PHIL Reeves and John Carlin report that most American astronauts were Boy Scouts ("Mir is bedevilled by a dose of the wrong stuff", 20 July). They also report that the tests they undergo include being zipped in a plastic bag for an hour, various impossible tasks to try their resistance to stress, and showing humility when they are beaten. What they are looking for are not Boy Scouts but public-school boys.
IN YOUR first editorial you commend the British government for seeking to bring pressure upon regimes that murder and terrorise their citizens ("Human rights on the map", 20 July). Yet, immediately below, you commend it for negotiating with the IRA, an organisation that has tortured and murdered on a scale equal to many condemned regimes ("Peace fanned by winds of realism"). In truth, the real hypocrite is not the Independent on Sunday, but our sanctimonious government.
MARIA Callas was not an Italian ("Death of an Italian dream", 20 July). She was born in the US. Her parents were Greek.