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Inside the Middle East
January 2, 2013
Posted: 1144 GMT
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In January, 'Inside the Middle East' travels to Tunisia, the nation where the Arab Spring protest movement was born in 2011.

Two years ago, the self-immolation death of a Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, upset by a lack of opportunities for employment, sparked a wave of popular anger that quickly swept across the tiny North African nation, and eventually much of the Middle East.

Two years later, what has changed?  Not much in terms of the economy, many young Tunisians say.  The country is, however, becoming much more conservative - especially in the arts and culture scene.  The program interviews several artists whose work has recently been deemed "un-Islamic", as well as a conservative Salafist sheikh who explains why some forms of expression should be contained.

We also visit the north coast of Egypt, where millions of World War II landmines and other unexploded ordnance left buried in the desert sands are still - seven decades after the crucial Allied victory at the Egyptian town of El Alamein – creating problems for Bedouins living in the area.

'Inside the Middle East' also brings one of the world's most popular writers, Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran, to life, through a new play in Abu Dhabi that explores the heroic, and sometimes dark,
history of Gibran.

You can find all of the January showtimes here.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Inside The Middle East •Tunisia


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December 23, 2012
Posted: 625 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

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Filed under: Culture •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •U.S.


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December 20, 2012
Posted: 943 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Culture •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •Israel •Jerusalem •Lebanon •Morocco •Palestinians •Pictures •Religion •UAE •Video •Women


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December 17, 2012
Posted: 618 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi •Algeria •Bahrain •Culture •Dubai •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •Iran •Iraq •Israel •Jordan •Kuwait •Lebanon •Morocco •Oman •Saudi Arabia •Sports •Tunisia •Turkey •UAE •Women •Yemen


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November 8, 2012
Posted: 756 GMT

'Inside the Middle East' meets chop shop owner Hussain Salmeen, who builds and customizes bikes in Kuwait.

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Filed under: Culture •Inside The Middle East •Kuwait •Video


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October 3, 2012
Posted: 1149 GMT

This month on 'Inside the Middle East', host Leone Lakhani traveled to Morocco's culinary capital, Fes, for a lesson in how to cook homemade, authentic Moroccan food.

In Fes, Lakhani met Lahcen Beqqi, who guides Moroccan and international tourists around his souq and kitchen, sharing his secrets to shopping, chopping, and eating like a local.  At just 32-years-old, Beqqi is already known as one of the top chefs in Morocco.

But what makes Moroccan cuisine so special?

It has to do with the nation's geographical and historical position as a crossroads for a number of different cultures and and traditions, according to Beqqi.

"Moroccan cuisine, it's a multicultural cuisine.  It brings together a lot of cultures, a lot of influences, from Berbers, Arabs, Jewish, French, and Mediterranean," Beqqi told CNN.  "It's not only food... it's history when you put on the table and see all of these influences.  It's very interesting."

And very tasty.

On the latest 'Inside the Middle East', Beqqi gave Lakhani step-by-step instructions to cook lamb tajine.  The following recipe is for a similar meal, reprinted with permission from Beqqi's "Lahcen’s Moroccan Recipes: A Collection of Easy and Light Variations on Some of the Finest Traditional Moroccan Recipes."

Lamb, Prune, and Date Tagine

This dish is a traditional Moroccan tagine. Because it is sweet and it includes dates, it is often served when a family has company over.

For 3 people

• 1⁄2 kilo of a shoulder of lamb, or beef, or one small chicken • 250 grams of dried prunes (around 30 prunes) • 6 dates (pitted) • one big red onion, sliced

• 200 grams of roasted almonds • 1 cinnamon stick • ginger • mrozia spice (ras l’hanoot) – if available • 1 pinch of saffron (pistils)

• salt (to taste) • pepper (to taste)

Wash the prunes and put them in one liter of water. Let them sit. Put olive oil and lamb into a big pot, or tagine. Cook on a high flame, turning the lamb on all sides. Add ginger, cinnamon, onion, ras l’hanoot and saffron. Turn down the flame to medium. Mix for one minute. Take the prunes out of the water and put them aside. Keep the water! Pour it into the pot with the lamb. Let the meat cook for 1 1⁄2 hours (or however long it takes to cook) on a low flame. Add salt and

8pepper. Add the prunes and dates in the last 15 minutes. Add the almonds when you serve the dish.

You can reach Beqqi through his website for more recipes or additional information.

Want to see more?  Follow 'Inside the Middle East' on Facebook.

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Filed under: Culture •Inside The Middle East •Morocco


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September 30, 2012
Posted: 736 GMT

Here's a short preview of our upcoming episode, which focuses on Morocco.

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Filed under: Inside The Middle East •Morocco •Video


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September 20, 2012
Posted: 715 GMT

'Inside the Middle East' wrapped shooting in Morocco this week, and the team is now preparing the program's 104th episode, which airs on October 3rd.

Check with our colleagues at the CNN Press Room for more information and the air dates and times.

Here's a brief synopsis of the upcoming show:

In October, 'Inside the Middle East' travels to Morocco, the North African kingdom located on the western edge of the Arab world.

In a nation where nearly half of those between the ages of 15 and 29 are either unemployed or out of school, frustration at the lack of opportunities is mounting. Some young Moroccans took to the streets over the past year to protest these realities while others took to the recording studio to speak out – both of which come with risk. One Moroccan rapper, El Haqed, was imprisoned earlier this year because of his lyrics. Show host Leone Lakhani meets several young rappers – from Casablanca to Tangiers – to hear some of the sounds of Morocco’s urban rage.

'Inside the Middle East' also journeys to the southern stretches of Morocco's Atlantic coastline, to the traditional Berber city of Agadir. Berbers were the first inhabitants of North Africa, and many still follow older customs and practice ancestral crafts. One of these – a beauty oil made from Argan tree seeds – is quickly becoming all the rage among celebrities and high-end shoppers in the West. Lakhani meets one Moroccan who is helping to produce the oil – and jobs for women in the country.

And what trip to Morocco would be complete without tasting the nation's world-famous cuisine? The team heads north to Fes, Morocco's culinary capital, to receive cooking lessons from Lahcen Beqqi, a top chef who has figured out how to blend traditional cooking with modern techniques.

Want to see behind-the-scenes pictures from our shoots?  Become a fan of the show on Facebook.

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Filed under: General •Inside The Middle East •Morocco


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August 12, 2012
Posted: 854 GMT

Remember the story about the world's most expensive cupcake in Dubai?

Bloomsbury’s, a boutique cafe in Dubai, made headlines earlier this year for selling a chocolate cupcake – the 'Golden Phoenix' – for around $27,000.

Since the cupcake first made its debut, the store has reportedly only sold two.  And now, the shop's owner has said that part of the proceeds on sales will be donated to the United Nations World Food Programme, according to local newspapers in the United Arab Emirates.

Here's the Abu Dhabi-based National newspaper on the cupcake:

The creators of the world's most expensive cupcake now say they will donate 50 per cent of the profit from it to the World Food Programme.

Ashraf Hamouda, of the World Food Programme, pointed out that the income from a single cupcake could feed at least 1,850 children.

He described Bloomsbury's charitable gesture as "formidable generosity".

"This unique partnership is evidence that behind the biggest talents and business ideas, you often find the bigger hearts," Hamouda told the National. "As I would put it, a golden heart behind every Golden Phoenix."

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi •Culture •Dubai •Economic crisis •General •Health •Inside The Middle East •UAE •United Nations


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August 7, 2012
Posted: 1046 GMT

In Amman, Jordan, our team met the women of Jordan's national boxing team, the first female boxers in the Middle East. Nineteen-year-old Baraa Al-Absi is hoping her tenacity in the ring will lead to fighting on a bigger stage, like the Olympic Games. Except for one thing – Al-Absi is not technically allowed to box while wearing her headscarf, or hijab. Like many Muslims, Al-Absi wears the hijab for religious reasons. She’s not willing to take it off for anyone – even if it means quitting her team.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Culture •Inside The Middle East •Jordan •Palestinians •Women


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