Why British aren't 'on board' with euro The editorial "On board the euro" (Jan. 6) recommends that Britain should join the euro. Such a recommendation could only have been made from inadequate knowledge of the institutions of the European Union. It is a myth that Britain would have some say in the monetary policy or the development of the institutions.

Several weeks ago information came to light about widespread corruption throughout the European Commission. This body is the civil service of the European Union, but instead of being above politics it is, itself, highly politicized.

I could write at great length of how embattled we feel in the face of pressure to surrender our democracy. Had your editorial staff more in-depth knowledge of the internal structure of the European Union, and the threat it poses to hard-won freedoms, they would not have made the recommendation so glibly.

From our point of view, we have nothing in common with the totally undemocratic and corrupt institutions of the European Union. Joining a monetary union is acknowledged by all as the next step to inevitable political union, which will do nothing less than disenfranchise the British people.

Rosemary Venning, Cambridge, England

News coverage of Iraq The Monitor's approach to Iraq seems to be as dismissive as those of the general press.

It was generally conceded that no government has ever been able to maintain control with the support of less than one-tenth of the governed and it seems the present government of Iraq enjoys a considerably higher percentage.

Also, in accord with the Golden Rule, it is surely requisite to accord the same degree of sovereignty to others as we would expect for ourselves. The government and people of Iraq, having been chastened in the Gulf War, should be given the right to settle their own affairs. This would hopefully reduce the development and use of weapons of mass destruction and encourage the people of Iraq to aspire to an acceptable and properly influential position among the community of nations. John A. Schulz, Victoria, British Columbia

Sane approach to Y2K

I appreciated the article "A tech-linked world faces 'Y2K' " (Jan. 20). Instead of reports of reaction from one extreme or the other, it gave us progress reports from various countries. That is the type of information we need in order to make realistic assessments of the overall situation. How about a report on the current Y2K readiness of our delivery systems: railroads, shipping, and trucking? Betty Smith, St. Louis, Mo.

Wood-burning fireplaces The article "A Western way of life vanishes into thin air" (Jan. 21) is seriously misleading. If wood-burning fireplaces were serious contributors to air pollution, why didn't the Environmental Protection Agency limit their use at the same time it prescribed certification for wood-burning stoves? Because smoke from air-tight wood stoves is much more seriously polluting than smoke from an open fire with full access to combustion air.

Those concerned with problems of wood burning fireplaces, who urge use of natural gas, should learn the facts about fossil fuel depletion and the compelling long-term necessity of alternative fuels, among which wood is a leading candidate.

Lawrence Cranberg, PhD Austin, Texas President, Texas, Fireframe

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

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