Television

Al Jazeera International gears for Kuala Lumpur broadcast centre

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MUMBAI: Doha based -- Al Jazeera International, the yet-to launch 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel has roped in Divya Gopalan and Hamish MacDonald have joined the channel's team of on-screen talent.

Divya and Hamish will be the channel's weekend news anchors for Al Jazeera International's Kuala Lumpur broadcast centre, one of four regional broadcast centres strategically placed around the world in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC. They join the weekday news anchors Veronica Pedrosa and Teymoor Nabili, formerly of CNN International and CNBC Asia respectively.

Gopalan brings the channel over 10 year's experience in international journalism including roles with BBC News, CNN and American networks NBC and CNBC. MacDonald meanwhile joins Al Jazeera International from the UK's Channel 4 News where he built a career as a news producer and reporter covering a range of international stories.

Al Jazeera International MD Nigel Parsons said, "I am pleased to confirm our weekend presenters who bring a dynamic approach to news reporting in keeping with the channel's aim of bringing a fresh perspective on world news while maintaining the highest journalistic standards."

Already on the board, are name likes of Sir David Frost, Veronica Pedrosa and Riz Khan.

At the BBC Gopalan worked on daily news and current affairs programmes such as Hard Talk. Her portfolio included major news stories such as the Iraq war, the Asian Tsunami, the Bali and London bombings. She also covered the 1997 Hong Kong handover for NBC and at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival interviewed Palm D'or winner for best actress Maggie Cheung and best director nominee Wong Kar Wai. Gopalan was the first ethnic Indian newsreader on Hong Kong television.

Starting her on-air career as a sports reporter, Gopalan interviewed some of the biggest names in the sporting world like tennis stars Steffi Graf, the Williams sisters, Anna Kournikova, F1 star Jensen Button, and International soccer players including Gianfranco Zola and Andy Cole.

Gopalan has a truly global background, she is of Indian origin and was born in Hong Kong. She was also brought up in the Philippines, educated in North America and spent five years living and working in London and is fluent in four languages.

MacDonald has covered major stories at Channel 4 including the Asian Tsunami and the London bombings. He reported live for Channel 4 and ITV news and reported as an eyewitness for Australian Networks 9, 7 and ABC.

He began his TV career with WIN television in Canberra as a politics reporter and presenter. From there he moved to the UK and freelanced for a short period, before joining the Channel 4 news team as a producer.

MacDonald trained in journalism at Charles University in Australia and began his career as a Talk Radio presenter and newsreader on Radio 2BS Gold. He is the first Australian news anchor to join the Al Jazeera International news line-up of on-screen talent.

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