Citing North Korean state media, numerous major media outlets are reporting that Euna Lee and Laura Ling have been released from a North Korean prison following an unannounced visit to the country by former President Bill Clinton. During his visit, Mr. Clinton met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, but all reports have indicated that the meeting was focused on securing the release of the two journalists detained since March 17 of this year. According to the BBC, the North Korea News Agency released a statement saying Kim Jong Il “granted a special pardon” to the journalists.
It is unclear whether or not North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were discussed, but all indications are that the meeting focused on the reporters. North Korea’s lead nuclear negotiator did, however, greet Mr. Clinton at the airport while Kim Jong Il was absent.
The reporters were working along the North Korea-China border on a documentary about North Korean refugees for Current.tv, a project of Al Gore’s, when they were arrested for crossing illegally into North Korean territory.
In the forthcoming documentary The Cove (http://thecovemovie.com), Ric O’Barry reveals aÂ horrifying, secretive tradition in Japan. O’Barry, who trained the five dolphins used to film the 1960’s TV show Flipper, is now an animal rights activist focused on freeing dolphins from captivity and preventing their abuse.
As he discussed on WBUR’s Here and Now (“Flipper’s Trainer, Now Dolphin Activist”), following his experience with the dolphins trained for Flipper, O’Barry realized that these animals, being predominantly auditory animals, cannot thrive in the concrete environments that typically house them. Since the death of the original Flipper, which O’Barry witnessed, he has worked tirelessly, and often outside the law, to protect dolphins. O’Barry has been both arrested and sued, but neither could dissuade him from his passion. Because of his dedication andÂ perseverance, he and a team captured rather horrifying footage that became the documentary The Cove. The film reveals an annual ritual in the Japanese town of Taiji which sees young female dolphins auctioned off to willing buyers while thousands of unwanted dolphins are killed for their meat. This meat, high in many toxins including mercury, is sold to the Japanese public without their knowledge of its health hazards. The subject matter is horrifying to be sure, but I look forward to seeing the film. A PG-13 trailer is available at http://thecovemovie.com.
In support of the film, a new awareness site was created at http://www.savejapandolphins.org/. The site includes a message from Ric O’Barry, as well as information on getting involved in the fight against dolphin and whale slaughter.