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.

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Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

Emmanuel Macron, a centrist politician who's never held elective office, and Marine Le Pen, the far-right firebrand who wants to take France out of the European Union, are expected to advance to next month's runoff for the presidency of the country, according to official results.

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In the electoral battle over populism in Western democracies, the score is tied 2-2.

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Today the United Kingdom formally told the European Union it is leaving, after decades of membership in the 28-nation political alliance and trading bloc. The move triggers an estimated two-year divorce process that will involve many months of tough negotiations and will launch Britain on a new, uncertain path.

Addressing the House of Commons in London, Prime Minister Theresa May said Brexit is an opportunity for her country to chart a new course, unencumbered by the bureaucracy of the multilateral organization based in Brussels.

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These are divisive times in the United Kingdom. Today, the Scottish Parliament voted to seek an independence referendum that could split the country apart. Tomorrow, the U.K. triggers Brexit, the process for breaking away from the European Union.

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After the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's U.S. victory last year, political analysts wonder if populism will gain ground on the European continent amid the impact of a migration crisis and dissatisfaction with the European Union. With elections approaching in France, Germany and the Netherlands, the question has gained urgency.

Today is Pancake Day in the United Kingdom, or Shrove Tuesday, as it's known on the Christian calendar. It's a time for indulging before the beginning of Lent and, in Britain, racing around with a frying pan, flipping pancakes.

London Bridge isn't falling down, but Britain's Parliament building — which sits along the River Thames and includes Big Ben — needs a ton of work. U.K. lawmakers are now analyzing a massive rehab plan that will cost billions of dollars and could force legislators to work somewhere else for years.

As thousands protested outside the U.K. Parliament on Monday, members inside debated whether President Trump should receive the honor of meeting the queen on a state visit later this year. State visits by U.S. presidents are rare in Britain; Labour Party lawmaker Paul Flynn noted that only two — Barack Obama and George W. Bush — have made them.

The parliamentary debate was triggered by a petition opposing the state visit, signed by more than 1.8 million people. Another petition supporting a state visit garnered just over 300,000 signatures.

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Like millions of Americans, I watched the new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, as he tried to convince reporters and viewers last weekend that President Trump's inauguration was the most watched ever — "both in person and around the globe, period!"

Spicer made his case even though photos of the National Mall show that attendance was much smaller than at Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009, which – incidentally – I covered.

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Among the guests at Friday's inauguration will be one of Donald Trump's political kindred spirits, a fellow populist who railed against immigration and helped drive an electoral upset that stunned the world.

British politician Nigel Farage was a crucial force behind last June's Brexit referendum. Trump became so fond of him, the president-elect suggested the British government appoint Farage to be the U.K.'s ambassador to Washington — advice Prime Minister Theresa May ignored.

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The United Kingdom is headed for a clean split from the European Union. That was the message in London today as British Prime Minister Theresa May began to spell out just what Brexit will look like.

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Voters in the English city of Sunderland did something extraordinary last June. They voted by 61.3 percent to leave the European Union, even though it put tens of thousands of local jobs at risk.

Why would so many people vote against the economic interests of their hometown?

The answer lies in factors that also figured in the American presidential race: opposition to immigration and a perceived threat to white identity.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Imran Akhtar set up a folding table loaded with drug paraphernalia outside the Birmingham Central Mosque in the English Midlands. Akhtar's wares included a pair of syringes and a baggie containing a brown substance that looked like heroin.

Some 30 feet away, people were showing off more conventional fare, including perfume, hijab and prayer rugs. As worshippers poured out following prayers, Akhtar, a bearded father of three, made his pitch.

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Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

In a break with diplomatic protocol, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has recommended that pro-Brexit politician Nigel Farage become the United Kingdom's ambassador in Washington, D.C.

In a tweet Monday night, Trump said: "Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!"

On Monday in North Carolina, Donald Trump promised to pull off a "Brexit, Plus, Plus, Plus." He was referring to the surprise vote in June by people in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

Given the polls at the time in the U.S., pollsters in London saw that boast as a stretch — but early Wednesday morning, Trump delivered on that pledge.

Speaking in North Carolina on the final day of the presidential campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump urged voters to go to the polls and deliver an Election Day upset.

"It's going to be Brexit plus, plus, plus," he said Monday, referring to the surprise victory in last June's referendum in which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

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Angela Gui is sitting on the floor of her living room, stuffing clothes into a suitcase. Amid her master's degree studies and a part-time job helping one of her professors at the University of Warwick in the English Midlands, the history student has carved out a few days to spend in Geneva for human rights training.

"I think that's going to be really useful, because this is something I've been thrown into without any prior experience," says Gui, a soft-spoken 22-year-old who grew up in Sweden.

Daniel Brewer arrived in London on Sunday morning wearing a Jacksonville Jaguars onesie and face paint, complete with black whiskers, brown spots and a blue nose. He had come with fellow fans from the English city of Reading to cheer on the Jags as they took on the Indianapolis Colts beneath sunny skies at Wembley Stadium.

"None of us naturally are Jags fans," Brewer confided. "We all have our own roots, but because they signed a contract, they've got our hearts."

Light streams in through the bay window of Mike Nelson's home in London's Chelsea neighborhood as he pitches it like a polished salesman.

"It's a fantastic, six-bedroom house" says Nelson of his row home, which sits on a quiet street, lined with Japanese cherry trees in a section of town between Kensington Palace and the Thames. "It's got 3,100 square feet. It's over five stories and has a very nice, western-facing back garden and a roof terrace at the top."

There's even a gray, marble fireplace in the master bathroom, which served as a reception room in an earlier era.

Light streams in through the bay window of Mike Nelson's home in London's Chelsea neighborhood as he pitches it like a polished salesman.

"It's a fantastic, six-bedroom house" says Nelson of his row home, which sits on a quiet street, lined with Japanese cherry trees in a section of town between Kensington Palace and the Thames. "It's got 3,100 square feet. It's over five stories and has a very nice, western-facing back garden and a roof terrace at the top."

There's even a gray, marble fireplace in the master bathroom, which served as a reception room in an earlier era.

The British pub is as much a part of the fabric of the United Kingdom as fish and chips and the queen, but each year hundreds close their doors for good. The reasons include the high price of beer, more people drinking at home and rising land prices.

Now — in an apparent first — the London borough of Wandsworth has designated 120 pubs for protection, requiring owners who want to transform them into apartments or supermarkets to get local government approval first.

The United Kingdom's planned split from the European Union is expected to take years, but it's already creating uncertainty for multinational companies operating in the U.K., including many American firms. Brexit also poses challenges to the U.S. government, as Washington ponders a future in which a key ally has less influence in Europe and likely becomes less relevant on the global stage.

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