World Updates

Why Qatar might actually offer a golden opportunity to understand each other a little better

Tom McElligott is right that the World Cup has exposed our hypocrisy. Qatar has taken important steps in reforming its laws regarding migrant labourers’ rights.

f course, nothing is perfect and the road ahead is torturous. But why not view the competition with a more positive mindset – as a chance to change stereotypes, a way to learn others’ cultural heritages and a channel to further intercultural dialogue and religious toleration?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, United Kingdom

Just when I thought Trump’s PR couldn’t get any worse

What would one give to have a tape of the scintillating, if mind-numbing, conversation at the dining table in that mecca of good taste, Mar-a-Lago, on Thanksgiving night.

Is the Donald really thinking of setting up a new party with Nick Fuentes as Purveyor of Fake News and Kanye West/Ye as Rapper-in-Chief? Even the menu would be of great interest: Big Macs, followed by Ben and Jerry’s, washed down by gallons of Coke. These men of taste and wisdom really know their haute cuisine, even if they can’t spell it.

The worst PR adviser in the world must be in the pay of the worst US president ever.

David Ryan

Co Meath

Ditch the phones and take leaf out of Groucho’s book

Groucho Marx, quick of wit and master of the caustic quip, once said: “After a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.” Groucho, who, with Chico, Harpo, Gummo and Zeppo made up the hilarious Marx Brothers, was already a keen reader when poverty forced him to quit school at 12 years of age.

Groucho overcame his lack of formal education by becoming well-read. He would, no doubt, have made a stinging wisecrack after the ESRI revelation that mobile phone ownership among nine-year-olds has increased from 44pc to 54pc in the past 10 years. This age group is spending far less time reading for pleasure than their counterparts did 10 years ago and far more time on mobile phones and computers.

Social media and literature can happily co-exist but young people must be encouraged to read. Between the covers of a book, readers of all ages are exposed to adventure, excitement, anticipation and knowledge. Regular reading stirs the imagination, arouses curiosity and inspires creativity. With a book in your hands, you’re in good company.

Bookshops have an eclectic supply of books to suit all tastes. What better Christmas present can a child receive than an introduction to the joy of reading with the gift of an age-appropriate book?

There is also an excellent public library service with books to suit all tastes. 

Although Groucho famously said: “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,” he regularly borrowed books from his local library, albeit incognito under his real name, Julius Henry Marrix.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry

Of all the gin joints – the magic of Casablanca at 80

Paul Whitington in his weekly film article (‘Here’s looking at you, kid: Casablanca turns 80’ – Irish Independent, November 26) writes about my favourite movie of all time – the ageless classic Casablanca. I suggest every cinema in the country run this movie for a few weeks to celebrate.

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns, she walks into mine”.

Pure magic.

Brian McDevitt,

Glenties, Co Donegal​

Sixties crooner’s little-known power to raise the comatose

A recent discussion on Claire Byrne’s radio show about people who are struck down and find themselves in a coma, reminds me of a story the late Andy Williams told against himself in his autobiography Moon River And Me.

While strolling in London he was recognised by a woman, who told him of her mother being in a coma and the family playing Andy’s records over and over to her, and indeed how fed up they all became at the sound of his voice.

Andy claims however that the story had a happy ending, in that the patient recovered.

Tom Gilsenan

Dublin 9

Souls of the dead arise to halt SF’s winning ways

A Red C Opinion Poll shows a drop in support for Sinn Féin. What caused it? Although included in most Irish people’s World Cup bets, it was hardly the success of the English soccer team.

Perhaps it was taken too close to All Soul’s Day.

Eugene Tannam

Dublin 24

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