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Inside the Middle East
February 7, 2013
Posted: 759 GMT

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In February, 'Inside the Middle East' travels to Beirut, the cosmopolitan, multi-lingual capital of Lebanon.  Beirut's popularity among expatriate residents has not waned, despite the recent instability caused by the bitter conflict in neighboring Syria. Hosted by CNN’s Senior International Correspondent, Arwa Damon, the programme discovers why the 'Paris of the Middle East' is so appealing to immigrants.

Expats may be flocking to Beirut, but not everyone is always welcome.  Many economic migrants in Beirut struggle with prejudice on a daily basis.  The country has implemented a zero-tolerance policy towards racism – but Damon finds out why it’s going to take more than a legislation to change the local attitudes.

The program also explores the rights of women in Lebanon – a nation known for its tolerant stance on gender issues. With few laws on domestic abuse and little female representation in government however, activists say the sense of freedom among women in the country is a false one. ‘Inside the Middle East’ meets women now demanding change.

Also, the program meets the alternative rock band Mashrou' Leila, a group who have become hugely popular in Lebanon by taking on traditionally taboo topics, such as politics and homosexuality, in their music.

You can find all of the February showtimes here.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East' – including a bloopers video featuring Arwa Damon snowboarding – or trying to snowboard – on the slopes just above Beirut.

IME Lebanon

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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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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 11, 2012
Posted: 630 GMT

Kuwait's love affair with fast food has become a health disaster for its population. CNN's Zain Verjee reports.

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 •Food •Kuwait •UAE


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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.

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

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October 23, 2012
Posted: 706 GMT

Here's a look at our upcoming show:

The growing epidemic of obesity in the oil-rich Gulf nations is explored in November's 'Inside the Middle East'. Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE may be some of the wealthiest nations in the world, but they have also become some of the most obese.

Host Zain Verjee visits Dubai to discover how increasing numbers of Emiratis are turning to stomach stapling surgery to shed their pounds before travelling to Kuwait, where more than 50 percent of the population are overweight. Verjee talks to the Kuwaiti people and learns how fast food, scorching year-round heat and rapid modernisation have all contributed to making this tiny gulf state the second fattest country on Earth.

Staying in Kuwait, ‘Inside the Middle East’ heads to the Iraq border where a different, but equally massive, problem is being faced by the fragile desert ecosystem. More than two decades after Saddam Hussein’s retreating troops set fire to Kuwait’s oil fields, following the Gulf War, environmentalists are still trying to pick up the pieces.

The programme also meets young Kuwaiti artist Hussain Salameen who is uniquely fusing design and technology to build some of the region’s only chopper motorcycles.

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Filed under: Culture •Health •Kuwait •UAE


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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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September 30, 2012
Posted: 736 GMT

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

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

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