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Privacy rights should have its limits

In response to your Sept. 25 article "Child abuse video reveals how often we're on camera," about the privacy issues raised by the capture of child abuse on a security camera in the parking lot of a Florida mall: What privacy issues?

Our privacy rights are protected only where and when we have a legitimate expectation of privacy. We do not have a legitimate expectation of privacy for activities undertaken in plain view in a public place. This includes, presumably, parking lots of malls.

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We should not be surprised when a security camera preserves an embarrassing public moment on film. If it happens to expose and aid in the capture of child abusers or other criminals, so much the better.
Allison F. Eklund
St. Paul, Minn.

US students need to work harder

The issue presented in "Campus labs a target as security tightens" (Learning, Sept. 24) which concerned me the most was revealed in a quote from the president of the National Academy of Sciences: "We can't fill our own schools with people from the US. They're just not coming through the system, not willing to work that hard." That surely is a clear signal of the serious work we have to do here at home.

The wealth and influence our nation now possesses mean nothing toward a positive future without a universal recognition of the values of education and hard work. We need to roll up our sleeves, commit to educating our youth, and let them know we have high expectations of them.
Marie Pavish
Harborside, Maine

Ethnic differences part of political game

Your Sept. 27 article "After crisis, Ivory Coast still edgy," asserts that "long-standing ethnic tensions are ... at the heart of an attempted coup by dissident soldiers." But the multiethnic government of President Laurent Gbagbo, the opposition parties, and the military suggest otherwise.

Certainly Mr. Gbagbo could do more to promote the proud tradition of Ivorian heterogeneity fostered by the country's first president Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

But Gbagbo lacks political legitimacy. When he was elected, opposition was largely excluded. Since he came to power, three other national leaders have jockeyed for attention, and together with Gbagbo comprised "the three chiefs": Henri Konan Bédié, Robert Guéi, and Alassane Ouattara.

With weak leadership at a time of a foundering economy, Mr. Bédié, Mr. Guéi, and Gbagbo have resorted to exploiting ethnic differences for short-term political gain. Ethnic tensions, rather than at the heart of the attempted coup, result from the greed of politicians who find fomenting ethnic conflict an easier means of clinging to power than fixing roads or applying policies for agricultural improvement.
Laurence Becker
Corvallis, Ore.

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UN lacks balance

Regarding your Sept. 27 article "UN's 'two standards' under fire": It's obvious that there is a disparity between large, strong nations and small, weak nations. When your article suggests the preponderance of resolutions against Israel, it ignores the fact that there has never been a resolution against the Palestinian suicide murderers.

Strong and weak nations have shown, by deliberately omitting Israel from the Regional Groups, that they care more about a nation like Syria, a declared terrorist state which has served on the Security Council, than they do about the only democracy in the Middle East, which cannot serve on the Security Council because it is not part of a Regional Group. So much for equitable balance.
Jack Salem
Los Angeles

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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 oped@csps.com.


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