Frank Langfitt

Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe.

Langfitt arrived in London in June, 2016. A week later, the UK voted for Brexit. He's been busy ever since, covering the political battles over just how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. Langfitt also frequently appears on the BBC, where he tries to explain American politics, which is not easy.

Previously, Langfitt spent five years as an NPR correspondent covering China. Based in Shanghai, he drove a free taxi around the city for a series on a changing China as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. As part of the series, Langfitt drove passengers back to the countryside for Chinese New Year and served as a wedding chauffeur. He has expanded his reporting into a book, The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China (Public Affairs, Hachette), which is out in June 2019.

While in China, Langfitt also reported on the government's infamous black jails — secret detention centers — as well as his own travails taking China's driver's test, which he failed three times.

Before moving to Shanghai, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He reported from Sudan, covered the civil war in Somalia, and interviewed imprisoned Somali pirates, who insisted they were just misunderstood fishermen. During the Arab Spring, Langfitt covered the uprising and crushing of the reform movement in Bahrain.

Prior to Africa, Langfitt was NPR's labor correspondent based in Washington, DC. He covered the 2008 financial crisis, the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler, and coal mine disasters in West Virginia.

In 2008, Langfitt also covered the Beijing Olympics as a member of NPR's team, which won an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. Langfitt's print and visual journalism have also been honored by the Overseas Press Association and the White House News Photographers Association.

Before coming to NPR, Langfitt spent five years as a correspondent in Beijing for The Baltimore Sun, covering a swath of Asia from East Timor to the Khyber Pass.

Langfitt spent his early years in journalism stringing for the Philadelphia Inquirer and living in Hazard, Kentucky, where he covered the state's Appalachian coalfields for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Prior to becoming a reporter, Langfitt dug latrines in Mexico and drove a taxi in his hometown of Philadelphia. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

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This weekend marks a major step in Britain's more than two-year journey to leave the European Union. The EU's remaining 27 nations will vote on a divorce agreement with the United Kingdom. And for more, we turn to NPR's Frank Langfitt in London. Hi, Frank.

This week was one of the most chaotic in British politics in recent decades. After more than a year of negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May presented a Brexit withdrawal agreement from the European Union that seemed to unite British politicians across the spectrum in their hatred for it.

After many months of talks, negotiators for the United Kingdom and the European Union have reached a Brexit breakthrough: a draft agreement on how the U.K. will leave the EU at the end of March. The text of the agreement, which runs to hundreds of pages, has not been released, but U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is already busy trying to sell the agreement to Cabinet members in private meetings Tuesday evening at London's 10 Downing Street.

Under normal circumstances, America's midterm elections tend to elicit shrugs outside the U.S. The world usually focuses on U.S. elections when the president's name is on the ballot. But if you're an American overseas these days, you may be quizzed on what will happen in Tuesday's midterms.

Leslie Vinjamuri, an American political scientist who has lived in London for more than a dozen years, says in the run-up to this year's midterms, she has been getting questions every day.

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It used to be that the Communist Party focused on censoring free speech primarily inside of China. In recent years, though, China's authoritarian government has tried to censor speech beyond its borders, inside liberal democracies, when speech contradicts the party's line on highly sensitive political issues, such as the status of Tibet and Taiwan. It's part of the party's grand strategy to change the way the world talks about China.

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Back in 1979, Pope John Paul II arrived in Ireland to an outpouring of love, affection and enormous crowds, including an estimated 1.2 million people for a Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park. Among the faithful that day was Carmel Malone.

Nearly four decades later, Malone's daughters brought her in a wheelchair to watch Pope Francis pass through downtown Dublin on Saturday. This time, the crowds were far sparser — only one deep in some places — and there were even some boos from victims of clerical sexual abuse who protested along the road.

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When millions of people tune in Saturday morning for the British royal wedding, there will be talk of fairy tales and plenty of cinematic shots of Prince Harry and his bride, Meghan Markle, riding in a horse-drawn carriage past thousands of cheering fans with the turrets of Windsor Castle in the background.

But beyond the pageantry and royal stagecraft at which the British excel, there is a genuine story about a changing Britain, a complicated American family, a resilient monarchy and the redemption of a wayward prince.

Winters in London can be damp and dreary. The British capital sits at 51.5 degrees latitude north – roughly equivalent to the Canadian city of Calgary – and in December, the British capital can descend into darkness by 4:30 p.m.

When it comes to tourism, Ireland punches well above its weight.

When President Trump announced Thursday that he was canceling his visit to the United Kingdom next month to open the new U.S. Embassy in London, he sounded less like the leader of the world's most powerful country and more like the real estate developer he once was.

On Twitter, he complained that the Obama administration (it was actually George W. Bush's) had traded an embassy located in one of the British capital's top districts, Mayfair, for a new one in "an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!"

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British Prime Minister Theresa May gave one of the most important speeches of her political career Wednesday morning. It could not have gone much worse.

The speech, which she delivered to a packed audience of her fellow Conservative Party members in Manchester, started reasonably well — until a prankster approached the stage. The man handed the leader of the United Kingdom a P-45 form, the British equivalent of a pink slip.

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