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Next Step for North Korea Journos

That, and other news, in today’s Roundup and Recap.

Speculation continued that Al Gore or New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson would be enlisted to travel to Pyongyang to win the release of the Current TV journos sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea after they were detained months ago while shooting a story along the border with China.

Meanwhile, the New York Times’ Brian Stelter has more details on the lack of any mention of the story on Current TV itself, and Time’s James Poniewozik looks at how the story has focused attention on the cable network, what he calls a “bastard child of CNN and MTV, as run by idealistic honor students.”

Shakira’s Effort: Over the weekend, the New York Times magazine profiled Shakira’s drive to make early childhood education a priority in Latin America. Writes Scott Malcomson:

Celebrity philanthropy, rock ’n’ roll philanthropy, is no longer a novelty, but what Shakira and ALAS were trying was indeed new. They were looking to use the power of pop to help the populations not of distant impoverished lands but of the Ibero-American world from which they come. They have a policy focus — early-childhood nutrition, education and medical care — that is on a scale beyond the reach of private charity. It requires the steady effort of the state. It cannot be addressed by rich countries’ check-writing. So the trick is to take pop celebrity, marry it to big business and permanently alter the way Latin American governments help care for the young and the poor. What the golden-haired young woman staring at her laptop was trying to do was a tall order, given the fragility of celebrity influence, the dubious track record of Latin American governments in providing social services and the lengthening shadow of a global recession that was straitening everyone’s budget. But she is not someone whom it would be reasonable to underestimate.

Obama’s Spotlight: Robert Hofler of Variety says that President Obama’s visit to Broadway the other week to see “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” is a reminder of just how few Rialto plays this season represent African-Americans. The play got a box office bump after the president and first lady saw the show. 

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