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FROM THIS EPISODE

To become host of this summer's Olympic Games, China promised to clean up the air and grant more political freedom. But Beijing is still smoggy; dissidents are being rounded up; and China's being criticized for not doing more on Darfur.  Those issues and the prospect for athletic competition. Also, the US pulls nonessential embassy personnel out of Serbia, and last night's debate was not the tough confrontation that had been expected. Was it good politics or opportunities missed?


Photo: Guang Niu/Getty Images

Producers:
Sonya Geis
Christian Bordal
Katie Cooper

Reporter's Notebook Clinton Passes on Playing Hardball 8 MIN, 23 SEC

Last night's debate was billed as a showdown between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but it was more polite than it was confrontational. The presidential campaign rivals engaged mostly on familiar territory, with occasional smiles and occasionally clenched teeth during exchanges about healthcare, the use of words and preparation for leadership. One Obama supporter said that sounded almost like a concession. This morning, Clinton called it "a recognition that both of us are on the brink of historic change." John Mercurio is executive editor of The Hotline.

  • Note: KCRW will rebroadcast last night's debate from today, Friday, from 1-3pm.

Guests:
John Mercurio, Senior Editor, The Hotline

Main Topic The Beijing Olympics: Human Rights, Smog and Peking Duck 34 MIN, 21 SEC

When the world's greatest athletes arrive in Beijing, China for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the focus will shift to international competition. In the meantime, it's on smog, human rights and international politics. Recently, Stephen Spielberg resigned as the Games' artistic advisor, claiming that China is not doing enough to make peace in Darfur. Human rights groups say political dissidents are being rounded up by a government that promised to allow greater freedom of speech. Coaches worry about the health of their athletes, not to mention the Chinese people, despite the pledge to clean up the air. Looking forward to the greatest sports event in the world, we'll hear about smog, human rights and international politics.

Guests:
Philip Hersh, Olympics Reporter, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times
Jeffrey Ruffolo, Senior Expert, Beijing Organizing Committee
Sharon Hom, Executive Director, Human Rights in China
George Koo, Chinese business consultant

Making News US Pulls Nonessential Embassy Personnel Out of Serbia 6 MIN, 8 SEC

In the aftermath of yesterday's attack on the US embassy in Belgrade, the burned body of a protester was found inside the building.  Today, non-essential diplomats and their families were asked to pull out of Serbia.  Cameron Munter is the US Ambassador in Belgrade.

Guests:
Cameron Munter, US Ambassador, Serbia

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