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Frank Langfitt

Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe. 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 also helped a Chinese-American NPR listener hunt for her missing sister in the mountains of Yunnan province.

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, D.C. He covered the 2008 financial crisis, the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler and coalmine 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 home town of Philadelphia. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

When Maggie Ranage woke up to the results of last month's vote to leave the European Union, she couldn't believe it. "I just thought, 'Are they nuts? This is bonkers!' " says the Scot, who teaches art and English as a second language at the University of Glasgow. In 2014, during Scotland's independence referendum, Ranage voted to remain in the U.K. She thought Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be "better together," as a campaign slogan at the time promised. But the Brexit...

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When American Erik Bidenkap arrived in London from the U.S. six weeks ago, he thought he was leaving behind the toxic politics of the U.S. presidential race. Bidenkap said he was hoping for a more intellectual, perhaps even philosophical, discussion of the question U.K. citizens will decide Thursday: whether to leave the European Union. "I expected there would be more civility, politeness, I guess," Bidenkap said over pints at a pub near his apartment in London's Notting Hill section. "I...

Tony Thompson hopes the United Kingdom votes on Thursday to leave the European Union. Standing in a green smock behind his meat counter in the town of Romford, a short train ride from central London, the 58-year-old butcher explains why in four words. "Got to stop immigration," says Thompson. "It's only an island. You can only get so many people on an island, can't you?" Thompson says immigration has cost him. He had a butcher shop in London's famed East End, but over time, his white, British...

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One recent afternoon, I was walking up Nanjing West Road, Shanghai's traditional shopping street, when I ran into a crowd of protesters being chased off by a plainclothes cop wielding a bullhorn and a line of uniformed police. Demonstrations like this in the heart of the city are rare and sensitive for the government, which fears political unrest as China's economic growth continues to slow. I asked a fleeing protester what had happened. "Don't walk alongside me," pleaded the woman, named...

It's 9:30 on a Thursday night and Chinese and foreign jazz fans descend on the JZ Club in Shanghai's former French Concession. Glasses clink and the splashing sound of cymbals ripple through a cabaret setting bathed in soft red light. Andrew Field, an American historian, says clubs like JZ represent a return to Shanghai's cosmopolitan past. "You will see Chinese musicians playing with Western musicians or African musicians," says Field, who works at nearby Duke Kunshan University. "Jazz...

Last summer, a Chinese-American woman and NPR listener reached out with an unusual request. She asked me to help find her sister, who'd vanished in the mountains of Yunnan province in southwest China. "My little sister has been missing since Nov. 23, 2013," the woman wrote in an email. "She married a farmer in a remote village and was abused by her husband shortly after her marriage. She escaped from him after a few abuses." Then, her little sister disappeared. Her account on WeChat, China's...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: This week, NPR is investigating a missing persons case from deep in the mountains of southwest China. Now, this came out of a series by NPR's Shanghai correspondent Frank Langfitt. He's been offering free rides around Shanghai in exchange for people's stories. And this fall, the project took an unexpected turn. A Chinese-American woman heard one of his reports and got in touch with him. She asked for...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: And this morning, we're listening to people who've been following the U.S. presidential election from afar, voices from around the world. Let's turn now to NPR's Frank Langfitt, who's based in Shanghai. FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Chinese people generally find Donald Trump's rhetoric way over-the-top. But they're wary of Hillary Clinton because of her past get-tough-on-China policies. Jerry Cong cites her...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: China plans to close more than 1,000 coal mines this year. It's producing too much coal and, as in the United States, coal prices are very low. Since coal powers so much of the economy, it's also a symptom of the broader economic situation. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports. FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: The closures are part of a plan to cut nearly half a billion tons of coal production over the next few years....

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: China used to have a booming economy. Now money is rushing out of that country. Last year, Chinese people and businesses sent an estimated $1 trillion overseas, and that's forced China's government to spend a fortune, trying to prop up the value of the currency, the renminbi. What's happening? What does it mean for the rest of us? NPR's Frank Langfitt is on the line from Shanghai to help explain. Good...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: Now to a story in Asia that we're following closely this morning - China has deployed advanced surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island in the South China Sea. That has been confirmed for the first time by the Pentagon and also Taiwan's military. The U.S. Admiral in charge of the Pacific is calling this move a, quote, "clear indication of militarization." Let's turn to NPR's Frank Langfitt, who's...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3Iy-PKwwlA Men driving mountains of Styrofoam on the back of three-wheeled, motorized scooters are a common sight in Shanghai, but the one captured on this video is the biggest I or any of my friends have ever seen. He must be on his way to a recycling transfer station to sell his haul. How he manages to make that right turn without any apparent peripheral vision is yet another miracle of Shanghai's chaotic traffic. I've tried to interview Styrofoam men in the...

Grave robbers in central China pilfered a cemetery in Henan province last week, stole ashes from several grave sites and held them hostage. The robbers ripped open tombs at the Hongshan Cemetery in Xinyan City, according to the news website ifeng.com , where they spirited away ash-filled urns and left notes with phone numbers. A woman calling herself only "Mrs. Liu," came to visit the tomb of her husband to find his ashes missing. When she called one of the numbers written on the notes left...

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