Inside the Middle East
July 12, 2012
Posted: 1137 GMT

Fans of the late-1970s "Star Wars" movies probably know that Luke Skywalker, a reluctant hero battling his way through the film's evil Galactic Empire, was raised on the windswept plains of Tatooine, a desert wasteland planet located on the outer rim of director/writer George Lucas’ fictional galaxy.

In reality, Skywalker’s house - known as the Lars homestead - is actually located in southern Tunisia. The whitewashed ranch was constructed on an outdoor movie set in a desert region known as Tozeur.

And after more than three decades of blowing sands and extreme Saharan heat, Skywalker’s domed home was beginning to fall into disrepair.

That’s where "Star Wars" superfan Mark Dermul comes in.

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Filed under: Culture •General •Science & Technology •Tunisia

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June 7, 2012
Posted: 948 GMT

'Spiders in Space' was one of the stories from our 100th episode:

He likes science, spaceships, and spiders.  Now, Amr Mohamed, a 19-year-old Egyptian living in the coastal city of Alexandria, will get to combine all three of his passions.  Mohamed was one of two global winners of the 2012  'Space Lab' competition, a YouTube-sponsored initiative to send high-school science experiments into space.  His project – to see how microgravity will affect the zebra spider's ability to catch its prey – will be launched into space for testing by astronauts living onboard the Space Station later this year.  Maktabi traveled to Alexandria to meet young Mohamed, to find out how his experiment can help other Egyptian children reach the stars.

So how did Amr get into Space Lab?  Here's a look at Amr's video application for the project:

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Filed under: Culture •Egypt •Science & Technology

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November 1, 2010
Posted: 748 GMT

Check out the new and improved CNN Arabic website for comprehensive coverage and original content on news, politics and features in Arabic.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Media •Science & Technology •Video

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September 30, 2010
Posted: 901 GMT

The UK daily The Guardian is reporting today that it has exclusive access to secret documents indicating that the repeated jamming of Al-Jazeera Sports' satellite transmissions from the World Cup originated in Jordan.

In response, the Jordanian government issued a statement calling the allegations "absolutely baseless and unacceptable," saying "the government is ready to cooperate with any team of independent experts to examine the facts, and is certain that any such examination will prove these allegations false."

Back in June there was widespread anger among football fans around the region as up to seven matches being broadcast live from South Africa were disrupted by interference that the network referred to as "sabotage."

The Guardian is speculating that this interference, which it claims can be traced to a location near the Jordanian city of Al Salt, came in the wake of a last minute TV deal going sour that would have allowed viewers there to watch the games for free; an allegation that the Jordanian government rejects.

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Filed under: Jordan •Media •Science & Technology •Sports

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August 3, 2010
Posted: 1036 GMT
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August 1, 2010
Posted: 1034 GMT

By the CNN Wire Staff

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates(CNN) - The United Arab Emirates will
suspend some BlackBerry services starting October 11, officials said Sunday.

Authorities said the suspension will remain until an "acceptable
solution can be developed and applied which brings the BlackBerry services in
line with the UAE's telecommunications regulations."

Etisalat, a UAE-based telecommunications services provider, said it was
notified of the suspension Sunday.

Telecom officials will suspend BlackBerry services providing email, web
browsing, instant messaging and social networking, according to Etisalat.

BlackBerry officials were not immediately available for comment.

Filed under: Science & Technology •UAE

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July 25, 2010
Posted: 821 GMT

By the CNN Wire Staff

Tehran, Iran (CNN) - The head of Iran's nuclear energy agency announced Saturday that the country had launched a "serious" nuclear fusion research program, according to state-run Press TV.

Iran's atomic organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi, pictured here speaking in Tehran in April.
Iran's atomic organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi, pictured here speaking in Tehran in April.

Ali-Akbar Salehi, the chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said as many as 50 scientists were participating in the research to break into alternative energy, Press TV said.

The process of nuclear fusion consists of forcing hydrogen nuclei to collide at high speed and fuse together, which releases energy, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) website.

The goal is to eventually develop fusion plants to generate electricity, the IAEA said, but research worldwide is still in the early stages. The agency called nuclear fusion a "long term, sustainable, economic and safe energy source."

Salehi acknowledged the project will take time.

"It takes 20 to 30 years before this process can be commercialized but we have to use all the capacity in the country to provide the necessary speed for fusion research," Salehi said, according to Press TV.

Iran is under fire for other aspects of its nuclear program, which Tehran claims is for peaceful purposes. However, the United States and other Western nations fear Iran is attempting to develop a nuclear weapon.

The United Nations has issued four rounds of sanctions against the country for not being more transparent about the goals and status of its nuclear program.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signed into law new U.S. sanctions against Tehran that he called another step in demonstrating that "the United States and the international community are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

Filed under: Iran •Science & Technology

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July 14, 2010
Posted: 1013 GMT

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Shahram Amiri - a nuclear scientist Tehran claimed was kidnapped by U.S. agents - told a state-run television station in Iran that he was abducted by U.S. intelligence officials and faced "psychological warfare and pressure that are much worse than being in prison."

A man who says he is Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri appears in a YouTube video.
A man who says he is Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri appears in a YouTube video.

State-run Press TV said Wednesday that Amiri spoke in an interview after his escape, telling the channel, "I think I will be unable to get into details during this limited period of time and I will postpone it to when I am hopefully in my dear country Iran, so I can speak to the media and my own people with ease of mind and tell them about my ordeal over the past 14 months."

Amiri has left the United States and is headed back to Iran, the country's state-run media said Wednesday morning.

"Following the Islamic Republic's efforts and with the effective cooperation of the embassy of Pakistan in Washington ... Shahram Amiri left the United States and will arrive in Tehran via a third country," the news agency, IRNA, reported - quoting a foreign ministry spokesman.

Amiri, who is a researcher from Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, mysteriously disappeared in June 2009 while on a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to Iranian media reports.

On Monday, Amiri went to Iran's Interest Section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington and asked to be sent home.

The Iranian government has accused the United States of involvement in Amiri's disappearance, with Iran saying the researcher was taken to force him to give up data about Tehran's nuclear program.

In the Press TV interview, Amiri said he was kidnapped in Medina, Saudi Arabia, by three men in a van.

"Once I got into the van, the man who was inside said to me, 'Don't make any noise.' I was confused at the moment and had no idea what was happening," Amiri said Wednesday.

According to Amiri, he was later drugged and transported to the United States in a plane.

"I was under very special circumstances for 14 months in the United States. I was not completely free, nor was I like a prisoner, that is, in shackles as viewers might think," Amiri added. "I was in a completely unique situation which is very difficult to describe."

Press TV reported that Amiri was offered $10 million in bribes to cooperate with the United States.

A top Iranian lawmaker recently claimed that newly found documents back up Tehran's claims that the CIA is responsible for Amiri's disappearance, Iranian media reported Sunday.

Javad Jahangirzadeh, a member of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said Iranian officials had turned over the documents to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran.

The U.S. State Department has denied that charge.

A U.S. official, who is not authorized to talk to the media about such issues, told CNN last month that it would be "ludicrous, absurd and even preposterous" to claim an individual was kidnapped by the United States and held against his will.

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Filed under: Iran •Science & Technology •U.S.

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June 24, 2010
Posted: 1314 GMT

See full article in the UAE newspaper The National.

ABU DHABI // Visitors to websites that promote terrorist activities – many of which are accessible in this country – can now be charged with supporting terrorism, though strong evidence of criminal intent is required for conviction, a top state security judge says.

Chief Justice Shehab al Hammadi, who presides over all state security cases at the Federal Supreme Court, said a legal precedent had been set with the conviction of six people in April for operating a terror organisation, meaning that viewing such sites could now be considered a crime. As the first case to include charges of visiting jihadi websites it paved the way for other courts to approve charges against visitors to such sites.

Mr al Hammadi said that even if a website was not blocked, convictions could still be obtained if prosecutors showed a defendant had “criminal intentions” in visiting them. Examples, he saidd, included downloading extremist content from the websites or forwarding links to friends.

“These websites are available for everyone and it is almost impossible to block them, just like it is difficult to monitor all satellite channels. But when a person visits them and spreads their news or content among his or her acquaintance, that is considered like a crime they witnessed or committed,” Chief Justice al Hammadi said in an interview with The National.

Filed under: Media •Science & Technology •UAE

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April 27, 2010
Posted: 737 GMT

Three West Bank students will compete in an international science fair in the U.S. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.

Filed under: General •Science & Technology •Video •West Bank

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