Questions over intervention

Readers say French president Francois Hollande's military intervention in Mali may not turn out well. Other topics: street cricket, the right to legal defence, and UAE conservation efforts in the Sahara.

Readers are concerned about the implications of French military intervention in Mali. Eric Feferberg / AFP
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The right to legal defence is not a licence to offend

I am writing in reference to In the court of the devil's advocate (January 14), about the trial of those accused of the Delhi gang rape.

While the comments made by the lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, are reprehensible and offensive, his defence of one of the defendants is not.

In fact, it is appropriate from a legal viewpoint. Without adequate representation, any conviction could easily be overturned upon appeal.

Even in view of the atrocity that occurred, the defendants are entitled under the law to adequate representation. What is sad is the lack of respect Mr Sharma has for the dead woman.

Hopefully, he will resort to a proper legal defence and not rely on the kind of antics that could put guilty defendants back on the street.

Cora Yanacek, Abu Dhabi

UAE-based effort helps the Sahara

In regard to World gathers to plan brighter future (January 16), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed has done a great deal on behalf of conservation in the Sahara and the Sahel.

He has funded biological inventories there, and funded the reintroduction of several endangered species, such as scimitar-horned oryxes, addaxes and dama gazelles.

The UAE and the world can look up to Sheikh Mohammed for all he has done for an area of the world wracked by insurrection, rebellion, poverty and potential famine.

T Upham, UK

Action in Africa may not end well

I have no doubt that the president of France, Francois Hollande, has his heart in the right place about stopping extremism (Hollande calls for UAE help in Mali intervention, January 16).

Sometimes military means are the most effective. However, recent history should have shown Mr Hollande, and everyone else, that foreign intervention doesn't always end well.

Years ago, I remember reading a joke list of "rules of life" and one in particular seems to apply: "Everything in life is easier to get into than to get out of."

Yves Carbonneau, Abu Dhabi

The last swift victories in war the French expected were in Algeria and Vietnam - and we all know what happened there.

P Nixon, UK

Cricketers need a place to play

While I have sympathy for the writer of the letter, Street cricketers upset neighbours (January 10), there may be more to this story.

I have no doubt that people are playing cricket near homes in the centre of Sharjah, or that they are making some unwelcome noise very late at night. The same thing happens in car parks and some of the smaller thoroughfares in Abu Dhabi and, doubtless, elsewhere in the UAE.

However, this may not just be the doing of errant youth, as the writer suggests. It is entirely possible that the cricket players are labourers who have no other time, or place, to "blow off steam" after working long, hard hours.

Perhaps the relevant authorities should look at setting aside a place, well away from residences, for these people to enjoy themselves.

After all, there are much worse things that could be happening at 1am than people playing cricket.

C Bryant, Abu Dhabi

Indecision holds London back

London's transit future up in the air (January 16) was an informative story about a laughable situation.

The British government, paralysed by fear of a few "not in my backyard" voters, is just watching as London's commercial status declines because of insufficient airline service.

If ever an issue called for vision and action in the national interest, this is that issue.

I can't judge the merits of the various proposals, but I do know that doing nothing is the worst possible course of (in)action.

Ron Simpson, Dubai

Mall menu poses food for thought

I enjoy a good hamburger, but I don't entirely share your letter writer's enthusiasm for the expansion of American fast-food chains in the UAE (Happy to hear of more Rockets, January 16).

I fear that there will come the day when travel will no longer be worthwhile, because every place in the world will be the same: same food, same hotels, same television programmes, same movies.

Obviously, there is a market for this kind of thing, and the presence of familiar brands may provide some comfort to expatriates.

However, I'd also like to see a range of more authentically Emirati and Arab dining options available in the food courts of the UAE's many shopping malls.

Jane Rogers, Dubai