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Strength in numbers

Sir — Consider the paradoxes of human fertility. Here in India, we are 1.1 billion and going strong, while in Laviano, Italy, the local municipality so wants babies to be born that it is offerring a “baby bonus” to prospective mothers (“Ageing Italy hands for bonus for babies”, Dec 2). Yet in India, the legislature is thinking of incentives to discourage parents from having babies. One solution is for people from populous countries to migrate to the scarcely populated ones. Unfortunately, such an obvious thing is something governments, especially the governments of an European country like Italy, will never consider.

Yours faithfully,
Satadru Ghosh, Calcutta


Revenge motive

Sir — The attacks on the British consulate and the HSBC headquarters in Istanbul were neither unexpected nor preventable. Sadly, 27 people became victims of a war started by American jingoism and stoked by American greed. For decades the United States of America had been arming Muslim zealots in Pakistan, Afghanistan and across west Asia, either to perpetuate its hegemony or because of its greed for Arab oil. Naturally, it is now reaping the fruits.

Things would not have come to such a pass had the US-led “war on terrorism” stayed on course. But George W. Bush wilfully derailed it when he pretended to find the “weapons of mass destruction” not in Pakistan but in Iraq. By leaving Pakistan — the foremost exporter of jihad — untouched, and invading Iraq, the US has made this world a very dangerous place. Sadly, the average American continues to back this suicidal foreign policy. Perhaps it’s not too late for Bush to come out of the quagmire of Iraq by surrendering all authority to the United Nations. Or he must be ready for worse than 9/11.

Yours faithfully,
S.K. Moitra, Kharagpur


Sir — The report, “Bombers rip British twin towers” (Nov 21), does not clarify whether the cars involved in the attacks in Istanbul were driven into the buildings or were parked outside. If it were the latter, would the cars have needed occupants' Calling the attackers “suicide-bombers” might help sell copies, but the more gratuitously it is used, the less meaningful it becomes. Will someone please clarify the facts to readers'

Yours faithfully,
R. Moore, via email


Glorious innings

Sir — Steve Waugh’s retirement from international cricket is the end of an era. He is probably the only one in the current Australian team who can be called a true “gentleman-cricketer”. Sachin Tendulkar echoed millions of cricket fans the world over when he said that every cricketer would love to play like him.

Yours faithfully,
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta


Sir — Both Steve and Mark Waugh helped strengthen Australian cricket, but Mark lost sight midway, especially with his involvement in a betting scandal. But Steve has been a pillar of strength for the Australian cricketers, leading the country to a world cup win in 1999 and important wins against India and England. His final game against India in Sydney, his homeground, will be a fitting farewell.

Yours faithfully,
T.R. Anand, Calcutta


Sir — It is very generous of Steve Waugh to continue to work with the Calcutta Foundation with the children of leprosy patients. Although spectators will miss him, the decision to step down at the right moment is a wise one. It speaks of his humility and sincerity.

Yours faithfully
Krithika Dhanraj, Shillong


Initial error

Sir — Dr I.G. Patel informs me that his name is Indraprasad, not Indravadan. I regret the error in “Sir Indravadan’s last war” (Dec 2). After this, I think there should be a ban on anyone being known by his initials.

Yours faithfully,
Ashok V. Desai,


New Delhi

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