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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-02-16

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, February 16, 2002


  • [01] 'Greek Cypriots not to be blamed if talks fail'
  • [02] 'I've never heard of any students eating dog'
  • [03] Media lap up dog story despite warnings against racism
  • [04] Neophytou 'unaware' of airport security story
  • [05] Mayhem in the classroom and at the ministry: what is happening to education?

  • [01] 'Greek Cypriots not to be blamed if talks fail'

    By Rita Kyriakides

    THE GREEK Cypriot side would not be to blame if talks on the Cyprus problem failed, the government said yesterday.

    Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the peace process had to be given a push in order for it to be fruitful, but adding that, if the process failed, it would not be the Greek Cypriot side's fault.

    President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday held their thirteenth meeting since the resumption of talks on January 16.

    The meeting, which took place in a building near the UN-controlled Nicosia Airport in the presence of UN Secretary-general's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, lasted for one and a half hours.

    The leaders will meet next Tuesday, February 19 for the last time before taking a break for a brief period of reflection. Talks will resume on Friday, March 1.

    The UN announced on Thursday that talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would be held twice a week on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings.

    "This was a technical issue, in an effort aimed at intensive negotiations, better and more in depth preparation from both sides for each meeting," said Papapetrou.

    Papapetrou also said nothing would change because the same number of hours per week would be allocated to the talks.

    He added it was imperative that the two sides succeed in reaching an agreement through meeting points, noting the framework in which these meeting points could be achieved was provided by Security Council resolutions, the EU acquis communautaire and human rights.

    Papapetrou noted that the government expected a change in the Turkish side's political position and that this expression of political will would make a compromise on the Cyprus question feasible.

    "There is not much room for optimism, and the history of the Cyprus problem should make everyone cautious, but since this process continues, we must give it every push in order for it to yield the greatest possible results."

    Asked if foreign envoys shared this view, Papapetrou said "no person on planet Earth could have any doubts" of it, adding that the government was preparing itself for all possibilities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] 'I've never heard of any students eating dog'

    By Jennie Matthew

    CHINESE students in Nicosia yesterday defended themselves against rumours that they ate stray dogs, saying they'd never heard of any of their compatriots indulging in the practice in Cyprus.

    Rita Fu, 20, majoring in communications at Intercollege, was baffled by media reports leaked by immigration police that her compatriots ate dogs in Cyprus.

    "Are you sure? I want to say that you have to respect a country's customs and culture when you live here. If this did happen then it's a shame, but as far as me and my friends are concerned, I never heard about any of them eating dogs," she said.

    Cyprus College student Ailios Zang admitted that many people back home thought dog meat was delicious, but doubted students would go to the trouble of cooking it up.

    "I don't think many eat dogs, but they would cook them, never eat them raw, " he said.

    "I've heard that dog is delicious, but I don't eat it. maybe I was desperate, but I don't know," he added.

    "I think it can only be some individuals. Perhaps its some of the newer ones who are not clear about Cypriot law regarding animal protection," said Wang Jiang Hua, 26, an MBA student from Beijing studying at Intercollege.

    If any do indulge in the Chinese delicacy in Cyprus, they probably pick up their prey from among strays in the street, according to the students.

    "I don't know, but maybe like the cats, they find them on the road," said Zang, who has a pet dog Rocky back home in China.

    "I feel very sorry if people are stealing pet dogs and eating them," said Jiang Hua.

    The government told parliament's environment committee on Thursday that it would make amendments to existing legislation to prohibit the consumption of cat and dog.

    While he supports amending the law, AKEL deputy George Lillikas criticised the press for drawing attention to such stories, on the grounds that it could incite racism against Chinese students.

    "We must be more open-minded in understanding the habits of different cultures, just as we ask citizens of other countries to respect our cuisine. Chinese people have to be informed about our law and traditions," he said.

    In terms of suffering from racism and abuse, the students were less damning than the Immigrant Support Action Group that has taken up their cause.

    Fu said she'd never had any problems. "No. Never. Especially at Intercollege, people here are very friendly and easy to get to know. I feel very good here. Yes I have Cypriot friends and my boyfriend is from Cyprus, " she said.

    But Jiang Hua said students were often cold-shouldered in shops by Cypriots claiming they didn't speak English and refusing to help them. He said he had also heard stories about police brutality.

    The dog frenzy started a few days after ISAG convened a news conference to highlight abuse suffered by three Chinese students and two others from Sri Lanka.

    ISAG claim Immigration Police leaked the dog story to detract attention from the unjust manner in which they treat foreigners.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Media lap up dog story despite warnings against racism

    By George Psyllides

    CHINESE students and their eating habits were again the focus of several newspapers yesterday in the wake of reports earlier in the week that immigration department officers carrying out routine checks had discovered dog bones in a flat occupied by Chinese students, who allegedly admitted they ate the animals.

    There was prominent coverage of the issue with some newspapers reporting straight facts while others wrote diatribes on which type of dog had the best meat and even suggesting ways of eating them.

    Machi on Thursday published a huge front-page photograph of an Alsatian with its eyes wide open and a speech bubble saying, "help, the Chinese are coming".

    But yesterday, daily Politis published a cartoon showing a Cypriot man in traditional dress looking at a dog, which was apparently being chased.

    In the second strip, the astonished Cypriot sees the dog is being chased by a Chinese man wielding a pot and a butcher's knife. In the final part, the ingenious Cypriot has apparently jumped on the opportunity, opening up a kennel inviting Chinese people to come and get their meat. The man holds a recipe book on how to cook dogs while signs on the dog cages advertise the good quality of the meat. "Fresh dogs for sale," and "very good very tender, " the signs say.

    In another page in Politis, an article headlined " Hot dog in the plate" interviewed a Chinese man who explained why black dogs were the best, saying their meat was of top quality, which gave a lot of energy to the people who ate them. The most common cooking method was frying with various sauces and vegetables.

    The article was illustrated with a photograph of a small dog in microwave oven ready to be cooked.

    Machi yesterday claimed the dog-eating furore had had repercussions on restaurants specialising in the Asian cuisine. According to the daily, the owners of such restaurants have seen their business slump.

    Quoting a Chinese embassy spokesman, Machi said that dog meat was very popular in many areas of China, adding there were special kennels which bred dogs and provided restaurants and individuals with their favourite dish.

    But the issue also found its way to the House, where deputies, Phileleftheros reported yesterday, had exchanged views ranging from banning dog and cat meat to the need to respect the cultures of other people, while at the same time protect local habits.

    That didn't stop the issue from spilling over to television stations too.

    Reporting on the matter on Thursday night, Antenna had Deputy Attorney- general Petros Clerides saying he had lost his dog around a year ago.

    The report's punch line, however, was that Clerides lived in the same area as the Chinese students who told police they eat dogs.

    The Immigrant Support Action Group (ISAG) on Thursday slammed the way the media handled the matter, branding reactions to the story as proof of "how dangerous racism can become when it isn't stamped out".

    Journalists' Union Chairman Andreas Kannaouros told the Cyprus Mail yesterday: "Unfortunately, at times - it's not a widespread phenomenon - there are some cases with racist aspects that are unacceptable and condemnable."

    Kannaouros said the union was against racial discrimination and if there were any incidents, not only concerning Chinese people, but any other race, they were without a doubt condemnable and revolting.

    "It is fundamental in the code of journalistic ethics that there should be respect for the particularities of all nations, people and religions," Kannaouros said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Neophytou 'unaware' of airport security story

    By Elias Hazou

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday denied the existence of a report decrying inadequate security at the island's airports, saying he had "never heard of it".

    According to a story in Phileleftheros, the report was prepared by a committee examining the level of security at airports and harbours. That committee's findings stressed that "serious security gaps" needed to be filled; it went on to recommend the setting up of a national airports security agency.

    Most of the lax security problems were pinpointed at Larnaca, the island's busiest airport. The report proposed that a separate police unit be set up charged solely with airport security, and that this unit should come under the Civil Aviation Agency. The current regime has police officers, directly under the orders of their superintendent, detached to airport duty.

    The story claimed the committee's findings had been relayed to four government ministers, and that a meeting was scheduled for late this month to discuss the issue.

    Neophytou said he was not aware whether such a report existed, adding that if it did, it was certainly not official. He noted that international organisations had already scrutinised security at Cyprus airports in the aftermath of the September 11 events, and that the findings were positive.

    "While we do not claim perfection, nonetheless security is constantly being beefed up and the situation is highly satisfactory," Neophytou added. Double baggage checks were now in place, as well as stricter control over hand-held objects and items. There was always room for improvement, he went on, citing last week's incident at a British airport when a man sneaked explosives past baggage control.

    Neophytou departs tomorrow for Montreal, Canada, where he will attend an ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) summit from February 19 to 20. The high-level, ministerial conference will be focusing on a global strategy to strengthen aviation security.

    Other conference agenda items include a review of the economic impact of the events of September 11 on global air transport, and the analysis of emerging and potential threats to aviation. Currently, 187 countries, including Cyprus, are ICAO members.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Mayhem in the classroom and at the ministry: what is happening to education?

    By Melina Demetriou

    EDUCATION ended the week in turmoil yesterday, with pupils slamming their teachers on television and trainee teachers taking over the ministry to promote their demands.

    Earlier this week, Antenna television broadcast a tape of a slanging match between a teacher and a pupil at a Nicosia secondary school. The row was taped secretly by the student, who claimed his teacher had made threats against him.

    Teachers' union OELMEL yesterday slammed the channel's decision to air the tape as "illegal and a violation of human rights."

    The Education Ministry has ordered an investigation into the case.

    A similar incident then came to light on Thursday, when students at a Limassol secondary school called television channels during school hours to report a row between a teacher and some pupils. The youngsters claimed that the teacher in question had "exercised violence" against one of them for deliberately damaging his car.

    Some parents arrived at the scene to complain about the teacher's behaviour.

    The Press Ethics Committee issued an announcement yesterday calling on mass media to handle incidents involving minors with more care.

    "It is necessary to respect international conventions regarding the protection of children and avoid airing cases of juvenile delinquency. You must also act in line with the provisions of journalism's code of practice regarding the right to privacy, taking photos and accurate reporting," said the announcement.

    But the Education Ministry had more than one problem to handle on Thursday, as around 200 trainee gymnastics teachers took over the ministry to voice their demands.

    The students want the government to undertake reforms in the education system creating more positions for elementary schoolteachers in the public sector and improving teaching standards.

    Minister Ouranios Ioannides was out of the country at the time so the ministry's general director Petros Kareklas received a representation of the students and promised them their demands would be looked into. Students asked to receive reassurances in writing, but their demand was rejected.

    Kareklas was not available for comment yesterday.

    Intercollege Executive Dean and sociologist Nicos Peristianis said yesterday the sometimes rebellious behaviour of pupils reflected social changes. He said observers should examine the problem carefully before assigning responsibility to either side, teachers or students.

    "There is no real crisis. The traditional element of respect in relations between students and teachers, children and their parents, citizens and policemen or even voters and politicians is a thing of the past. It gave its place to democratic principles which prevail internationally," Peristianis told the Cyprus Mail.

    "The question is how can teachers impose their authority on students?" he asked.

    "Many educators try to exercise some control over pupils but find it difficult because in the eyes of children today no one, not even their teacher, knows everything."

    Referring to the past week's events, Peristianis said both sides - students and teachers - should accept responsibility for the trouble.

    "In the first case, if the teacher really did threaten the student then the second was justified to record their conversation. It is possible that the teacher demanded some respect, which he could not get, so one thing led to another and the two ended up quarrelling," the sociologist said.

    Commenting on the second incident which took place on Thursday, Peristianis said: "a student has no right to damage his teacher's car, but the teacher should not blame someone without having evidence about who did it."

    He said teachers should be resourceful to be able to handle youngsters.

    "These days, teachers need to be very talented in what they do. They have a duty to find ways of earning children's respect instead of demanding it."

    Regarding the student demo at the Ministry, Peristianis charged that some student demands were unrealistic, adding that others were worth considering.

    "They cannot possibly expect that all of them will be hired by the government when they graduate," he said, at the same time blaming the state for giving young people so many incentives to become teachers that it ended up with more graduates than it needed.

    "They have created the perfect profession with benefits that no other job has. The dream of almost every youngster is to work at a school, so students compromise their dreams before they even start their life," he pointed out.

    Peristianis finds students' call for measures to improve the standard of teaching justified.

    He added that teachers' demos in general were usually aimed at protecting their working rights instead of improving education.

    "They should not only focus on salaries. They should also promote ideas to solve problems in education," Peristianis suggested.

    The sociologist also held the ministry partly responsible for teachers' frequent strikes.

    "The ministry usually satisfies demands when it is under pressure, failing to deal with the real problems," he argued.

    Teachers' union OELMEK and student unions yesterday reiterated their determination to block government plans aiming to cut junior civil servants' salaries by 10 per cent.

    The unions are planning a demonstration outside the Presidential Palace next Thursday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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