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UAE : A home for all

The UAE has been the friendliest country in the Middle East. It has welcomed expats with open arms. The country has provided equal opportunities for all who have come here irrespective of their origin or nationality. But what makes the country unique is the multicultural aspect and the way the leaders, through their open policies, embraced the people and allowed them to prosper. Every resident in the UAE feels it their second home. For some who are born here, it is the first home. You do not miss your home food because all the ingredients required to make your favourite food is available here. I think we celebrate our festivals with more vigour in the UAE than back in our countries. And whenever our countries face any crisis, the UAE has been there to support us. It is this compassionate nature of the country that makes us feel at home. With the new decree about granting citizenship to specialists, the UAE shows its gratitude to the people who have contributed to its growth. UAE! We are proud to live here. You make us feel at home.

From Mr Prasad Warrier

Sharjah, UAE

The environmental risk of face mask

According to a recent report, more than 1.5 billion facemasks reached the oceans during the pandemic in 2020. It tells how careless the humans when it comes to maintaining the very basic of healthy practices, especially in a hazardous pandemic situation. Despite a massive campaign across the globe, masks are discarded carelessly, and are even seen lying in the streets next to disposal bins. Since the majority population worldwide uses single-use disposable facemasks for convenient reasons, their proper and effective disposal remains a concern. Therefore, waste management has become a challenging task, even for health facilities in the world. The existing mechanism may not be enough to meet the high volume of waste from people, hospitals and largescale industries. As the world is almost adapted to a ‘buy and throw away’ culture for most regular consumables, including electronic items, the apparent lack of disposal facilities has become a significant concern. We are unaware of how long the coronavirus is here to stay. It is for every one of us to contribute our part to make this a practice and a source of inspiration to the rest of the world.

From Mr Ramachandran Nair


India budget 2021

Though India's Finance Minister seems to have hit a clean sixer, giving benefits to agriculture and industrialists, once again the salaried class and pensioners, as usual, have been yorked for a duck (“India budget 2021-22: All you need to know”, Gulf News, February 01). Since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power, the term deposit interest rates at banks and post offices have gone for a toss. The worst affected are the pensioners, who entirely depend on the monthly interest earned on their retirement benefits with the banks. During United Progressive Alliance (UPA) tenure, Chidambaram burdened us with service tax cess which is still proving to be a burden. Now Nirmala Sitharaman has added the new Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) which would add stress to salaried class. Ironically, the fuel will escalate the cost of essential day-to-day items, which will finally pinch the pockets of the common man. With this, the NDA Government has proved that they are no different from the UPA. In a nutshell, this India Budget is a total disappointment for the common man, especially the salaried middle class and pensioners. Instead of relaxing the Income Tax (IT) return for senior citizen above 75, which has no financial relief. Like in the case of parliamentarians, the foreign minister should have exempted all senior citizens from the purview of Income Tax. We expected the foreign minister to remove Goods and Services Tax (GST) from the medical insurance cost, which she has also overlooked.

From Mr N Mahadevan


Australia postpone South Africa Test tour

Unfortunately, Cricket Australia has postponed its tour to South Africa next month, citing "unacceptable health and safety risk" in South Africa because of fresh COVID-19 outbreak. This has proved to be a boon for New Zealand to be the first team to qualify for the inaugural World Test Championship to be held at Lords this year. Ironically, by chance the England vs India series is drawn, Australia has an outside chance to qualify to meet New Zealand at Lords. This permutation and combination have probably prompted Cricket Australia to postpone as a defeat against South Africa would have sealed their chance to be in the finals.

From Mr N Viswanathan


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