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Albany, NY – The recession has monopolized our attention for the past several months...but the world hasn't stopped for us and international problems haven't vanished while we weren't looking. Today, we're turning our attention outside the US. First, Laura Iiyama reports on one of the world's hottest spots...Afghanistan.

6:37 Afghanistan Iiyama

Next, let's talk about a country that, according to reports from both inside the country and outside, has fallen apart. Zimbabwe was in the news recently after 17 pro-democracy activists were re-arrested while recovering from injuries sustained during their recent imprisonment. Jestina Mukoko and other outspoken critics of the former Mugabe regime were released again, but the problems in Zimbabwe are deep and troubling. I spoke with Nondomiso Gasa, a South African activist who has been part of a hunger strike aimed at getting international attention targeted towards neighboring Zimbabwe.

5:23 Gasa

That's African civil rights leader Nondomiso Gasa.

Amy Agnew is based in Amnesty International's London office - and her job is to monitor what's happening in Africa - particularly in Zimbabwe. She sees the political oppression as a sign that attempts to create democracy there are being sabotaged.

1:10 Agnew

If you want to find out more, go to Amnesty International's website at amnesty.org

And finally, let's look at the ongoing problems in China. I became aware of the jailing of political dissident Liu Xiaobo after reading a letter posted online by his wife. She asked for international pressure to win the release of her husband, one of the country's leading intellectuals, along with other jailed political dissidents. And Larry Siems of the PEN American Center, an international group of writers and journalists based in New York City, says the group has a growing campaign to focus on governments that stifle free speech...including our own.

6:48 Siems

For more information on Liu Xiaobo and other writers jailed for their opinions, go to the PEN American Center's website at pen.org.