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Need in Yugoslavia: spare Serb civilians The opinion article entitled "Serbian student's message to NATO" (April 2) added an important dimension to the complex issues facing us in Kosovo. Serbian opposition groups who had been actively working against President Milosevic in the past are now, as the student puts it, being held as "hostages of NATO intervention." The general population, not responsible for the terror of Milosevic, is now ducking bombs along with the Serbian troops.

The US and NATO allies need to find other methods of dealing with this terrorist president. While we are appalled at the atrocities in Kosovo, we ourselves are committing destructive acts through the air strikes. We need to call on our leaders to come up with creative solutions which will support, not destroy, civilians in Serbia. For there are people, such as the student author, who have been striving for peace and democracy there.

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Mary Beth Ziegenfuss Allentown, Pa.

An idea for the "unbanked" Regarding your editorial "Helping the unbanked" (March 26): I am surprised that no mention was made of the European system of Postal Checking Accounts. In the 1950s we used these no-fee accounts for checks and transfers to other account holders in Belgium and the then-Belgian Congo. There was free international transfer privilege within the European Postal Union.

This system would solve the problem you described and permit anyone to satisfy the coming requirements of Social Security and other such programs to have accounts for direct deposit to avoid theft of checks in the mail.

Norman B Abell Penney Farms, Fla.

Another benefit of organic farming Regarding "Organic farmers hear a call: If you grow it, they will buy" (March 24): The story says "crop yields are about half what [one] would harvest with conventional methods." Actually, yields are higher when organic methods are followed. But it takes years for the earth to recover from the loss of humus and from the killing of all the beneficial soil organisms.

Marjorie Fisher Evanston, Ill.

Alternative minimum tax As a CPA in the middle of tax season, I have enjoyed your Monday series on different filing issues.

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However, a statement in the article "Minimum tax, maximum bother" (March 29) is misleading. The sentence "Under 'alt min' rules, ... deductions for mortgage interest ... don't count," is wrong and I would expect it to horrify people who think their return has been prepared incorrectly. It is only in a very rare and specific situation that a generally small portion of mortgage interest might not be deductible for AltMin purposes.

Linda Bargmann Escondido, Calif.

New king in town Judging from the result of the NCAA men's basketball championship, Douglas Looney might want to withhold his coronation until after the fat lady finishes her song ("Why not just admit it? Duke is already king," March 25).

In one of the most exciting championship games in recent memory, the University of Connecticut beat Duke at its own game. The Huskies were the ones playing with "intensity and brains, a killing combination." Make no mistake. This was not David vs. Goliath, as Mr. Looney said, but rather one Goliath delivering a knockout blow to another.

Next time I suggest writing your headlines after the game. There's a new king in town.

Peter Donaldson Anacortes, Wash.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of submissions, only a selection can be published. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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