- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Teachers, students protest dismissal

NICOSIA, Cyprus Turkish Cypriot teachers and students demonstrated against authorities in the breakaway Turkish state in the north of Cyprus yesterday after a high-school teacher was dismissed for articles she wrote critical of Turkey.

"Damn fascism, the hands that harm teachers will be broken," chanted the crowd of some 350 protesters in the first demonstration of its kind involving students in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The protest was triggered after the teacher, Nilgun Orhan, 32, was banned from entering the grounds of her former school for a second day yesterday following her expulsion.

The decision to fire Miss Orhan was made by the Turkish Cypriot Education Ministry last week following an investigation into columns she penned in the Avrupa newspaper. She wrote that Turkey which keeps some 35,000 troops in the TRNC was an "occupation force" and hindered democracy in northern Cyprus.

More Arab children get primary schooling

CAIRO Slightly more children in the Arab world are going to primary school than 10 years ago, with the enrollment gap between boys and girls narrowing significantly, according to a UNICEF report this week.

In Arab and North African states, 76 percent of primary-school age children were enrolled, an increase of two percentage points, the State of the World's Children Report 2002 said.

The largest enrollment increase was in Egypt from 87 percent of children in 1991 to 94 percent in 1999, the report said. UNICEF attributed this to Egypt's increased spending on education, particularly for building schools and educating rural children.

In poor states such as Yemen and Sudan, enrollment was much lower, said regional UNICEF spokesman Anees Salem in Amman, Jordan.

2 Lebanese journalists face military court

BEIRUT Two Lebanese journalists appeared before a military court here Monday charged with links with the "enemy state of Israel," offenses that risk the death penalty.

Habib Yunes, an editor in the Lebanon office of the London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat, and Antoine Basil, radio correspondent for Saudi Arabia's MBC, were arrested in August during a sweep of anti-Syrian Lebanese Christians.

They are charged with having contacts with "the Israeli enemy," illegal entry into Israel, divulging information to the enemy and creating an association working against the state.

Weekly notes

Egyptian writer and 1988 Nobel literature laureate Naguib Mahfouz, who turned 90 yesterday, still believes peace will prevail in the world, despite the Afghan war and endless conflict in the Middle East. "I lived through World War II, and we were convinced then that there would never be major wars again," he said during his weekly literary salon in a large Cairo hotel. The top cleric at one of Islam's most respected seats of learning considers Palestinian suicide bombers to be martyrs, his deputy was quoted yesterday as saying. Mahmoud Ashour, aide to Sheik Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi of Cairo's al-Azhar mosque, said in a lecture in Abu Dhabi that Sheik Tantawi does not consider bomb attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli targets to be suicide which Islam forbids.

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