Iranian TV channel will be in English

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday inaugurated an English-language satellite television channel to counter what Iran claims is the West’s influence in covering news, state television reported.

“Press TV should broadcast the truth to the world,” said Ahmadinejad in a ceremony marking the inauguration. “This network should be a podium for freedom seekers and Muslims of the world.”

Mohammad Sarafraz, the deputy head of Iran’s broadcasting company in charge of foreign channels, said that more than 3 million people, half of them from the U.S., have visited Press TV’s Web site over the past six months.

Sarafraz said the 24-hour channel would broadcast news every half hour. He said the channel also plans to broadcast documentaries on American soldiers who quit the military.

According to the Web site of the channel, the goal of Press TV is to “break the global media stranglehold of Western outlets,” and “show the other side of the story” in the Middle East.

Mexico City

President proposes student drug tests

President Felipe Calderon proposed Monday that Mexico test thousands of students in public schools for drugs as part of the nation’s fight against drug trafficking.

The tests, which would require parental permission, would be performed first in 8,000 public schools, and later possibly be expanded nationwide, Calderon said. He added that parents’ groups would have to approve its implementation.

It “will be a permanent monitoring of the students’ health so that we are able to detect any addiction and immediately act,” Calderon said in the northern city of Monterrey. “It is not to punish them but to help them overcome that problem.”

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Vendors blame city for market fire

A fire ravaged a marketplace in Haiti’s capital, prompting a protest march Monday by hundreds of street vendors who accused the city government of setting the blaze to remove them from the area.

The fire began Sunday night near Port-Au-Prince’s cathedral, destroying merchandise including fruit, radios and televisions.

“We knew the mayor wanted to clean up this area and move the marketplace, but they never told us what day we should move,” vendor Julio Alexis said.

City officials did not immediately return calls for comment or make a public statement. Haitian police firing shots in the air broke up the demonstration.


Prince Edward’s wife pregnant

The royal family will be a little larger by December, Buckingham Palace said Monday, announcing that Prince Edward’s 42-year-old wife, Sophie, is expecting the couple’s second child.

Edward – the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II – and Sophie, who are the Earl and Countess of Wessex, are the parents of Lady Louise, who was born in November 2003.

“The earl and the countess are both thrilled and excited. The countess will continue with engagements as normal and take doctors’ advice,” a spokeswoman said. She spoke on condition of anonymity in line with palace policy.

Guatemala City

Rioting follows abduction of kids

About 1,500 residents of a remote Guatemalan village rioted on Monday over the kidnappings of two children, burning down a police station and holding their mayor and another man hostage.

The confrontation erupted when 10 police officers tried to stop the villagers from seizing an 18-year-old man whom they accused of the kidnappings, Cunen police spokesman Carlos Calju said.

Overwhelmed police fled, and the mob torched the station and the house of a woman who allegedly tried to buy the children, Calju said.

A special forces team was being sent to restore order, said police chief Mynor Delgado of the nearby town of Santa Cruz del Quiche.

The children, ages 6 and 7, were abducted on Thursday in Cunen, police said. Both were recovered unharmed within two days.

From wire reports


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