Inside the Middle East
March 31, 2010
Posted: 2159 GMT
Lebanon-born Rima Maktabi has joined CNN International’s Inside the Middle East.
Lebanon-born Rima Maktabi has joined CNN International’s Inside the Middle East.

CNN International today announces Rima Maktabi as the new host of its popular ‘Inside the Middle East’ program and a key addition to CNN’s roster of anchor/correspondents covering the Middle East.

The appointment of Lebanon-born Maktabi, one of the Middle East's most dynamic and well known prime time presenting talents, signals CNN's deepening commitment to the region and continued investment in its Abu Dhabi production hub.

The hiring of Maktabi – a prime time news anchor on Arabic news channel Al Arabiya who brings with her a wealth of experience in the region – follows the recent launch of CNN Abu Dhabi, the debut of the nightly primetime show ‘Prism’, and the decision to fully localise the production staffs of the high profile ' Inside the Middle East ' and ’CNN Marketplace Middle East' shows.

The expanded CNN output is further bolstered by an extensive regional newsgathering infrastructure which today includes bureaux in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Islamabad, Jerusalem and Kabul.

In a unique collaboration with Al Arabiya – for a two month period Maktabi will continue to present her Arabic prime time news show while filming throughout the region for CNN's ' Inside the Middle East ' .

Maktabi’s first appearance on CNN will be on the April 5th edition of ' Inside the Middle East ', ahead of joining CNN full time in June.

"CNN is delighted to announce the addition of Rima Maktabi to its line-up of Middle East based on-air talent as host of 'Inside the Middle East '. She is a strong talent with an impressive track record and we're pleased that this flexible partnership with Al Arabiya will allow our international viewers to get to know Rima much better as she becomes an integral part of our reporting from the region," said Tony Maddox, EVP and Managing Director, CNN International.

"CNN's appointment of Rima Maktabi is yet another acknowledgement by a highly-reputed global Newsmaker of the professional standards of Al Arabiya," said Abdul Rahman Alrashed, General Manager of Dubai-based Al Arabiya News Channel. "The fact that Rima Maktabi will first appear simultaneously on both CNN and Al Arabiya also gives this joint arrangement a greater corporate meaning and provides various audiences with tremendous added-value and synergies," Alrashed concluded.

In addition to hosting 'Inside the Middle East ‘, Rima also joins CNN's regionally based Stan Grant, Paula Hancocks and Ben Wedeman as a roving anchor/correspondent, reporting as and where the network's newsgathering needs require.

About Rima Maktabi
Rima Maktabi joined Al-Arabiya as a prime time news anchor and producer in 2005. Since then, she has covered notable regional stories such as the Iranian and Lebanese elections, the Palestinian Camp War in Nahr el Bared, the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict and the Arab summits in Doha and KSA. Rima has also covered international stories such as the World Economic Forum in Davos and The US Presidential Elections for Al-Arabiya. Her journalism credentials also include time as a reporter for Annahar newspaper and news and entertainment reporting/presenting roles at Future TV. She holds an MA in International Affairs and a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University of Beirut.

About 'Inside the Middle East'
'Inside The Middle East ' is CNN International’s flagship feature show for the region. Long one of the network’s most high profile and well received shows, it refreshed its concept last autumn with new interactive elements, a greater online presence, new titles, graphics and music.

Segments introduced into the new format include Your IME Diary a round-up of the region’s festival season including cultural, sports and business events, on TV and online, populated by viewer clips, stills and comments from key events around the world; My Middle East which takes viewers on a unique journey into the heart and soul of one of the region’s greatest cities through the eyes of regional icons from the world of film, music, fashion, business and politics to reveal the hidden treasures within their chosen city; and The Campus Forum engages university students from across the region to discuss the issues affecting today’s youth.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Inside The Middle East

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March 29, 2010
Posted: 915 GMT

By the CNN Wire Staff

Jerusalem (CNN) - Israeli security forces said they will close the West Bank region from midnight Sunday to Tuesday, April 6.

A Palestinian youth hurls stones at Israeli soldiers at the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandia on Thursday.
A Palestinian youth hurls stones at Israeli soldiers at the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandia on Thursday.

Only people who need medical attention and journalists with appropriate credentials will be allowed to cross, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Humanitarians, doctors, lawyers and other professionals will also have access based on approval by the civil administration.

About 1,250 religious workers, along with 550 students and teachers, have permission to leave Judea and Samaria, the IDF said.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the closure during the Passover holiday.

The measure was enacted "following situation assessments adopted by the defense establishment," the statement said.

Filed under: Israel •Jerusalem •Palestinians

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March 28, 2010
Posted: 826 GMT

The results of Iraq's national elections are finally in, as CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom reports.

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Filed under: Iraq •Video

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Posted: 824 GMT

CNN's Tracey Holmes reports that Dubai is hoping to make a splash with its new race track for the Dubai World Cup.

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Filed under: Dubai •UAE •Video

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March 23, 2010
Posted: 1246 GMT

London, England (CNN) - Britain has expelled an Israeli diplomat in connection with cloned passports used by suspects in the January killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai, a British government source familiar with the situation told CNN Tuesday.

Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom met with British Foreign Office officials on Monday, the source said.

The expelled diplomat's rank and identity were not released, and the source did not say when the diplomat was expelled.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas' military wing, was found dead January 20 in his Dubai hotel room. Police believe he was killed the night before, allegedly by the secretive Israeli foreign intelligence unit Mossad.

Two sources told CNN earlier this month that the number of identified suspects in al-Mabhouh's death was up to 27. Of them, 26 were carrying European or Australian passports, authorities have said.

The sources - an official familiar with the investigation and a police source - did not say which nation issued the passport used by the 27th suspect. Read full story...

Filed under: Dubai •Hamas •Israel •U.K.

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Posted: 1007 GMT

Washington (CNN) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday sharply defended his government's plan to build new housing on disputed land in East Jerusalem, a decision that has put Israel at odds with its leading ally.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to see President Obama on Tuesday at the White House.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to see President Obama on Tuesday at the White House.

In a defiant speech to the leading pro-Israel lobby in the United States, Netanyahu said Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are "an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem."

"The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied," Netanyahu said to prolonged applause. "The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital."

Netanyahu's Monday night speech to the U.S.-Israel Public Affairs Committee came nearly two weeks after Israel announced the planned construction of 1,600 new housing units in a disputed area claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

That announcement came during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel and has strained ties between Netanyahu's government and the Obama administration, which is pushing for new talks to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But Netanyahu said his government's policies are in line with those of previous Israeli administrations, and that nearly half of Jerusalem's Jewish population now lives in East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967. Read full story...

Filed under: Israel •Jerusalem •Palestinians •U.S.

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March 21, 2010
Posted: 906 GMT

The movie "No One Knows About Persian Cats" has no sex or drugs, just lots of Iranian rock and roll.

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Filed under: Iran •Video

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Posted: 856 GMT

A day in the life of Baghdad

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •General •Inside The Middle East •Iraq

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March 17, 2010
Posted: 514 GMT
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Posted: 507 GMT

From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dismissive of the view that relations between the United States and Israel are in crisis after a row between the two countries over settlements.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the bond between the United States and Israel is 'unshakable.'
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the bond between the United States and Israel is 'unshakable.'

"Oh, I don't buy that," Clinton told reporters Tuesday at the State Department. "We have an absolute commitment to Israel's security. We have a close, unshakable bond between the United States and Israel and between the American and Israeli people."

An Israeli official earlier confirmed that Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, had told fellow Israeli diplomats that relations between the two countries are "in a crisis."

Clinton acknowledged the United States expressed its "dismay and disappointment" after Israel's announcement that it will allow construction of 1,600 settler housing units in East Jerusalem.

She said U.S. and Israeli officials are in intense talks "over steps that we think would demonstrate the requisite commitment to this process," and the United States is waiting for a response from Israel on steps it is willing to take. She did not say when or how that response would be conveyed.

"We'll see what the next days hold," Clinton said. "There's just too much at stake for the Palestinians and the Israelis. ... Our goal now is to make sure that we have the full commitment from both our Palestinian and Israeli partners to this effort."

The lack of an immediate response, however, has contributed in part to a delay of proximity talks to be led by former Sen. George Mitchell, the Obama administration's special envoy to the Middle East. Read full story...

Filed under: Clinton •Israel •U.S.

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