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We start with a look at the relationship between North Korea and China. Chinese officials are standing up for North Korea in the wake of the Sony hack, but are the close ties between the two countries fraying? Then, a look at North Korean tourism and how much access Western travelers have when visiting that country. In our weekly television roundup we turn to “The Interview” and whether it will ever see the light of day. KCRW DJ Anne Litt shares her picks for the best songs of 2014. And finally, why are L.A.’s streets so cluttered with trash?

Banner Image: Korean Air Boeing 747-400 taxiing at Haneda Airport, photo by Kentaro Iemoto

Examining North Korea-China Ties 9 MIN, 21 SEC

Chinese officials went on the record today about the hack of Sony Pictures, saying that while they oppose cyberattacks, there’s no proof that North Korea is behind it. China is North Korea’s only major ally. But as North Korea becomes more isolated and more brazen in its actions, could that change?

Jonathan Pollack, Brookings Institution (@BrookingsInst)

Inside North Korea’s Tourism Industry 6 MIN, 55 SEC

One thing the international hacking controversy has highlighted is the vast cultural gap between the U.S. and North Korea. North Korea is notoriously hard to access as a Westerner, and the U.S. State Department recommends against any travel there by American citizens. Yet, tour groups do exist to help curious Americans and other foreigners navigate North Korea. How much access do they provide?

John Dantzler-Wolfe, Frequent traveler to North Korea and former COO of Uri Tours, which leads tourists into North Korea (@dantzlerwolfe)

Will 'The Interview' Ever See the Light of Day? 9 MIN, 42 SEC

Even people who wouldn’t normally be into bro-mantic comedies are now eager to see The Interview, the Seth Rogen film that’s created an international uproar. But despite the accidental publicity, Sony isn’t revealing when Americans might have the chance to see the film. It won’t be in theaters, but what about on-demand streaming? We discuss that and more in our weekly television roundup.

Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)
Todd VanDerWerff, culture editor for Vox.com (@tvoti)

The Best Songs of 2014 12 MIN, 52 SEC

This is the season of the “Best Of” list and KCRW is not immune. The station’s DJs have compiled their much-awaited “Best Albums of 2014.” Madeleine recently sat down with Anne Litt to talk about her picks for the year’s top tunes.

Anne Litt, Host of 'Anne Litt' (@anne_litt)

LA’s Trashy Streets 8 MIN, 11 SEC

The end of the year brings a time of renewal. Out with the old, in with the new! And apparently, a lot of Angelenos are taking that to heart. Our streets and sidewalks are regularly littered with furniture, televisions, mattresses and other discarded items. The city’s trash problem has gotten so bad in recent years, officials say it’s damaging L.A.’s “brand.” We hear from one reporter who’s looked into why our garbage is piling up, and what the city is doing about it.

David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times (@DavidZahniser)

L.A.'s messy ways now on city radar

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