Foundation in India Helps Curb Child Labor

With a great sense of dismay, I read the article ''India Battles Illegal Child Labor,'' Nov. 8. The author never interviewed anyone from the Rugmark Foundation (an organization formed by Indian carpet exporters who visit workplaces looking for illegal child labor). The author never states that a growing number of exporters have signed up with the Rugmark program (more than 50 as of September) or how many Rugmark carpets are now being shipped to Western Europe (75,000 as of September).

The author doesn't quote anyone from the consumer groups, trade unions, and anti-child-labor organizations who have condemned the Kaleen program (a government program that randomly checks looms for illegal child labor) as a smoke screen by the Indian government. These organizations in Europe and the US accept only the Rugmark program because only Rugmark has the requisite backup system in place, manned by committed activists, to mitigate the problem of bribery.

Kenneth P. Hutchison Washington

Executive Director

Asian-American Free Labor Institute

Maps omit key areas of Africa

Since the Monitor strives to be accurate, I am asking you to correct one glaring omission in the map ''The Nations of the World,'' Oct. 18. On the 1946 map, the Portuguese colony of the Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of French West Africa, has been left out.

But more seriously, in the African section of ''Nation Inflation,'' no mention was made of five countries that became independent as late as 1975: the Cape Verde Republic, Guinea-Bissau, the Islands of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea, Angola, and Mozambique.

After all, they deserve some attention for having been the very earliest European colonies in Africa and the last to gain independence from the Portuguese as the result of a revolution in Portugal proper.

Gerald M. Moser State College, Pa.

Radio Free Europe: a stable medium

I'd like to add some important information for readers that was missing from the front-page article ''Shortwave Tunes In to a Changed World,'' Nov. 1.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is the leading international radio broadcaster to Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, with 25 million listeners. We broadcast some 730 hours weekly in 21 languages, in shortwave, medium wave, and AM/FM, providing objective, balanced news and information to countries building democratic, free-market societies after decades of communist misrule.

RFE/RL and Voice of America have consolidated many operations, saving more than $400 million by fiscal year 1999. Our organizations are strong, complementary components of public diplomacy in a region whose future stability and peace is a vital United States security interest.

Kevin Klose Washington


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Give western Canadians a voice

Regarding the article ''Why Quebec's Heartland Will Tell 'English' Canada: Vive la Difference!'' Oct. 11: The author has done a remarkable job covering the stand many Quebeckers share concerning the separation of Quebec from Canada.

However, he has failed to represent how the rest of Canada feels about the possible separation. The author should have at least collected a sample of opinions of some ''English'' Canadians and western Canadians concerning the matter, as well as their feelings about Quebec. Being from western Canada, I feel that Quebec is a beautiful, essential part of Canada - one that helps make the country so unique.

Julie Heggie Rexburg, Idaho

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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