As demonstrated by Krista Mahr's well-balanced report, "Living in Limbo," the root causes of today's refugee problem are no longer ideologically driven, as they were 60 to 70 years ago, but can be found in global overpopulation [July 5]. With too many humans competing for too few natural resources, moving people around is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The answer lies in massive family planning, education, an end to exploitation and better opportunities for the disadvantaged in their homelands.
Margit Alm, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Let's stop blaming the people refugees are fleeing to for the asylum problem. Let's start blaming the people they're fleeing from. The atrocities committed against these people are done by their own leaders the murderous despots and fanatics who want control for their own ends. Until the leaders of these nations decide to look beyond their own self-interest, there will be no end of refugees and asylum seekers. Let's start in their homes, not their destinations.
Grant Butler, BRIGHTWATERS, AUSTRALIA
After reading your article and empathizing with the abject misery of so many people, I wondered why there was no mention of the elephant in the room. With 15 million refugees worldwide, almost 1 in 3 is Palestinian, often stateless and in limbo since 1948. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees provides assistance to about 4.7 million registered Palestinian refugees. Your article could well have done with some reports from a refugee camp in Gaza, where the majority of the 1.5 million inhabitants are refugees. Nasser Mashni, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
The Fall of Rome?
Stephan Faris' article "The Italian Illusion" offers little insight on the first and foremost cause of Italy's failing economy: the costly uselessness of its political class [July 5]. The European taxpayers who will probably have to pitch in to save Italy in the near future should consider that a president of a single Italian region receives pay far above that of the U.S. President, and that the list of allowances and bonuses Italian politicians receive is simply staggering. Faris states that the country needs an "economic overhaul," but that can only happen when Italy undergoes an overhaul of its politicians, who live a world apart from the necessities and priorities of the general population.
Daniel Moscardi, FLORENCE, ITALY
China's Africa Investment
It is an unflattering reality described in "China's New Continent" that Africa's quest for economic success is shouldered by Chinese direct investment and aid from the West [July 5]. It is even a more painful reality that Africa still views its challenges abstractedly and needs foreigners to conceive, plan and implement solutions to those challenges. Only if Africa takes its destiny in its stride and confronts its challenges will the world witness a relationship with foreign powers based on mutual respect and gain for Africa. For now, though, it is China that enjoys the spoils.
Zainab Sandah, ABUJA
Going All In
I enjoyed your poker article "Attack of the Math Brats" [July 5]. However, I don't completely agree with how the new-schoolers are displacing the old-timers. I think the reason so many unknown players are reaching the final tables is more down to large numbers. In the early part on the new millennium, the World Series of Poker Main Event only had between 500 and 900 entrants, but after 2004 that number ballooned to between 5,000 and 9,000 players. Statistically, the big cats were very likely to be swamped by small-timers who were willing to abandon traditional betting practices for all-or-nothing and random strategy approaches, with many of them often succeeding.
Simon Maelzer, LABENNE, FRANCE