According to reports this afternoon, former President Bill Clinton’s trip to North Korea to try to secure the release of two journalists imprisoned there has been successful. The reclusive, ailing, and by most accounts criminally deranged North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is said to have granted “a special pardon” for the two American journalists – Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36 – after they were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering North Korea illegally. The journalists were on assignment for Current TV, a San Francisco-based media company co-founded by Al Gore, researching a report about the human trafficking of North Korean women and the refugees who had fled to China. The two journalists were detained by soldiers on March 17th near the North Korea/China border, were sentenced in June, and have been in prison since.
As White House press secretary Robert Gibbs explained in a statement cited in the Times, “While this solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans is on the ground, we will have no comment. We do not want to jeopardize the success of former President Clinton’s mission.” The Obama administration has tried to keep its diplomatic campaign regarding nuclear weapons separate from this case, emphasizing that this is a humanitarian issue. As Hillary Clinton explained “What we hope for now is that these two young women would be granted amnesty through the North Korean system and be allowed to return home to their families as soon as possible.” We’re with you, Hillary.
Today’s Jam is all about the urgent desire to get home as quickly as possible that these women must be feeling at this point. Imogen Heap just released the first single “First Train Home” off of her latest album Ellipse that is scheduled to drop at the end of August. Heap is a muti-instrumentalist and innovative singer-songwriter whose music is ethereal and hard to shake. I’m not saying it’s gonna get the party started but it could set the mood for a more intimate rendezvous.
As a buzz generator around the new album, Heap set up a series of “#heaptweetups” in New York and L.A. during July, where her Twitter followers and fans could come to special listening parties and preview the album. Heap’s latest “#heaptweetup” listening party is taking place tonight in her hometown of London. For our London followers, entry is free and it will probably be crowded because Heap is also planning on talking about the songs as she previews them and she’ll even be buying the drinks!
Imogen Heap – First Train Home: