India's quick response to attacks on Christians The editorial entitled "India's Shame" (Feb. 17) implies that the Christian community is being made a scapegoat, as it is "politically insignificant" and can be portrayed as "foreign." The editorial also suggests that official condemnation of religious bigotry and affirmation of the freedom of conscience and worship as well as the pursuit of perpetrators of crimes has not been sufficient. This is incorrect.

The reality is that there has been strong condemnation from the highest levels of the government in India of the regrettable incidents. The killing of an Australian missionary and his two children has been strongly deplored by the government and by all sections of Indian society. A sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India has been appointed to inquire into the matter. Arrests have been made not only in this crime, but also in earlier incidents in Gujarat. Every effort is being made to punish the perpetrators so that the Christian community and other religious minorities can continue to practice their faith without fear or fetter in democratic and secular India. The vast majority in India stands for tolerance and respect for all religions and secularism. We are a bit surprised at exaggerated reports and one-sided coverage.

Navtej Sarna Washington, D.C. Press, information, and culture counsellor Embassy of India

How smart are new 'smart' toys? Regarding " 'Smart' toys interact with kids and TV" (Feb. 24), I emphatically agree with the point, "The question is, do we want the toys to be clever, or our kids? I work as a therapist for children with autism. We use interactive toys as positive reinforcement for a request well executed, but when we teach them appropriate play we go back to the basics: blocks, dolls, board games, etc. I observe similar responses in my nieces and nephews as with the children I work with. You hand them some supersonic talking toy, and they either go screaming through the house imitating the violent "hi-ah's," or they sit like wet noodles, mechanically poking buttons. Sure, our children are being stimulated, but in many cases not appropriately. It's true, pots and pans can make some of the best toys.

Alesandra H. Seable Rexburg, Idaho

Aid programs don't help poor nations In response to the editorial, "Don't give in to aid fatigue," (Feb. 22): Who really benefits between the poor and rich nations? The rich nations provide the labor, transport, spare parts, and capital. But rich nations are also benefactors because they solve problems of unemployment and develop markets for their goods and services. I have witnessed this because I am from Uganda - one of the poorest nations in Africa. I ask myself, when are we going to start providing for ourselves? For instance, it would be of advantage to train us to repair our own bore-holes or dams instead of persisting with rehabilitation projects. This would help us gain skills. Otherwise, aid will mostly help the development of the developed nations by expanding their markets, and the low development of the poor will continue.

Emmanuel Lusinde Rexburg, Idaho

The 9 to 5 myth The article "The office of tomorrow ... today" (March 1) made reference to the time "when people worked 9 to 5." Allowing for lunch and other breaks leaves much less than eight hours for work. During a 45-year career, I keep hearing about 9 to 5 jobs, but never had one or anything like it - nor did any of my acquaintances. Did you?

Horace Hone Palm Coast, Fla.

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