Launch date finally set for Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera's much-delayed English language news channel, Al Jazeera International,will start broadcasting on 15 November.

The Doha-based station will transmit 12 hours of live news a day, likely to be from noon to midnight GMT. The other 12 hours will contain interview programmes, features and analysis interspersed with breaking news as it occurs.

The announcement of a launch date brings to an end months of uncertainty. The channel was supposed to launch last year, but has been dogged by delays due to technical difficulties, with management refusing to give a firm date.

"The launching 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," said Wadah Khanfar, director general of the Al Jazeera Network.

"Al Jazeera International will build on the pioneering spirit of Al Jazeera and will carry our media model to the entire world. The new channel will provide the same ground-breaking news and impartial and balanced journalism to the English speaking world."

The announcement of the channel's launch coincides with the 10th birthday of Al Jazeera's Arabic language channel. The station's English language website, aljazeera.net/english, is being re-launched at the same time of the English channel to reflect its look and feel. It will provide RSS feeds, live streams and downloadable clips from the channel, as well as interactive discussions.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera is backing the launch of a new pan-Arab newspaper, according to a report in the UK's Financial Times. The report said Al Jazeera had hired Abdelwahab Badrakhan, the former deputy editor of London-based daily newspaper Al Hayat, to run the title, which would be similar to both Al Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat.

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