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YOU report that a new Scottish Parliament building would cost up to pounds 50m which would be "paid for by all British taxpayers"("Scots say a Scot must build new parliament", 20 July). Surely if the Scots vote for a parliament of their own, then they should pay for it. Likewise it is the people of Wales who should pay for a Welsh assembly if they vote for one. The cost has been put at about pounds 15m a year and this sum could be easily raised by precepting local councils in Wales.

Silvan Jones

Llandudno, Gwynedd

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.

Maurice Hill

Alicante, Spain

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.

Ian Oakley

South Wales

MARIA Callas was not an Italian ("Death of an Italian dream", 20 July). She was born in the US. Her parents were Greek.

Suzy Angeluk

Liverpool

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