Al Jazeera to launch int'l news channel

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LONDON -- After a delay of more than a year, the Al Jazeera network said Wednesday it will launch its English-language news and current affairs channel Al Jazeera International on Nov. 15.

Timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of its Arabic-language sister network -- which has courted controversy by airing videos of Osama bin Laden -- the English-language channel is aimed at non-Arabic speaking Muslims around the world.

It will be based in Doha, Qatar, with broadcast hubs in London, Washington and Kuala Lumpur.

Promising to be "a new force" in global journalism, Al Jazeera director general Wadah Khanfar said the channel will bring a Middle Eastern perspective to a new audience.

"The launch of the English channel offers the chance to reach out to a new audience that is used to hearing the name of Al Jazeera without being able to watch it or to understand its language," Khanfar said. "The new channel will provide the same ground-breaking news and impartial and balanced journalism to the English-speaking world."

Al Jazeera's English-language Web site, aljazeera.net/english is being relaunched with the start of the English-language channel to reflect the channel's look and feel and editorial content.

Originally slated to launch at the end of 2005, the news channel has been beset by delays to the construction of its broadcast network and the complexity of linking up four broadcast centers.

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