- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2007

IRAN

Regime createsEnglish news channel

TEHRAN — Iran’s state broadcasting company is launching an English-speaking satellite television channel to counter the West’s influence in covering news, the network said in a statement.

The 24-hour “PRESS TV” news channel said its goal was to “break the global media stranglehold of Western outlets,” and “show the other side of the story” in the Mideast.

The English-speaking network has 26 correspondents around the world and is due to start broadcasting July 2, Mohammad Sarafraz, vice president of Iran’s state broadcast company, told reporters.

EGYPT

Ancient queen’s tomb confirmed

CAIRO — Egyptologists think they have identified with certainty the mummy of Hatshepsut, the most famous queen to rule ancient Egypt, found in a humble tomb in the Valley of the Kings, researchers said this week.

Egypt’s chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, will hold a news conference in Cairo today and press reports say he will announce what some call the most important find in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

Several Egyptologists have long speculated that one of two mummies found at the tomb more than a century ago was that of the queen, who ruled from between 1503 and 1482 B.C.

SYRIA

Border post closed over Lebanon woes

DAMASCUS — Syria plans to close a third border post with Lebanon due to the month-long battle between the Lebanese army and Palestinian Islamists, but two others will remain open, the state news agency SANA announced.

Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara had said last week that the border will stay open unless relations with Lebanon deteriorate beyond repair.

“The closure of the border post with Lebanon yesterday does not mean the border with that country will be closed,” he told reporters. “The border will not be closed unless Syria-Lebanon ties deteriorate to the point of no return.”

BAHRAIN

Welfare tax first for region

MANAMA — Bahrain will become the first Gulf Arab oil producer to tax personal income to fund an unemployment insurance program.

The island kingdom’s move is unusual in the affluent region, source of about a fifth of the world’s crude oil, where state handouts and a bloated public sector help limit poverty and unemployment. Expatriate workers have to contribute but the program will not pay benefits to Bahrain’s large expatriate workforce.

Bahrain has a native population of 460,000, out of a total of 743,000. Unemployment officially stands at 3.8 percent, but independent estimates say it is higher.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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