This is what it takes to Escape from North Korea

There is a well-trodden escape route out of North Korea. It is both illegal and daunting, rife with unscrupulous human traffickers and hounded by heavily-armed soldiers. But over the decades, thousands of North Korean defectors have made the dangerous trip, which leads across the Yalu River and into China. From there, clandestine assistance networks and charities help them to make the trek further north into Mongolia. If they get there, they stand a chance of moving on to seek asylum in free countries elsewhere in the world.

But if they are caught in China, they are typically returned home to face imprisonment and torture. Recently, the Chinese government of President Xi Jinping – who visits North Korea today -- has moved to crack down harder on the safe houses that aid these asylum-seekers, according to rights groups and recent Reuters reporting.

Here is one story of a defector who, despite near unfathomable hardships, managed to escape. Yeonmi Park says she survived the great famine of the 1990s by foraging for grasshoppers and dragonflies, before being subject to human trafficking in China. Today she is a human rights activist living in Chicago. How she got from there to here is the story of a lifetime. And it's the subject of a special edition of GZERO World.

Civil rights activist Janet Murguía joins the 'That Made All the Difference' podcast to discuss her upbringing as the daughter of immigrant parents and how that experience informs her life's work advocating for Hispanic-Latino civil rights and battling systemic inequality.

Listen now.

It's the decision that could kickstart intra-Afghan dialogue, and pave the way to ending the US occupation in Afghanistan after 20 bloody years.

On Sunday, after days of deliberations that involved thousands of Afghan delegates packing into one tent (what's COVID again), President Ashraf Ghani agreed to release hundreds of Taliban prisoners from government jails. The move opens the way to intra-Afghan dialogue under a deal that the US brokered directly with the Taliban earlier this year.

The Trump administration has touted this development as a major step towards peace, but after nearly two decades of war, the relevant players are still miles apart when it comes to laying out a common vision for the conflict-ridden country. What do they all want?

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Just days after an explosion tore through the heart of Beirut, journalist and born-and-raised resident Kim Ghattas describes where she was when the blast happened - and what she actually thinks was the cause. This episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer begins airing Friday, August 14 on US public television. Check local listings.

"Go ahead, take it," President Putin says to you.

"Take what?" you ask.

"This Covid vaccine," he continues, turning a small syringe over in his hands. "It's safe. Trust me. We… tested it on my daughter."

Would you do it? Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting that a lot of people will say yes. On Tuesday he announced that Russia has become the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, and that mass vaccinations will begin there in October.

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20.4: The UK economy is now officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years, after British economic growth plunged by 20.4 percent quarter-on-quarter from April to June 2020. The quarterly decline — attributed to the economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic ­— is double that of the US and second only to Spain's in Europe.

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