The value of legitimate trade in diamonds

Regarding your editorial "A jewel of a deal" (Dec. 5): Both the Kimberley Process agreement and the United States legislation were important and critical first steps in addressing the trade in conflict diamonds. However, whether these initiatives in their present forms, are worthy of support and, more importantly, will be effective in stopping the trade and restoring confidence in buying diamonds in the US, is another question. Until the governments involved get the message that the trade must become transparent, independently monitored, and global in the application of its new certification scheme, they will do the very thing they want to do least - hurt the legitimate diamond industry. Until the Bush administration accepts the idea that effective regulation of US diamond imports is a concept whose time has come and allows the Senate to exercise its right to strengthen the current bill, it will be directly responsible for preventing consumer confidence in buying clean diamonds, thus hurting an industry already reeling from the recession.

Adotei Akwei Chevy Chase, Md.

Africa Advocacy Director

Amnesty International

Your editorial rightly hails the international agreement reached in Botswana last week to establish a system to stop the trade in conflict diamonds. However, I must take issue with your statement that the diamond industry has turned a "blind eye" to the conflict trade. In fact, just the opposite is true. The industry has been in the forefront of efforts to keep conflict diamonds out of legitimate commerce.

All segments of the industry joined in the creation of the World Diamond Council (WDC) in the summer of 2000 specifically to deal with this problem. The WDC and Jewelers of America, representing more than 10,000 retail jewelers nationwide, are working closely with members of Congress and a coalition of human rights and faith-based organizations to secure passage of the US legislation.

Matthew A. Runci New York

President and CEO of Jewelers of America

Ginger scoots into the future

In "It's a scooter! It's a chariot! It's going to fall over!" (Dec. 4), a MIT professor says, "Ginger could make a dramatic impact on our consumption of fossil fuels and production of CO2." While true, in both cases the impact will be an increase, not a decrease. If Americans behave true to form, they will use Ginger not as a substitute for driving, but as a substitute for walking. Everyone will have a Ginger in his trunk to alleviate the strain of walking from parking lot to office or mall. Worst of all, just as roads are now reserved for cars, sidewalks will be reserved for Gingers, leaving no safe venue for the few remaining walkers.

Eric J. Klieber Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Somebody is going to have to explain to me why something that is: heavier than a bicycle, slower than a bicycle, has a lower payload than a bicycle, is 10 times the price of a bicycle, is less efficient than a bicycle, is less responsive to user motion inputs than a bicycle, takes up more space than a bicycle, is in any way better than ... a bicycle.

Simon Wells Barton-under-Needwood, UK

I love Ron Charles's satire as expressed in "Changing the world, gingerly" (Dec. 7, Opinion), but I must say that those of us who have a hard time getting around are looking forward to the home version of the Segway. People limited by one physical obstacle or another need such a safe, easy to use, affordable device to help not only in getting around the house but in going out in public.

Ronald L. Bolhn Bakersfield, Calif.

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