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U.S. news to hit Iraqi airwaves

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 15, 2003

NEW YORK -- Sometime this week, Iraqis with television reception will turn on their sets and see a parade of new faces delivering the evening news: Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Jim Lehrer and Brit Hume.

The seven-hour news package -- which will also include nightly programming produced by Arab journalists in Washington and the Middle East -- is part of an ambitious effort that White House officials say will show Iraq what a free press looks like in a democracy.

Iraq and the World, funded by the U.S. government, will feature nightly contributions from CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and Fox News translated into Arabic, and is spearheaded by Norm Pattiz, the chairman of the Westwood One radio network. He said the new project marks "the first time that we have had a horse in the TV race" to compete with coverage from Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, the 24-hour satellite TV channel, and other media sources.

CNN declined to participate in the new broadcasting program.

Iran to Iraqi leaders: Stay away

TEHRAN, Iran -- Fleeing leaders of Saddam Hussein's regime aren't welcome here, and if they sneak in they will be tried for war crimes from the 1980-1988 war, state television reported Monday.

"If any Iraqi leader wants to enter Iran legally, we will naturally reject it. But if they come illegally, we will try them for the crimes they have committed against our people," the television quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.

Pentagon won't count harmed civilians

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon said Monday that it has no plans to determine how many Iraqi civilians may have been killed or injured or suffered property damage as a result of U.S. military operations in Iraq.

The statement followed passage Saturday of a congressional measure calling on the Bush administration to identify and provide "appropriate assistance" to Iraqi civilians for war losses.

U.S. to help find looted antiquities

WASHINGTON -- The United States will play a leading role in helping Iraqis recover antiquities stolen by looters from Iraqi museums in recent days, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday.

After a meeting with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Al Sabah, Powell said the effort also would involve restoring antiquities that were damaged.

Powell said he is seeking cooperation with the European Union and UNESCO, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Contacts also have been made with Interpol, the international police agency.

U.S. envoy to be spokeswoman in Iraq

WASHINGTON -- Margaret Tutwiler, the U.S. ambassador to Morocco, left Rabat for Baghdad on Monday to assume a temporary position overseeing all public relations and information operations in postwar Iraq.

Tutwiler, who was the State Department spokeswoman during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, will work for Jay Garner, a retired lieutenant general who is to run the Pentagon's reconstruction and relief efforts in Iraq.

Patriot batteries packed up in Israel

JERUSALEM -- U.S. troops were packing up Patriot antimissile batteries in Israel on Monday, a day after Israeli officials said there was no longer a threat of an Iraqi missile attack.

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