Letters to the Editor: Here’s one way US could yet trump China on the dark side of the moon...
It was in a Kilkenny pub that I heard about China's great cosmological breakthrough in landing a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. I honestly thought it was a joke, because I hadn't heard or read anything about the Chinese Space programme.
The first image that flashed in my mind was of a crass movie I'd seen about super scientific Nazis in the dying days of WWII, managing to colonise the dark side of Earth's romantic satellite and threatening another blitzkrieg to conquer the world, this time from way up there.
But this landing was true. What an achievement. I have written letters to the press in the past denouncing China's brutal authoritarian regime, its repression of Tibetan culture and its odious political and military bullying of breakaway Taiwan... but fair play to the Chinese for pulling off this 21st-century space odyssey.
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I am old enough to recall the 1969 Moon landing - the unforgettable, jaw-dropping moment when a human being set foot for the first time on that mysterious orb that has beguiled poets and scientists for millennia.
Further Apollo missions and space probes followed, but now China has upped the ante in being the first nation to land a craft on the far side of the Moon.
Will America feel obliged to trump China's technological coup?
It could really impress us by launching a rocket containing its ambitious and deeply patriotic president into space, to plant the Stars and Stripes on both the near and far side of the Moon.
I know that Nasa is concerned about the astronomical cost of manned lunar trips but that shouldn't be an issue.
The Mexicans can pay for it.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
The Church caused first breach in 'communion'
Bishop Kevin Doran states politicians who had supported the repeal of the Eighth Amendment had "chosen a position which is clearly out of communion with the Church".
He seems blithely unaware that daily revelations of worldwide sex abuse by clergy and the cover-up by bishops and the Vatican show the first breach of communion was not committed by ordinary Catholics - but by the Church.
In Ireland, the appalling treatment of women and children in Church-run institutions exacerbated the breach of communion, especially with the poor and the vulnerable.
The massive decline in Mass attendance and the near-empty seminaries show the effect of the Catholic Church's breach of communion with its members.
Rather than being judgemental of two-thirds of the electorate who voted for repeal (and who will pay no attention to Dr Doran's comments), the good bishop would be far better occupied in finding ways to stop his Church's continuing slide into moral irrelevance for most of the population - a population which is notionally three-quarters Catholic.
Portmarnock, Co Dublin
Varadkar's policies leave thousands going hungry
THE guff continues to come thick and fast (''Nobody will go hungry': Varadkar's warning on food supply', Irish Independent, January 4).
Does Leo Varadkar really not know there are already thousands of citizens going hungry and Brexit has nothing to do with it?
It is all down to the ideology that informs the policies pursued by an administration that he oversees.
Conscientious objection a human right for all
THE denial of the right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief, to a considerable number of healthcare staff following the enactment of the Health (Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018, will one day be seen as a human rights abuse. Conscientious objection is a right derived from the human and constitutional right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission recommended that the conscientious objection provisions in the bill be extended to a broader range of healthcare personnel than doctors and nurses.
However, conscientious objection is provided only for doctors and nurses following the enactment of the abortion legislation. Only doctors and nurses have the protection of the legislation in this matter.
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status.
All healthcare staff are equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.
"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." - John F Kennedy
Kilcock, Co Kildare
Robinson flies in the face of what she preaches
When Mary Robinson made her mad dash to Dubai to access and pronounce on the mental and physical condition of Princess Latifa on behalf of the globe, did she for one minute consider her carbon footprint that she keeps banging on about to the rest of us - did the Dubai rulers take care of that for her?
Or does her assumed saintliness exempt her from the stuff she warns us about every time a camera points at her?
Bantry, Co Cork