CHARMED: Bubba Frees Jailed U.S. Journalists

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NEW YORK TIMES: SEOUL, South Korea — The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, pardoned two jailed American journalists, the official KCNA news agency has reported, according to Reuters. The report came after former President Bill Clinton met with the reclusive and ailing Mr. Kim in Pyongyang on Tuesday. Mr. Kim granted “a special pardon,” KCNA said in a statement. It was not clear how rapidly the two journalists, Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, might be allowed to leave the country. They were being held near Pyongyang after having been sentenced to 12 years at hard labor for entering North Korea illegally. The pardon added to speculation among analysts in Seoul that North Korea, after months of raising tensions and hostile rhetoric towards Washington, may be ready to return to dialogue with Washington. MORE

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