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Venezuelan Minister Resigns to Head New Satellite Channel

Venezuela's Information Minister Andres Izarra has resigned to run a new satellite television channel backed by President Hugo Chavez.

Mr. Izarra said Wednesday he was stepping down to ensure the "independence" of the Telesur channel, which began limited broadcasts this week.

President Chavez and the governments of Argentina, Cuba and Uruguay have supported the new channel, saying it is needed to focus on news and issues in Latin America.

Critics have expressed concern that Telesur may be a mouthpiece for propaganda by Mr. Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure calling for television and radio broadcasts to Venezuela to counter alleged "anti-American" rhetoric on the channel. The Senate has yet to approve the bill.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.