Veteran BBC television host Sir David Frost and Josh Rushing, a former US marine who was a Pentagon spokesman during the first months of the US-led invasion of Iraq, have signed with the Aljazeera International.

Aljazeera also announced on Tuesday a new service in Urdu, in advance of plans to offer similar services in French, Spanish and Turkish.

"We have brokered an agreement with the biggest cable company in Asia to offer this 24-hour new service meant to attract about 150 million viewers, most of them in Asia," Hamad al-Nuaimi, marketing manager, said.

"The simultaneous translation (of Al-Jazeera news channel) into the Urdu language started two days ago as a test transmission. Subscriptions will only start in June."

Simultaneous translation

Al-Nuaimi said the network planned to offer similar simultaneous translation of its Arabic-language news channel in French, Spanish and Turkish at a later stage.

Waddah Khanfar, Aljazeera's director-general, announced that the network signed on Tuesday an agreement with the Latin American news channel Telesur for "cooperation in training and the exchange of footage and logistics".

Aljazeera, which has often been in trouble with the US for carrying exclusive al-Qaida messages, launched a children's channel last year as part of a major expansion.

It also has a sports channel and another dedicated to covering live events without presenter or commentary.