, cool, rainy Vancouver …

William Smith, Dubai

What's the plan of Free Syrian Army?

I refer to We will defeat Assad, says new opposition chief (July 12).

Bashar Al Assad's position is unworkable and he must leave power. But I can't help but have doubts about the Free Syrian Army. They are not a political party and their aim seems to be solely to depose the president.

I have great sympathy for the Syrian people and their country. Peace and hope my friends.

Frederick Melick, Australia

A fair compromise on beach privacy

The news report Families wanted beach privacy (July 12) brings up again the issue of how bachelors are treated in this country.

"Bachelors" is of course a euphemism for the labourers brought into the country to build our buildings and remove our trash and tend our gardens. They live in labour camps, are paid low wages, and send much of their money home. I know many are glad to be here but few better-educated people would envy their lives.

So they need to be allowed some freedom in the city, in my opinion.

However, it is also natural and understandable that women and families can feel uncomfortable in the presence of crowds of single men. The idea of setting aside some beach areas for families seems to me to be a reasonable compromise.

But in general, regulations about "no-go" areas for bachelors should be part of a system that provides free or low-cost opportunities for them to enjoy some of what the city has to offer.

They're people, after all.

Tamara Scranton, Abu Dhabi

Real Italian or not, food is improving

Your pizza feature Think Inside the Box (July 11) was more confirmation of my theory that Italian food in the UAE is steadily improving.

I won't go into the whole business of what qualifies as Italian food, or purists' strict rules about pizza toppings.

Certainly the standard of restaurant meals in Italy is still considerably higher than in "Italian" restaurants here.

I'll put it this way: food based on the real cuisine of Italy is getting better in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Carlo Pascucci, Dubai

Import our food, don't try to grow it

It is amazing that people are still talking about expanding agriculture (Farm chiefs have a plan to cut cucumbers in half, July 12).

Almost daily your paper has stories about the need for water conservation, and stories about more farming. Surely it makes more sense to import food, rather than using so much water to produce it.

VJ Mehta, Dubai