TORTURE: I'M SURE the diabolical torture of playing heavy metal songs and the Sesame Street theme tune will break the Iraqi captives and force them to speak (Echo, May 20).

It is not only Iraqi prisoners who find such sounds culturally offensive. I find heavy metal music equally offensive, but at least I have the freedom to switch off. The poor prisoners have no such choice. This is worse than medieval torture. - EA Moralee, Billingham.


YOUR report of a Warwickshire motorcyclist travelling at 157mph, said to be one of the fastest speeds recorded on a British road, has already been beaten by the report of a 32-year-old jailed for one year for travelling at 165mph on a Welsh road (Echo, May 21)

The judge told him: "You used the public highway as a race track... any reasonable motorist would have said 'here's a maniac'... an outrageous piece of dangerous driving."

For similar motorbike menace try the Hawes to Settle road, described on one website as "the next best thing to a TT circuit". - Roger Stott, Hawes.


Now that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over and the countries liberated, is it odd of me to suggest that the Afghan and Iraqi asylum seekers could now go back to their homelands? The persecution these people fled from no longer exists.

Let's get the airplanes back out, Mr Blair, and send them back to the safety of their own countries. - Christopher Wardell, Darlington.


As secretary of the Northern Belgian Shepherd Dog Club I was distressed to see a report (Echo, May 21) in which a Belgian Shepherd Dog was blamed for attacking a British baby in France.

It turns out that the dog was a German Shepherd. I believe the person supposed to be looking after the child is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter through negligence - allegedly she fell asleep while drunk and the family dog attacked the child in his cot.

This could be a case of canine jealousy. It is absolutely tragic and I fully appreciate that at the end of the day a baby died tragically and needlessly regardless of the breed of the dog, but no child, especially a baby, should be left unsupervised with a dog of any breed.

People kill children far more frequently than do dogs. - Bonita Wraight, Northern Belgian Shepherd Dog Club.


OUR votes were once the bedrock of our freedom, controlling the power of those in government. Whether from left or right, to be voted back any government had to please most of us most of the time.

So how is it that now our Government is unwilling to hear the opinion of the people in a referendum? Why keep secret the contents of immensely important EU treaties? Because for over a decade our power has been given away bit by bit to the dictatorial EU and our votes and wishes have become increasingly irrelevant.

There is still time to retain our democracy. Demand a referendum on the EU constitution, vote no and make the EU throw us out! Who knows, our exports to Europe may rise again to the level they were before we joined. - Charlotte Bull, UK Independence Party, Darlington.


THE story about the Teesside teacher who parents claim hurt their child has reminded me why I left teaching last year.

The time and resources and expense squandered on "special needs" kids who just will not behave is unbelievable. Teachers, social workers, educational psychologists, clinical psychologists, GPs, peripatetic teachers, health visitors, the school health service, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, hospital consultants and paediatric assessment teams. All because a growing minority of kids just won't behave - not can't!

I recall several kids who, in my opinion, knew exactly how to abuse this system. Their behaviour in class was atrocious, disrupting everyone's education, then when I came to apply the disciplinary procedures they would thrust a "time out" card in my face - literally - and disappear to seek sympathy from a mentor.

The behaviour of the majority of these kids is not uncontrollable. If we could apply shock treatment, there would be an extremely rapid and significant improvement. I am not suggesting we introduce such draconian measures into our schools, but we need to stop endowing these kids with excuses for their poor behaviour. We need to exchange Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis and Ritalin medication for "taking responsibility for your own actions". - Name supplied, Saltburn.


Hilary Duncanson's article on the perils of cutting out carbs (Echo, May 27) was misleading. The so-called experts that were quoted have obviously little idea on the mechanics behind the Atkins Diet.

Dr Wendy Doyle is quoted as saying the "diet is unhealthy because it cuts out all fruit and vegetables" and "there is no fibre in the diet".

I am not sure which diet the doctor refers to, because this is not the Atkins approach. Atkins does not cut out vegetables or fruit, but encourages the eating of vegetables, especially green vegetables.

Food that is high in fibre is also recommended, and that includes fruit.

Since starting the Atkins diet, my personal vegetable intake has dramatically increased. Atkins is about eating a balanced diet, not just meat and fat. Atkins discourages the eating of junk and fast foods. It encourages the eating of healthy foods; green vegetables, fish and meat. As for feeling lethargic, I have never felt better, and after years of being a couch potato have now taken up regular exercise. - Name supplied, Billingham.