'Do-Good' World Bank Doesn't Please All

I wanted to let you know how disappointed I was in your coverage of the World Bank in "Do-Good Bank Can't Please All" (Feb. 11). I was disappointed because I look to the Monitor as a good source for objective reporting on international issues, and in this case, I found your bias toward mainstream views on the World Bank to be overwhelming.

First, your coverage did not seek to quote the bank's most famous critic, the "Fifty Years is Enough Campaign," instead choosing to quote gentler, and more free market-oriented "critics" of the bank.

Second, you did not attempt to describe (even objectively) the World Bank and IMF's Structural Adjustment Packages. These are forced down developing countries' throats when they have reached the point of total despair, giving them no option but to immediately cut necessary safety-net programs in health and education.

Lastly, you neglected to list an alternative "resource site" at the end of the article. Instead, you only directed readers to the World Bank's Web site.

As a result, you have not only robbed your readers of a less-biased view on World Bank policies and its critics' views, but you have also misinformed them by not painting a complete picture of alternative views regarding the bank's "do-good" works in developing countries all over the world.

Deborah Hirsh

Akron, Ohio

Beef with Oprah and Alar

Regarding your editorial "The Beef with Oprah" (Feb. 2): You state, "Food scares have rippled through American society in recent years. In some cases such as the Alar scare concerning apples, unsound data nearly ruined the industry."

In a recent issue of "Liberal Opinion Week," Charles Lewandosky cites a 1990 lawsuit against "60 Minutes" for its program on Alar. The suit was dismissed by a federal district court in 1993 because "60 Minutes" used Alar studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency that indicated a health risk from the use of the chemical. He cited the EPA's conclusion: "The dietary risk posed to the general population in 1989 was unreasonable" and reported that the EPA classified Alar as a human carcinogen. He added that its use is no longer allowed.

The statement in your editorial that "unsound data nearly ruined an industry" appears to be directly antithetic to the EPA's findings. Would it not be appropriate for the Monitor to do a little more research and ascertain whether Lewandosky's statements about the findings and actions of the EPA in this case are correct? If they are, a correction would seem to be warranted.

Joseph D. Golden

Pompano Beach, Fla.

Editor's note: The "unsound data" involved in the 1989 Alar scare sprang from tests in which laboratory animals were given massive doses of a breakdown chemical that results when Alar is heated - far larger than anything that would result from residue on fruit. Many toxicologists agree that such findings did not support the claims made on "60 Minutes" about potential dangers to consumers of apple products.

Zimbabwe's political climate

Thank you for the opinion essay on the current political climate in Zimbabwe ("Zimbabwe's Leader Takes Care of His Own," Feb 17). It is high time that a national newspaper noted the current issues occurring in that emerging, powerful south African country.

Last months riots over inflated staple food prices had all of us who have ties to that region concerned. President Mugabe's extravagant antics of late also have raised many eyebrows. Bravo for shining the light on this neglected news.

David C. Chaudoir

Berrien Springs, Mo.

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed to oped@csps.com

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