Corey Flintoff

Corey Flintoff is NPR's international correspondent based in Moscow. His journalism career has taken him to more than 50 countries, most recently to cover the civil war in Libya, the revolution in Egypt and the war in Afghanistan.

After joining NPR in 1990, Flintoff worked for many years as a newscaster during All Things Considered. In 2005, he became part of the NPR team covering the Iraq War, where he embedded with U.S. military units fighting insurgents and hunting roadside bombs.

Flintoff's reporting from Iraq includes stories on sectarian killings, government corruption, the Christian refugee crisis and the destruction of Iraq's southern marshes. In 2010, he traveled to Haiti to report on the massive earthquake its aftermath. Two years before, he reported on his stint on a French warship chasing pirates off the coast of Somalia.

One of Flintoff's favorite side jobs at NPR is standing in for Carl Kasell during those rare times when the venerable scorekeeper takes a break from Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Before NPR, Flintoff served as the executive producer and host of Alaska News Nightly, a daily news magazine produced by the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage. His coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was recognized with the 1989 Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award.

In 1977, Flintoff got his start in public radio working at at KYUK-AM/TV, in Bethel, Alaska. KYUK is a bilingual English-Yup'ik Eskimo station and Flintoff learned just enough Yup'ik to announce the station identification. He wrote and produced a number of television documentaries about Alaskan life, including "They Never Asked Our Fathers" and "Eyes of the Spirit," which have aired on PBS and are now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

He tried his hand at commercial herring fishing, dog-mushing, fiction writing and other pursuits, but failed to break out of the radio business.

Flintoff has a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's degree from the University of Chicago, both in English literature. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Drexel University.

Pages

Europe
12:38 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Educated Russians Often Lured To Leave

Russia is suffering from an exodus of educated, talented citizens, including scientists. Here, scientists rally in Moscow to demand the government increase funding for science last October.
Kirill Kudryavtsev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 9:43 am

Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.

And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.

To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.

Read more
World
4:24 am
Sun September 2, 2012

In Russia, 200-Year-Old Battle A Day To Remember

Members of historical clubs, dressed as Russian cavalry, advance during the 2010 re-enactment of the 1812 battle between Napoleon's army and Russian troops in Borodino.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 11:08 am

Two hundred years ago this week, Napoleon Bonaparte fought a battle in Russia that may have begun his undoing. He led his Grand Army against the Imperial Russian Army near a village called Borodino, about 70 miles from Moscow.

It was the single bloodiest day of the Napoleonic Wars, and it's remembered by Russians as a symbol of national courage. An army of re-enactors relived that Sunday.

Read more
Europe
3:08 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Russian Rockers Get Prison Sentences

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 4:03 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Human rights groups are denouncing the sentence handed down today to members of the Russian feminist punk band, Pussy Riot. The group's crimes? It staged a protest in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox Cathedral last winter. A judge convicted the three women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced each of them to two years in a labor camp.

Read more
Europe
3:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Raid In Russia Brings Underground Sect To Light

Gumar Ganiyev opens the gates of the compound where members of the Islamic sect he belongs to have lived in seclusion since the early 2000s outside Kazan, capital of the Russian province of Tatarstan, earlier this month.
Nikolay Alexandrov AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 4:41 pm

The recent headlines in the Russian press were sensational: Members of a reclusive Islamic sect were said to be living in an isolated compound with underground burrows, some as deep as eight stories underground, without electricity or heat.

Reporters have descended on the compound, on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, but have had only limited access and have not been able to confirm all the allegations by Russian officials.

Read more
The Record
2:33 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Feminist Punk Band, Imprisoned For Five Months, Gets Next Gig: Russian Courtroom

Members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezha Tolokonnikova (left), Yekaterina Samutsevich (center) and Maria Alyokhina, at a hearing in Moscow court on Monday.
Andrey Smirnov Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:46 pm

After more than five months in prison, some Russian dissidents are getting their day in court. The three young women are accused of being members of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band that staged a protest against then presidential-candidate Vladimir Putin in February.

Read more
Middle East
4:25 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

Sanctions May Squeeze Iran ... And Raise Oil Prices

European countries have agreed to stop importing Iranian oil as of Sunday. This could make it harder for Iran to find markets for its crude. Iran has been filling up tankers off its coast, but analysts say it could run out of storage capacity. This photo shows oil tankers off Iran's coast in January.
Kamran Jebreili AP

The sanctions noose around Iran is set to tighten Sunday as the European Union imposes a total embargo on all purchases of Iranian oil.

The new sanctions are aimed at putting pressure on the Islamic Republic to make concessions on its nuclear program. Iran insists the program is limited to peaceful, civilian purposes, but many Western nations believe Iran has nuclear weapons ambitions.

The move against Iran comes at a time when oil prices have been dropping for the past couple of months.

Read more
Europe
1:23 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Months After Protest, Russian Rockers Still Jailed

Women in a Russian punk rock group briefly perform a protest song at Moscow's main cathedral, Christ the Savior, in February. The singers criticized the church and Vladimir Putin, who is now president. Three women have been arrested and jailed for months, and the church is demanding harsh punishment.
Sergey Ponomarev AP

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 8:45 pm

The Russian government is facing a growing chorus of criticism over its harsh treatment of three women from an all-female rock band who staged a "punk" prayer service last winter in Moscow's most prominent cathedral.

Back on Feb. 21, two weeks before Russia's presidential election, several members of the band Pussy Riot, wearing brightly colored balaclavas, rushed onto the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Read more
Dead Stop
12:55 am
Mon June 25, 2012

In Alaskan Cemetery, Native And Orthodox Rites Mix

A spirit house in the Eklutna Cemetery in Alaska.
Diana Derby

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 9:33 am

The first thing you see at Alaska's Eklutna Cemetery is a tidy white church, with copper-colored onion domes that are topped by the three-barred Russian Orthodox cross.

The church is a reminder of the days when Alaska was claimed by imperial Russia. But it hardly prepares you for the unique combination of Native American and Russian Orthodox influences in the graveyard beyond.

Our guide is Aaron Leggett, who waits patiently under a light but steady rain to explain his community's burial traditions.

Read more
Middle East
1:06 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Syria Creates Hand-Wringing, But No Intervention

A Syrian rebel fires his weapon during clashes with Syrian troops near Idlib, in northern Syria, on June 15. The conflict has gone on for well over a year, but the international community has shown no appetite for a military intervention.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 1:50 pm

The fighting in Syria has been escalating. The U.N. peace effort is in shambles. And there's no appetite right now for outside military intervention.

The Syrian crisis is prompting renewed calls for international action, and there have been plenty of dire warnings and lots of hand-wringing. But after a decade of fighting in the broader region, the United States and its Western allies have shown no interest in getting involved in another military adventure in a Muslim country.

Read more
World
3:03 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Struggling U.S. Economy Drags Down The World

Slow economic growth in the U.S. is having an impact on many countries around the world. Here, people walk past a board flashing the Nikkei index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Japan last month.
Toru Yamanaka AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 3:38 pm

The sputtering U.S. economy isn't just bad news for America, it's a drag on the global economic outlook as well.

"What matters to the rest of the world is the amount of demand the United States is going to generate," says economist Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell.

"Weak job growth translates to weak domestic demand in the U.S., and that concerns all of the U.S.'s major trading partners," he says.

Read more
Europe
5:42 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Is Now The Time To Vacation In Greece?

Greece depends heavily on tourism, but the economic crisis is driving away visitors like these ones photographing the Acropolis in Athens from the top of a tour bus last October.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 8:08 am

Despite all the chaos and misery of the Greek debt crisis, the country still has some major assets: It's a stunningly beautiful place, with sunny weather, great beaches, ancient marvels and modern amenities.

Greece has been attracting visitors for centuries — at least since Darius the Great led an unsuccessful Persian military package tour about 2,500 years ago.

That didn't work out so well for Darius, who was defeated at the Battle of Marathon.

Read more
National Security
1:30 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Why Do Terrorists So Often Go For Planes?

Despite the multiple layers of security at airports, terrorists still often target planes. But terrorism analysts say they are also concerned about soft targets. Here, a Transportation Security Administration agent looks at an identity card at the Portland International Airport earlier this month.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 2:22 pm

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, airports have probably been the most heavily guarded sites when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks.

And yet the most recent terrorism plot in Yemen involved an attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner with a bomber wearing a difficult-to-detect explosive bomb in his underwear, according to U.S. officials.

Read more
National Security
2:50 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Bomb Plot: Secrets Didn't Stay Secret For Long

Information about CIA operations often leaks quickly, and analysts say this can complicate future efforts.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:13 pm

Once upon a time, CIA operations were secret.

But as the latest bomb plot in Yemen shows, little stays hidden for long these days.

In the post-Sept. 11 world, even the most sensitive intelligence operations quickly become daily fodder as the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet and media-friendly politicians give the story momentum. And it's often senior government officials and the intelligence community who spread the juiciest details.

Read more
Energy
9:52 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Falling Oil Prices: A Blip Or A Hint Of The Future?

Oil and gas production in the U.S. is rising, and the U.S. is expected to be less dependent on foreign energy in the coming years. This oil drilling rig, shown in October 2011, is outside Watford City, N.D., a state that has seen a boom in energy production.
Matthew Staver Landov

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 1:42 pm

World oil prices have been falling recently — and that's good news for oil consumers such as the U.S., Europe and China, and a potential challenge for the big exporters like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The oil market is notoriously volatile, and the factors driving prices down are temporary. But some energy industry analysts are posing a much larger question: Is the world, and the U.S. in particular, entering a new phase of expanding energy supplies and more moderate prices?

Read more
Asia
3:04 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

The Current U.S.-China Stanoff Has A Precedent

The current case of a prominent Chinese activist seeking U.S. protection has echoes of a similar episode in 1989. Then, physicist Fang Lizhi took refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He spent a year there before the U.S. and China reached a deal allowing him to move to the U.S. He died this month in Arizona, at age 76.
John B. Carnett Popular Science via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 3:58 pm

As the U.S. and China seek a solution to the case involving a prominent Chinese activist, it's worth remembering this isn't the first time the two countries have waged this kind of negotiation.

Chen Guangcheng, an activist who's been blind since he was a small boy, escaped house arrest in an eastern Chinese village and was taken to Beijing, where he's believed to be under U.S. protection.

A similar, high-profile case took place in 1989, when astrophysicist Fang Lizhi and his wife took refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Read more
Africa
11:07 am
Tue April 24, 2012

The Two Sudans Appear On The Verge Of War

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visits the southern town of El-Obeid on April 19 amid rising tensions with South Sudan. The countries have been skirmishing, and there are fears of a full-scale war. Bashir says South Sudan's leaders only understand "the language of the gun."
Ebrahim Hamid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 11:16 am

Sudan and South Sudan are careering closer to a full-scale war, with fighting along their ill-defined border and belligerent rhetoric coming from both sides.

The conflict threatens to cripple the fragile economies in both nations, and it could create new burdens on neighboring countries in east and central Africa, a region prone to humanitarian disaster.

In the latest developments, South Sudanese officials say that Sudan's air force bombed its territory for a second straight day on Tuesday.

Read more
Middle East
10:46 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Despite Protests, Bahrain Hosts Grand Prix Race

The Formula One Grand Prix Race set for Sunday in Bahrain has drawn attention to the island nation that was rocked by protests last year. Demonstrators are being kept away from the racing circuit. Driver Nico Rosberg of the Mercedes team is shown here during a practice session Friday.
Karim Jaafar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 12:50 pm

A year after an uprising threatened Bahrain's monarchy, the royal family is hosting a Formula One Grand Prix race this Sunday as it attempts to show life has returned to normal.

But racing fans will have to make their way through ranks of police and soldiers who are part of a heavy security presence. And riot police have been using tear gas, stun grenades and birdshot to hold back demonstrations around the capital city, Manama.

Read more
Latin America
3:13 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Ignoring Critics, Argentina To Nationalize Oil Firm

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez holds a petroleum sample as she announces plans for her government to nationalize a giant oil company that is largely owned by a private Spanish company, Repsol. Behind her is an image of the country's former first lady, Eva Peron.
Daniel Garcia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:39 am

It's sounds like a story from the past: A Latin American leader announces plans to nationalize a large foreign company, touching off a high-stakes battle that involves money, politics and diplomacy.

Yet it's happening right now. Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez said this week that her country plans to take over a giant Spanish oil company at a time when the economies in both countries are facing challenges.

Spanish officials are threatening to retaliate against Argentina for seizing a majority of shares in the biggest oil company in Argentina, YPF.

Read more
U.S.
8:24 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Where Does America Get Oil? You May Be Surprised

The U.S. now imports far more oil from Canada than from any other country. Persian Gulf imports now account for less than 15 percent of the oil consumed in the U.S. This photo shows the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, in 2009.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1960s and 70s, it's been conventional wisdom to talk about American dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. But the global oil market has changed dramatically since then.

Today, the U.S. actually gets most of its imported oil from Canada and Latin America.

And many Americans might be surprised to learn that the U.S. now imports roughly the same amount of oil from Africa as it does from the Persian Gulf. African imports were a bit higher in 2010, while Persian Gulf oil accounted for a bit more last year.

Read more
Africa
10:26 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Mali's Rebellion Stirs Fear Of Wider Saharan Conflict

Tuareg rebels eat a meal last month near the Malian city of Timbuktu, which they recently captured. The rebels have taken control of northern Mali, raising concerns about stability in the broader region.
Ferhat Bouda DPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 11:26 am

Rebels from the Tuareg ethnic group now control most of northern Mali, a territory as big as France on the edge of the Sahara desert.

A column of trucks loaded with Tuareg fighters rolled into the ancient desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, taking over the positions abandoned by fleeing government soldiers.

They include an Islamist faction that wants to impose Shariah law throughout Mali and are believed to include elements with links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
10:55 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Like The U.S., Europe Wrestles With Health Care

A patient is treated at the Nord Hospital in Marseille, France, in February. European countries have also been engaged in intense debates on the future of their health care systems, where universal coverage is the norm.
Anne-Chrisine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 1:57 pm

The U.S. has been absorbed by the Supreme Court case this week on the future of health care. But Americans are not alone.

Several European nations, where universal health care has been the norm for decades, have been waging their own intense debates as they also deal with aging populations and rising costs.

Britain passed a new health care measure earlier this month, after more than a year of rancorous debate. Can the European experience cast some light on the American debate over health care?

Read more
Africa
11:09 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Mali's Coup A Setback For A Young African Democracy

The leader of the junta that seized power in Mali, Army Capt. Amadou Sanogo, announces a curfew in the capital, Bamako, on Thursday, in this photo taken from television.The coup ousted an elected president who was due to step down after a new election next month in the West African nation.
Issouf Sanogo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 12:50 pm

The scene in Mali's capital, Bamako, shows what used to be a familiar sight: an African capital in chaos, with drunken soldiers firing into the air and looting government buildings in the wake of a coup.

Military coups were dishearteningly common for people in Africa and Latin America during the 1960s and '70s, as governments fell to opportunistic military men.

But that trend had been slowing in the past two decades, as more and more governments began to hold regular elections.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Sifting Through What We Know About The French Shootings Suspect

Police officers stand near the apartment building where a suspect in the shooting at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school is barricaded in Toulouse, southern France on Wednesday.
Bob Edme AP

The standoff between a murder suspect and French police in Toulouse, France, has stirred up a swirl of speculation about the man's background and motives, but so far there are relatively few confirmed facts.

French officials say the suspect is a 23- or 24-year-old Frenchman of Algerian decent by the name of Mohammed Merah, who had a long record as a juvenile delinquent.

He's suspected in the killings this month of three French paratroopers of North African descent, as well as a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren.

Read more
National Security
8:48 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Accused Sergeant Heads Down A Long Legal Road

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, will have the case heard in the military justice system, which has significant differences from the civilian courts. Here, Bales is shown in a training exercise in Fort Irwin, Calif., last August.
Spc. Ryan Hallock AP

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 9:50 am

The military justice system has been crafted to work efficiently, but Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales can expect a lengthy legal process as he faces accusations that he killed 16 men, women and children in Afghanistan

Bales is locked up in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as he and his lawyer prepare for a case that involves a horrendous mass murder. In addition, it's a stress point that could trigger retaliation against American troops and even affect the course of a U.S. war that's more than a decade old.

Read more
Middle East
11:39 am
Mon March 19, 2012

New Sanction Severely Limits Iran's Global Commerce

Iran has been denied access to the worldwide messaging system used to arrange money transfers, a move that is expected to affect Iran's oil exports and economy. The South Pars gas field in Assalouyeh, Iran, is shown here in 2010.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 1:16 pm

Iran has faced international sanctions for more than three decades, which have hurt, but never crippled its economy.

Now, a new move by a relatively obscure financial institution in Europe could make it much more difficult for Iran to do basic things crucial to its economy, such as selling oil and obtaining hard currency.

As of Saturday, many Iranian banks, including the Central Bank, have been refused access to a worldwide financial messaging system that's used to arrange transfers of money.

Read more
Europe
1:57 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

For Russia's Troubled Space Program, Mishaps Mount

Russia's unmanned Progress space freighter, headed for the International Space Station, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Oct. 30, 2011. A string of mission failures has raised concerns over the reliability of Russia's space program.
STR Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 7:56 pm

Russia was once the world leader in space exploration, but its space program has suffered a string of costly and embarrassing mishaps over the past year.

NASA says Russia is still a trustworthy partner, but critics say the once-proud program is corrupt and mismanaged — good at producing excuses, but not results.

The Memorial Space Museum in Moscow showcases the achievements of the Soviet Union's space program.

Read more
Europe
10:01 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Remaking Russia's Military: Big Plans, Few Results

Russian tanks drive through Moscow's Red Square during a military parade in May 2011, in commemoration of the end of World War II. Russian leader Vladimir Putin has called for revamping Russia's military for years, but the results have been limited.
Dmitry Kostyukov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 3:23 am

Every May, Russia displays its military might in a parade on Victory Day, commemorating the surrender of the Nazis to the Soviet Union in World War II.

The marching men and rolling tanks put on an impressive show, but Russia's military, and especially its defense industry, has fallen on hard times.

"The industry, much like other parts of the economy, hasn't seen proper investment for over a decade, if not more," says Lilit Gevorgyan, a Russia analyst for the defense industry consultant IHS Jane's.

Read more
Europe
2:03 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

After Fraud Charges, Russian Election Under Scrutiny

There were widespread allegations of fraud in Russia's parliamentary polls in December. In advance of Russia's presidential election Sunday, Russian citizens abroad have been allowed to vote early. This woman casts a ballot in Kyrgyzstan on Feb. 26.
Vyacheslav Oseledko AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 4:01 pm

Just three months ago, Russia's parliamentary elections prompted widespread allegations of fraud and drove thousands of protesters into the streets in the days afterward.

The Russian government and government critics both say they are trying to prevent a similar outcome in Sunday's presidential poll.

Valdimir Putin, who has been either the president or the prime minister for the past 12 years, is widely expected to win another six-year term as president. But the credibility of Russian elections is also at stake.

Read more
Europe
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Putin Heavily Favored As Russians Pick A President

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a campaign speech during a rally of his supporters in Moscow, Feb. 23. Putin is mounting a vigorous campaign in the face of growing opposition but is expected to win Sunday's presidential elections.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:12 am

When Russians go to the polls Sunday, they will have several choices for president. But none is a serious threat to Vladimir Putin, who has been the most powerful figure in Russia for the past 12 years.

Boris Makarenko, a longtime observer of Russian politics, says the candidates arrayed against Putin are all more or less part of what Kremlin leaders call "the systemic opposition."

In other words, he says, they are "the tolerable opposition ... which can never even hope of replacing them in the Kremlin."

Read more

Pages