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North Korea: Two US journalists pardoned

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has issued a "special pardon" to two American journalists convicted of sneaking into the country illegally, and he ordered them released during a visit by former US President Bill Clinton, North Korean media reported early Wednesday. The release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee was a sign of North Korea's "humanitarian and peace-loving policy," the Korean Central News Agency reported. Clinton, who arrived in North Korea Tuesday on an unannounced visit, met with the reclusive and ailing Kim - his first meeting with a prominent Western figure since his reported stroke nearly a year ago. North Korea accused Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, of sneaking into the country illegally in March and engaging in "hostile acts," and the nation's top court sentenced them in June to 12 years of hard labor.
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