An alternative view of world poverty The Monitor prides itself, not only on accurate facts, but also on leaving readers with an accurate overall impression.

However, the article "A richer world - but poorer too" (May 4) may have left most readers with the incorrect impression that world poverty has been increasing. The Asian crisis has only been a two-year phenomenon with sharp devaluations exaggerating the slide backwards in US dollar comparisons. The crisis is now beginning to recede anyway.

Since 1960, the percentage of the world's population living in poverty has been reduced by more than half. With population growth, the reduction in absolute numbers of poor people may not be as sharp. And the big picture for the 20th century is a wonderfully thrilling reduction in poverty.

Farok J. Contractor Boonton, N.J.

Canadian newspaper competition I appreciated the article "Toronto's role as a four newspaper town" (May 6) on Toronto's battle to support four large daily newspapers and its parallel with other much larger international cities. The author noted that the newest paper, The National Post, is not just a Toronto paper but is marketed as a national paper. I was fascinated on a recent trip to our capital city, Ottawa, to see a totally different issue, which virtually ignored a serious transit strike that filled the pages of its Toronto edition. The national paper concept, using innovations in satellite and printing technology to adapt to regional markets, was pioneered here by Toronto's Globe and Mail.

Rob Sherman Toronto, Ontario

Down-to-earth celebrities Thanks for your article on John and Janet Elway ("Regular guy John Elway returns to a regular life," April 30). It's nice to see well-known people who have not gotten caught up in the vanities of riches and fame. I have no doubt their children will be the beneficiaries of the good example the Elways are setting.

I only wish it were more the norm. The situation in our society that makes me the saddest is when I think of women who have basically given up family for the business world - with someone else raising the kids. What an uneven trade! I hope folks will read your article and rethink their priorities; if more kids had a loving mom at home (like Janet Elway) raising them, we would have fewer problem children than we do today.

Al Yancey Richmond, Va.

Right to bear arms Contrary to the Monitor's editorial ("Reasonable Steps on Guns" May 7), there's no such thing as "reasonable" gun control, just as there's no such thing as "reasonable" censorship or "reasonable" police brutality. Not only do such abuses of liberty run afoul of the Constitution, they violate the natural right to live our lives as we wish, as long as we harm no other, that we all possess by virtue of being human.

If freedom of speech is the canary in the coal mine of liberty, and assaults upon it a clear sign the state is abandoning any pretense of respecting individual rights, then the right to bear arms is the guardian of liberty, and assaults upon it are an attempt to render people defenseless against future abuses. That's why legislative assaults on our freedom - no matter the claim of "necessity" or "reasonableness" - can never be legitimate and don't command our obedience.

But while we share the natural concern over the events in Littleton, we recognize panic- - and opportunism- -fueled assaults on our freedom as illegitimate overstepping.

J.D. Tuccille Flagstaff, Ariz.

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