As North Korea faces ongoing food shortages, the US appears closer to providing food aid amid hopes for movement on six-party nuclear talks.
North Korea's Kim Jong-il is visiting Russia to bolster diplomatic support. A key issue is the ability of Kim's son and heir to rule with an iron hand – an issue getting renewed attention as Libyan rebels advance into Tripoli.
Before fleeing North Korea, Song Byeok was a propaganda artist, creating portraits of 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-il. Now he uses his art to criticize the regime from South Korea.
Jun Young-su, a member of a Christian church in California, was arrested in November, the latest in a series of Americans to be held by North Korea. Christian worship is banned in the North.
After recent meetings with China, North Korea seems to have its own version of trickle-down economics and emerging markets.