Thailand is tackling wildlife smugglers

The Ambassador of Thailand says his country is doing all it can to stem the illegal trade in wildlife. Other topics: defining art, rent cheques, alcoholism and Indian politics.
Thailand is doing all it can to protect trafficked wildlife, such as this sun bear that was discovered in luggage by Customs officers at Suvarnabhumi airport last year, the country's ambassador says in a letter. Damir Sagolj / Reuters
Thailand is doing all it can to protect trafficked wildlife, such as this sun bear that was discovered in luggage by Customs officers at Suvarnabhumi airport last year, the country's ambassador says in a letter. Damir Sagolj / Reuters

At for art's sake, or money for old rope?

I refer to the interesting essay Does it speak to you? (October 6). The article asks the question: is modern art really any good?

The answer is no.

Any fool can proclaim anything to be a work of art, merely by claiming "it makes you think" - and that is exactly what has happened.

In my opinion, rapacious dealers, cynical artists and collaborationist critics create "value" for themselves where none exists by staring solemnly at piles of old rope, or worse, and calling this rubbish "art".

These people must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Tom Wolfe exposed this whole scam as far back as 1975, in his wonderful little pamphlet The Painted Word. It is still the definitive exposé on this topic.

Dennis Dale, Abu Dhabi

Rental system in need of reform

I agree fully with the suggestion in End one-cheque rent system in Dubai, experts say (October 7).

The whole system doesn't make sense, putting tenants at the landlord's mercy. Deadbeat agents and landlords are too common.

Firas Abras, Dubai

I am writing in reference to When renting in the UAE, make sure you get what you pay for (September 26).

It seems easy enough to check an agent's credentials, but how do you check the landlord's credentials if he is abroad and there is no agent involved?

R Schroeder, Dubai

India needs a new political party

It is extremely disappointing that India, the world's largest democracy, has no strong, stable political party to lead it, or to be a responsible opposition (A leadership crisis that India's 'third front' cannot solve, October 4).

The main opposition party, the BJP, has failed to build a promising alliance for the 2014 election, while corruption seems to have reached the highest level of the UPA, led by the Congress party.

The India Against Corruption movement could be an influential factor in the elections, but it will have a lot of homework to do to win seats in parliament.

It is high time for Indians to think seriously about having a new political party that will listen to the lament of the people.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Thailand acts on wildlife smuggling

Thailand: gateway to a paradise being lost (August 16) may mislead your readers into thinking that Thailand is a transit safe haven for the illegal trade in wildlife.

As it is a major transportation and logistics hub in South-east Asia, it is unavoidable that smugglers would target Thailand, and in particular Suvarnabhumi International Airport, as a transit point.

However, Thailand is fully mindful of its obligations as a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

Over the past five years, the Customs department has identified and confiscated goods that are in breach of Cites totalling 249 cases and worth more than US$22 million (Dh808 million).

Although smugglers continue to devise more complicated schemes to avoid detection, Thai authorities have made every effort to improve their inspection capacities. The Customs department has joined forces with Traffic, an international NGO, to train the department's staff in wildlife and cargo inspection as well as to build a shared information database.

Thai authorities will also begin deploying canine units this month to increase inspection efficiency.

It is important to emphasise that wildlife smuggling has never been condoned by Thailand authorities.

Moreover, to date, no officials have ever been found to be involved in such illegal trade. If any involvement was discovered, the authorities would seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

Somchai Charanasomboon, Ambassador of Thailand to the UAE

Education may help save sharks

It's a good move to ban the import and export of shark fins (Sharks need more help, expert says, October 8). However, this will hurt some businesses.

It might be better to educate importers and restaurants about the endangered sharks they are buying.

J De la Cruz, Dubai

Alcoholics need professional help

New alert on dangers of alcohol addiction (October 7) highlights a serious problem, not just in the UAE but around the world.

The important thing is to treat alcohol addiction as an illness; it's not a bad habit that somebody can simply drop.

Alcoholics need help, and they need to know that there are professionals who can provide it.

M Morris, Dubai

Published: October 9, 2012 04:00 AM

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