The LAT catches up with Charles Robert Jenkins, the 69-year-old American who was stationed in Korea in 1965 when he made what he describes as "the stupidest decision of my life" and decided to desert and go to North Korea. He was then held captive for decades, frequently used as a propaganda tool, and only allowed to leave in 2004. He married a Japanese woman who had been abducted by the North Koreans and had two daughters. They all live together in Japan now, and Jenkins works at a souvenir shop, where people line up to take pictures with him. "The tourists have seen his face on TV so often, they consider him a movie star." Now the man who spent so much of his life as a prisoner in North Korea tires of being treated like a celebrity in a place where he barely speaks the language.
The WSJ reports that some big banks that have benefited from government bailouts in the United States and Britain are, once again, offering big bucks to their star employees. Citigroup offered $2 million to an executive, Bank of America hired a bond salesman and gave him a deal worth around $6 million, and Royal Bank of Scotland is apparently offering compensation packages "that are at or above the industry's peak pay in 2007," reports the paper. "The state is helping these banks stay in business ... so they are essentially offering this compensation using state money," a compensation consultant said. "This has really been a surprise for other banks, who thought compensation was going to drop."
The company that makes Crocs is in deep trouble, reports the Post. The shoes that people loved to mock, and everyone seemed to own, stopped selling when the economy turned sour, just as the company made huge investments to expand production. What had been a $168.2 million profit in 2007 turned into a $185.1 million loss last year. "The company's toast," said an investment manager. "They're zombie-ish. They're dead and they don't know it." One trend-and-marketing expert says Crocs are over but could come back in a decade if people get nostalgic looking at the back of their closets and think, "Remember when we had ugly, Flintstone-looking feet?"