Another American hostage:
"An Iranian-American pastor imprisoned in Iran since September, Saeed Abedini, has been sentenced by a revolutionary court in Iran to an eight-year prison term on charges of disturbing national security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported Sunday." (New York Times, 1/28/13)
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's daughter, Sophie, accompanied her father and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson on a trip to North Korea. She blogs of her "people-to-people" encounter:
"Our trip was a mixture of highly staged encounters, tightly-orchestrated viewings and what seemed like genuine human moments. We had zero interactions with non-state-approved North Koreans and were never far from our two minders (2, so one can mind the other). The longer I think about what we saw and heard, the less sure I am about what any of it actually meant." (Sophie in North Korea, 1/13).
Another bogus "reform" dictator, plus two doses of wishful thinking:
"North Korea's missile tests and menacing rhetoric have disappointed U.S. expectations that young leader Kim Jong-un would be different than his father but Washington still hopes to persuade Pyongyang to change course, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday." (Reuters, 1/29/13)
"The United States is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran in the standoff over its nuclear ambitions, Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday – but he insisted that Tehran must show it is serious and Washington won't engage in such talks merely 'for the exercise.'" (AP, 2/2/13)