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Inside the Middle East
January 30, 2011
Posted: 1143 GMT
Thousands of protestors continue to pour onto streets in Egypt demanding Hosni Mubarak to step down.
Thousands of protestors continue to pour onto streets in Egypt demanding Hosni Mubarak to step down.
clashes continue between Egyptian protestors and riot police .
clashes continue between Egyptian protestors and riot police .
Egyptians press for freedom on the 6th day of demonstrations .
Egyptians press for freedom on the 6th day of demonstrations .
Social media proved to be vital in spreading the word to protestors across Egypt.
Social media proved to be vital in spreading the word to protestors across Egypt.
Khaled Said became a symbol after allegedly being tortured to death on the hands of police in Egypt.
Khaled Said became a symbol after allegedly being tortured to death on the hands of police in Egypt.
President Mubarak demanded the government to resign after continuos criticism from demonstrators.
President Mubarak demanded the government to resign after continuos criticism from demonstrators.

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Filed under: Egypt •Pictures •Protests


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January 27, 2011
Posted: 724 GMT

We did this interview with the Quartet's envoy Tony Blair the day after Al-Jazeera released new leaked documents detailing British involvement in supporting the development of Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank, some of which have been involved in human rights abuses including torture of prisoners according to various human rights organizations. Blair also takes aim at the Qatar-based news network for the way the documents have been released.

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Filed under: Human Rights •Palestinians •Video •West Bank


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January 26, 2011
Posted: 1039 GMT

For our complete online coverage of the Egypt protests check out CNN International and CNN Arabic.

Photo: Ben Wedeman/CNN. One protestor in Cairo holds up a sign in French saying 'Mubarak, Leave,' a slogan seen regularly during the Tunisia revolution ahead of the overthrow of President Ben Ali.
Photo: Ben Wedeman/CNN. One protestor in Cairo holds up a sign in French saying 'Mubarak, Leave,' a slogan seen regularly during the Tunisia revolution ahead of the overthrow of President Ben Ali.
Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images. At least 3 people were killed in anti-Mubarak protests yesterday.
Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images. At least 3 people were killed in anti-Mubarak protests yesterday.
Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images. Thousands of Egyptian protestor gathered last night in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images. Thousands of Egyptian protestor gathered last night in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images. Riot police fired tear gas at anti-government protestors in Cairo who, inspired by the recent revolution in Tunisia, are demanding the resignation of their president.
Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images. Riot police fired tear gas at anti-government protestors in Cairo who, inspired by the recent revolution in Tunisia, are demanding the resignation of their president.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Egypt •Protests


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January 24, 2011
Posted: 1231 GMT
A former Israeli government official claims Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas almost reached a deal in 2008.
A former Israeli government official claims Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas almost reached a deal in 2008.

Palestinian negotiators offered to give up large areas of East Jerusalem to Israel during negotiations dating back to 2008, the Al-Jazeera network said, suggesting Palestinian leaders have been willing to offer much larger concessions in private than they had previously acknowledged in public.
On Monday a former Israeli government official said an agreement was almost reached during negotiations between former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from the end of 2006 to September 2008.
"After dozens of meetings between Olmert and (Abbas) there was a proposal that was reached ... this offer was on all the issues we call core issues," Yanki Galanti, a former Olmert spokesman, said in an interview Monday with Israeli Army radio.
The core issues in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are considered to be the status of Jerusalem, borders and refugees. Read more...

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Filed under: Israel •Jerusalem •Media •Palestinians •Peace Talks


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January 23, 2011
Posted: 1416 GMT

At.mosphere, the world's highest restaurant in the world's tallest building, is opening its doors in Dubai to diners who are looking for a little haute cuisine.

To get to the restaurant, dinners use the express elevator in the Burj Khalifa, which whisks them up to level 123, 442 meters or 1,350 feet high. You travel 10 meters per second so the trip takes just 57 seconds.

The menu is modern European grilled cuisine. Executive Chef Dwayne Cheer recommends the beef. "Definitely the beef," said Mr. Cheer, who has worked for more than 13 years in Michelin star restaurants.

Marc Dardenne, chief executive officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, which manages the outlet meanwhile recommends the fresh scallops or the lamb flown in directly from New Zealand. For dessert, the soufflé is "just outstanding," Mr. Dardenne said. The food is “all very light, you don’t put on weight.”

When asked if the check was on the lighter side, the answer was, “Hopefully we would like to create a special experience at that restaurant that people keep on coming back,” he said.

Reading between the lines, one might think: expect a pricey meal.

The main courses are all based on a "beautiful magic" oven, Mr. Cheer said. The Josper grill is a BBQ dual oven designed in Spain and fuelled by charcoal, not gas. Temperatures reach 700 degrees Celsius.

So it’s hot in the kitchen. And hopefully hot in the restaurant.

Designer Adam Tihany said he was aiming to “create the sexiest venue on the top of the world." He aimed to design a bar, restaurant and lounge in an iconic location and altitude in a way that diners can still feel comfortable, still feel “grounded.”

"It's an absolutely spectacular opportunity to do a project this iconic knowing that with the current economy there is not going to be competition for quite some time,” Mr. Tihany said. “We are going to be on the top of the world for a while. So it's a great feeling."

Mr. Tihany’s work on the restaurant is done, but the chef’s work is just beginning and he is nervous about the work ahead.

"The expectations are as high as the building," Cheer said. “It's a little bit nerve racking to be honest.”

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Filed under: Dubai •General •UAE


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Posted: 719 GMT
The view of the concrete barrier separating Gaza and Israel from the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing.(CNN/Kevin Flower)
The view of the concrete barrier separating Gaza and Israel from the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing.(CNN/Kevin Flower)

It's an experience I had heard described dozens of times before; a frequent occurrence for Palestinians and an unwelcome rite of passage for some members of the international media covering the Middle East conflict.

But if I thought during my four-and-a-half years serving as CNN's Jerusalem bureau chief I had dodged this particular indignity, I was wrong.

"I need you to take off your sweater and your shirt," came the request from the man on the other side of the glass.

I was in a small fluorescent lit, concrete-walled room with a large picture window. The floor was comprised of a metal grating revealing another dank concrete room below.

Behind the glass sat a casually dressed man who appeared to be in his mid-twenties. He spoke to me through a microphone.

"Take your clothes off and put them in the container behind you," he told me in Hebrew-accented English.

I stood motionless in the bleak room in a state of shock.

I knew exactly what was happening, but it was still difficult to believe – I was being strip-searched.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Gaza •Israel •Palestinians


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January 22, 2011
Posted: 1848 GMT
Walid Jumblatt speaks to reporters in Lebanon (CNN/Todd Baxter)
Walid Jumblatt speaks to reporters in Lebanon (CNN/Todd Baxter)

Despite his height, as he sits down he almost disappears behind the pyramid of microphones piled up on the tiny desk in front of him. It would almost be comical but for the importance of the moment.

He's been here before. Forced to pick sides in the interests of national unity. He wears the patience of a man all too familiar with what he must do.

CNN's Nic Robertson was one of more than 100 journalists in Beirut who found that waiting for Walid Jumblatt was more than just another moment in the rich mosaic of Middle East politics.

Full story

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Filed under: General •Lebanon


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January 21, 2011
Posted: 916 GMT

Here are the latest images from yesterday's bloodshed in Iraq where at least 32 people were killed and 150 others were wounded in two explosions targeting Shiite pilgrims in Karbala, about 60 miles (100 km) south of Baghdad. The attack in Karbala came as tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims are making their way to the city for Arbaeen, a religious observation. It follows 40 days of mourning for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was felled in a 7th century battle in the Iraqi city. It was the latest of several terrorist attacks across Iraq this week that have killed at least 118 people and wounded 450 others.

PHOTO: MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/Getty Images. Members of Iraq's security forces gather on the site of an explosion in Karbala on Thursday as a spate of attacks across Iraq killed dozens, most of them in twin suicide car bombings in the holy city of Karbala.
PHOTO: MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/Getty Images. Members of Iraq's security forces gather on the site of an explosion in Karbala on Thursday as a spate of attacks across Iraq killed dozens, most of them in twin suicide car bombings in the holy city of Karbala.
PHOTO: MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi paramedics wheel an injured man into Karbala hospital emergency room after the deadly bombing in Karbala.
PHOTO: MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi paramedics wheel an injured man into Karbala hospital emergency room after the deadly bombing in Karbala.
PHOTO: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi security forces stand guard Thursday as pilgrims walk on a main highway linking Baghdad to the shrine city of Karbala.
PHOTO: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi security forces stand guard Thursday as pilgrims walk on a main highway linking Baghdad to the shrine city of Karbala.

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Filed under: Iraq


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January 19, 2011
Posted: 1225 GMT

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Filed under: Protests •Tunisia


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January 16, 2011
Posted: 640 GMT

Tunis, Tunisia (CNN) - Even while under curfew following the ouster of their long-serving authoritarian leader, Tunisians on Saturday experienced newfound freedoms online as their acting president promised a "new phase" for his embattled land.

Filters on websites like Facebook and YouTube, put in place under former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, were dropped and Internet speed picked up considerably - a development that followed the new government's vow to ease restrictions on freedoms.

In addition, three Tunisian journalists - including two bloggers critical of Ben Ali - have been freed from jail, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Saturday.

These developments come as Fouad Mebazaa was sworn in as the country's acting leader on Saturday, after Ben Ali and his family took refuge in Saudi Arabia following days of angry street protests against the government.

Speaking on national TV, Mebazaa, who had been the country's parliamentary speaker, promised to ensure the nation's "stability," respect its constitution and "pursue the best interest of the nation."

"Citizens, sons and daughters of our country of Tunis, in this important and urgent moment in the history of our beloved country, I appeal to all of you of various political parties, and nationalist organizations, and all civil society organizations to fight for the national interest and to respect the army's command and the national security in security matters, and to preserve private and public property and to bring the return of peace and security in the hearts of the citizens," he said. Full story...

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Filed under: Protests •Tunisia


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