January 16, 2014 1:33 PM EST

Picture Perfect
Re “The Year in Pictures” [Dec. 30]: Congratulations to TIME for gracing the cover with the picture of a great white shark breaching in pursuit of a seal. How refreshing to have a nature picture on the front page rather than that of a politician or a notorious criminal!
Kevin Hackett,
Cape Town

Your collection of pictures for the year 2013 is a treasure for lovers of photography. The one capturing the dead couple of the Bangladesh garment-factory tragedy is a masterpiece! In Urdu, there’s a proverb that goes, “Love never dies; it lives forever.” Well done, TIME and Taslima Akhter: You have immortalized the dead couple.
Aftab Ahmad,

Consumer Crusader
Re “Seller Beware” [Dec. 30]: Quality control has been a big problem in China. Many goods are being produced or manufactured quickly and ignominiously. For instance, a good number of electrical appliances would not last more than a year. We consumers are sick of replacing the malfunctioned stuff so often. Wang Hai has been doing a good job raising the awareness of consumers’ rights in our country. The government should leave no stone unturned to contain if not eradicate those unscrupulous businessmen who become rich overnight.
Luzou Phu,
Nanjing, China

In Taiwan, many of us once used to snub mainland Chinese products because of their less-than-satisfactory quality in the 2000s, despite the lower prices. Things are obviously getting better, thanks to advocates like Wang, who relentlessly champions the rights of consumers and alerts the authorities concerned. Nowadays, Chinese products can rival that of any advanced country. The fact that Apple has its iPhone components manufactured mainly in China speaks volumes.
Ti Han-venn,

What Women Want
Re “2013: The Year Men Became Obsolete?” [Dec. 30]: I don’t think women really want to take over men’s jobs and sports, but they also do not want to be only good for men’s entertainment at big sporting events. So maybe 2014 should be declared “The Year Women Became Obsolete and Extinct,” because only then will the “problem of women” go away.
Margot Huysamer,
Porterville, South Africa

Camille Paglia pulled me in with valid questions about the unforeseen costs of the feminist movement, but her advice is ridiculous. The worst is her nonsensical argument that women are not the authors of the world we live in. Even without giving due credit to the contributions women make outside the home, surely the fact that every human being comes from a woman counts for something.
Michaela Ruane-Gonzales,

Big Bad Bank
Re “The Exceptions That Prove” [Dec. 30]: At last I’ve read an article that makes a point I have made for a long time: “Banks used to be the servants … Now they are [the] masters.” Banks have forgotten their raison d’être — they were created to provide loans to businesses, not to create money for themselves. Their greed has made them the bloated, self-serving, law-breaking institutions that they now are. The 2008 financial crisis will be forgotten, and they’ll bring the world to its knees again, or worse, if we don’t bring them down to size.
Stuart Ord,
Chester, England

Shifting Paradigms
Re 10 Questions [Dec. 30]: The one thing Rick Warren would get people to change in the new year is “to stop believing everything they think.” I certainly hope he includes himself in this consideration. It is through rational thought, planning and paradigms like the scientific method that we can change things in a positive way. Faith in a God and alternative hereafter destinations may deliver one the “comfort of knowing,” but it also delivers humanity into delusions instead of solutions.
William Simcoe,
Karkkila, Finland

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