Tragedy in Oklahoma

4 minute read

Tragedy in Oklahoma
Even when nature is to blame for such seemingly random devastation, the tragedy still remains profoundly human [“16 Minutes,” June 3]. Early-warning, advanced weather-watching technologies or more safe rooms and shelters might have helped the people of Moore, Okla., but would have done little for their properties. For us Europeans, who use concrete and bricks in construction, we find images of whole neighborhoods entirely destroyed by the passing of a tornado completely unreal and even surreal. With such arbitrary loss of human life and the cost of damages in the billions, maybe it’s time for a change in the choice of building materials.
Athanasios Hatzilakos,

Once again, readers around the world are shocked at the loss of life as a result of tornados in the U.S., especially in Tornado Alley, where disaster is expected to hit again. At the same time, there is great disbelief that there are no laws requiring every house in such exposed areas to have storm shelters that could be cheap, mass-produced reinforced-concrete cells, either in the basement or above, securely anchored.
Norb Schicker,
Crans, Switzerland

Betting on Burma
Re “The Scramble for Burma” [June 3]: Hannah Beech has analyzed the situation in Burma aptly. Indeed the country is opening up and global investors are eyeing its rich natural resources and potential trade. With President Thein Sein’s recent visit to Washington and a cordial reception by President Obama, Burma is ready for a sprint. However, the ongoing sectarian conflicts would be doing more harm than good if not amiably resolved soon. The government can ill afford to overlook human-rights issues if the nation wants to progress smoothly at the right pace.
Titan Monn,

Poverty in Saudi Arabia
Re “Down and Out in Saudi Arabia,” [June 3]: I was amused to have read an article presenting the paradox in Saudi Arabia, one of the richest oil-producing countries in the world, with strong economic growth, which still houses many people living under the poverty line. This just goes to show that a country with strong growth is not automatically a “developed” one. Development is a very encompassing term that must cover all aspects, from economic growth to social and political welfare.
Ingrid E. Saplagio,

Aryn Baker’s story seems to have ignored the elephant in the room. The Saudi royal family, numbering several thousand members, is part of the problem, not the solution. By confusing public money with private, they have squandered their massive wealth to the detriment of large swaths of the population. A comparative analysis on how the Norwegians and the Saudis have managed their oil revenue would explain why the Saudi rulers are sitting on an “economic time bomb,” as Prince Alwaleed bin Talal so aptly describes it.
Alistair Adam,

Cameron’s Way
Re “Cameron’s Gamble” [June 3]: Regarding the critical issue of Britain’s future in Europe, Prime Minister David Cameron looks to be clueless and sitting on the fence. It was not until pressure from within and outside the Tory party had peaked that Cameron reluctantly performed one of his infamous U-turns and promised a national referendum for the next Parliament in four to five years’ time. The British public might vote to stay in the E.U. if Britain’s membership terms were renegotiated. Predictably, Cameron never spelled out which terms he intends to renegotiate and how.
Karl H. Pagac,

Villeneuve-Loubet, France

Stored-Value Cards
Re “The Cost of Convenience” [June 3]: Bill Saporito stops short of telling the story from stored-value-card issuers’ perspective in depth. Him not appreciating interests he could get from $250 is heaven for the issuers. Not only do they buy his personal profile for a cappuccino, he is even lending money out to them for free.
Gernot Auer,

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