American Morning

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November 28th, 2010
09:45 PM ET

The Teaser for Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Teaser” is a preview of the guests we have lined up for the next day – so you know when to tune in (and when to set your alarm!). Guests and times are always subject to change.

6:40AM Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group and author of "Buy Me!" , on his latest survey results of Black Friday sales. Sure, people went to the stores in droves, but did they actually buy anything?

7:40AM Stephanie Napier, former neighbor of Mohamed Osman Mahamud , the Portland, OR teenager who was arrested in connection with planning to bomb a tree-lighting ceremony. We’ll ask her about her recollections of Mahamud and his family, and whether she was surprised when she heard of the arrest.

8:10AM James Rubin, former U.S. assistant Secretary of State and adjunct professor at Columbia University, on North Korea’s reaction to South Korea and U.S. joint military exercises on Sunday. Can regional talks prevent the situation from intensifying? Plus we’ll ask if the Wikileaks document release will have any impact on U.S. diplomacy around the world.

8:40AM Vera Gibbons, financial journalist and contributor with Turbo Tax, on what you can do now to lower your 2010 tax bill.

Have questions for any of our guests?

Tweet 'em at or post them below and we'll try to use 'em!

Have an idea for a story? Or more questions about something you saw or read on our amFIX blog, Facebook or Twitter?

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Filed under: American Morning • Black Friday • North Korea • Terrorism • Wikileaks
October 9th, 2010
09:01 PM ET

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Alina Cho – My North Korea Visa

Editor's note: American Morning's Alina Cho will be reporting live from Pyongyang, North Korea on CNN Sunday night, Monday morning at 6:00AM ET on "American Morning" and CNN International.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A glimpse of part of Alina Cho's North Korean visa. She will report live from Pyongyang for CNN on Sunday and Monday." width=292 height=320]

It is Saturday morning Beijing time, and we have just left the North Korean embassy with visas in hand.  This is our ticket to North Korea, and it was not easy to get! Now, we head to the airport where we will board a plane to the capital, Pyongyang.  This is my second trip to North Korea and I couldn't be more excited. 

Remember, this is one of the most isolated societies in the world, part of the so-called "axis of evil."  A communist nation with one of the largest armies in the world. A place where the average North Korean has no access to the internet, no cell phone and where all TV and radio is tuned in – always – to government channels.  It is simply surreal. 

We are going at an important time in North Korea's history. The longtime dictator, Kim Jong Il, has effectively named his third son, Kim Jong Un, the heir apparent. But will the communist dynasty continue under the son's rule? 

The media has been invited to cover what's being billed as the largest military parade in this country's history. Will we get a glimpse of Kim Jong IL and his son? One can only hope. 

I will be reporting LIVE from inside North Korea starting Sunday night and Monday morning on "American Morning"  and CNN International.  Stay tuned, much more to come.

Filed under: American Morning • North Korea
November 19th, 2009
09:58 AM ET

Richardson: New path forged with N. Korea

President Obama returns to Washington today after a busy week in Asia. His final stop was South Korea where he announced plans to send an envoy to North Korea for direct talks on its nuclear weapons program.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has experience negotiating with North Korea and has made numerous trips to the communist country. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN's "American Morning" Thursday.

Read more: Obama to send envoy to North Korea

Filed under: North Korea
September 2nd, 2009
08:16 AM ET

LA Times: Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Freed journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling after being released from North Korea on August 5, 2009."]

By Laura Ling and Euna Lee
From The Los Angeles Times

We arrived at the frozen river separating China and North Korea at 5 o'clock on the morning of March 17. The air was crisp and still, and there was no one else in sight. As the sun appeared over the horizon, our guide stepped onto the ice. We followed him.

We had traveled to the area to document a grim story of human trafficking for Current TV. During the previous week, we had met and interviewed several North Korean defectors - women who had fled poverty and repression in their homeland, only to find themselves living in a bleak limbo in China. Some had, out of desperation, found work in the online sex industry; others had been forced into arranged marriages.

Now our guide, a Korean Chinese man who often worked for foreign journalists, had brought us to the Tumen River to document a well-used trafficking route and chronicle how the smuggling operations worked.

There were no signs marking the international border, no fences, no barbed wire. But we knew our guide was taking us closer to the North Korean side of the river. As he walked, he began making deep, low hooting sounds, which we assumed was his way of making contact with North Korean border guards he knew. The previous night, he had called his associates in North Korea on a black cellphone he kept for that purpose, trying to arrange an interview for us. He was unsuccessful, but he could, he assured us, show us the no-man's land along the river, where smugglers pay off guards to move human traffic from one country to another.

Keep reading »

Filed under: North Korea
August 7th, 2009
12:28 PM ET

Sister says Laura Ling is 'very, very weak'

(CNN) - Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee told Ling's sister they were treated humanely in North Korea, and they believe they weren't sent to hard-labor camps because they have medical conditions, Lisa Ling said Friday.

The sister, speaking on CNN's "American Morning," did not elaborate on the medical conditions, but said her sister will soon tell her story.

"Laura is eager to tell the story about what happened. I want to let her do so, but right now, she's really getting reacclimated. The processes are slow. She's very, very weak," Lisa Ling said, adding that the stories she's heard so far are "jaw-dropping."

Laura Ling and Lee were working for California-based Current TV, a media venture of former Vice President Al Gore, when they were arrested in March for crossing the border between China and North Korea.

Lisa Ling said that before they left the United States, the pair never intended to cross into North Korea. They have acknowledged that they briefly did, however, and they were convicted of entering the country illegally to conduct a "smear campaign" against the reclusive Communist state.

They were sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, pardoned the women Tuesday after meeting with former President Bill Clinton. They arrived home the following day.

Filed under: North Korea
August 6th, 2009
06:46 AM ET

Critics: Pres. Clinton is overshadowing his wife

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Journalists Laura Ling speaks in front of Euna Lee, former Vice President Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton on August 5, 2009 in Burbank, California after being released by North Korean authorities."]

Laura Ling choked up with emotion when she described the moment she realized she would be freed from captivity in North Korea. “We were taken to a location, and when we walked in through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton.”

He was a rescuing angel, who brought the two American journalists home safely. Some are even saying Mr. Clinton's visit may also pave the way to a nuclear-free North Korea. But it wasn’t long before “The Hillary Question” came up.

“Where is Hillary?” asked Rush Limbaugh on his radio show. “Is North Korea too important to send a girl?” Although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Africa on a diplomacy tour, some say President Clinton’s mission trumps hers.

“Just as Hillary muscled her way back into the spotlight...she was blown off the radar screen again by an even more powerful envoy: the one she lives with,” wrote Maureen Dowd in the New York Times. This comes after questions just last month, that President Obama was overshadowing Secretary Clinton by meeting with world leaders himself, and by sending Vice President Joe Biden to Iraq.

Clinton supporters argue Hillary is in no way being overshadowed. “I don’t think Bill Clinton would overshadow Secretary Clinton,” says Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen. “In fact if that were to be the case, I'm sure he would not have done it." Cohen says Mr. Clinton not only worked closely with President Obama to free the journalists, but he worked with his wife, the Secretary of State, too.

And besides, many analysts say, this was the kind of mission more suited to former Presidents. “The North Koreans wanted a high-level envoy and it was clear that it couldn't be somebody currently in government,” says Larry Sabato, who teaches political science at the University of Virginia. “So you know there were only several people imaginable; Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Richardson, and the North Koreans got the top banana, which is what they wanted.“

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton • North Korea
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