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Reformers, including politicians and major clerics, boycotted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s swearing in today. Protesters were outnumbered by riot police. What are the prospects for his second term as President with Iran threatened by economic collapse, political instability and international sanctions? Also, former president Bill Clinton is back on the world stage with the release of two American journalists from North Korea. What’s the benefit for the dictator Kim Jong Il? What were the roles of Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama? Is a breakthrough on nuclear weapons more or less likely?

Banner image: Former President Bill Clinton (L) and Vice President Al Gore (2nd-L) greet freed US journalists Laura Ling (2nd-R) and Euna Lee upon their arrival at the airport in Burbank, California on August 5. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Hillary Clinton Launches African Tour 7 MIN, 29 SEC

The Secretary of State has an opportunity to make news of her own on her visit to sub-Saharan Africa. First stop, Kenya, where she criticized the government for graft and corruption. Shashank Bengali is Africa Correspondent for the McClatchy Newspapers.

Shashank Bengali, Africa Correspondent, McClatchy newspapers

Main Topic Will Reporters' Release Warm North Korea-US Relations? 35 MIN, 50 SEC

After months of captivity in North Korea and a sentence of 12 years at hard labor, Laura Ling described what happened yesterday when she and Euna Lee were told to go to a meeting. Ling spoke to reporters this morning at the airport in Burbank, California along with Al Gore. The two journalists were on assignment in China for Gore’s Current TV when they were arrested for crossing the border into North Korea. Reportedly, it was Gore who told Bill Clinton that North Korea asked him to visit in return for setting the journalists free. The White House has emphasized that Clinton went as a private citizen. Did the President ask Clinton to convey a message to Kim Jong Il?

Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal (@WSJSolomon)
Selig Harrison, Center for International Policy
Chaibong Hahm, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

Korean Endgame

Selig Harrison

Making News Iranian President Ahmadinejad Begins Second Term 7 MIN, 11 SEC

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad starts his second four-year term as President of Iran. In today's inaugural address, Ahmadinejad called for "a national will" and "national resolve." He told his audience, "We need to join forces."  As if to dramatize the moment, major reformers, including a faction of parliament, boycotted the ceremony. Outside on the streets of Tehran, opposition protesters were vastly outnumbered by riot police.

Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)
Reza Aslan, University of California, Riverside (@rezaaslan‎)
Suzanne Maloney, Brookings Institution (@MaloneySuzanne)
Mohsen Milani, Professor of Government and International Affairs, University of South Florida

Iran's Long Reach

Suzanne Maloney


Warren Olney

Sonya Geis
Karen Radziner

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