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North Korea said today that it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked, just two days after sentencing two American journalists to twelve years in a gulag-type prison labor camp. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, guest host Sara Terry explores the motives behind North Korea's recent aggressive actions and whether the US should re-start negotiations or take a hard-line stance with the secretive communist power. Also,  "congestion pricing" comes to Southland freeways, and a victory for human rights activists in the Niger Delta.

Making News Congestion Pricing Experiment on LA Freeways 8 MIN, 43 SEC

Los Angeles will soon become the latest city to experiment with "congestion pricing," a system by which commuters on two local freeways would be able to buy their way out of traffic and into the carpool lane. Will that help clear our overcrowded roads? Douglas Failing is District Director for Caltrans, covering Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Douglas Failing, Metro

Main Topic Are US Journalists Being Used as Pawns by North Korea? 18 MIN, 25 SEC

North Korea has sentenced two American television reporters to twelve years in a prison labor camp, prompting an international outcry. The families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee have asked the government of North Korea to show compassion and the US is working for their release, but Pyongyang hasn't shown any signs recently of backing down in its dealings with the West. North Korean nuclear tests and missile firings have increased tensions in the region. What options does President Obama have in dealing with a country that George Bush designated as part of the Axis of Evil? With a new leader in the wings, how are internal issues driving North Korea's actions on the global stage?

Bill Powell, Shanghai Bureau Chief, Time magazine
Bob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists
L. Gordon Flake, Executive Director, Mansfield Foundation
Don Kirk, The Atlantic
Abe Denmark, Fellow, Center for a New American Security

Reporter's Notebook Shell Oil Pays $15.5M for Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria 8 MIN, 7 SEC

In 1995, Nigerian author Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other anti-oil activists were convicted and hanged in Nigeria. A court case scheduled to begin in the US next week alleged that Royal Dutch Shell helped the Nigerian government capture and hang the men. Without admitting any wrongdoing, the oil giant announced yesterday that it will pay $15.5 million as compensation in the deaths of the protestors. Human rights activists are hailing the decision as a victory in an oil-rich region that continues to be plagued by corruption and violence. Michael Watts, Director of the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, has more on the story.

Michael Watts, Director of the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley


Sara Terry

Gary Scott
Vanessa Romo

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