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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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden, but he could find a Biden White House considerably chillier than that of his fellow populist, President Trump.

Johnson said he looked forward to working with Biden on shared priorities, including climate change, trade and security, while noting that the U.S. is Britain's most important ally.

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To Europe now, where some people are disappointed by the knife-edge election results and alarmed by President Trump's false claims of victory and fraud. In a moment, we'll hear from NPR's Rob Schmitz in Berlin. But let's start with Frank Langfitt in London.

With Joe Biden ahead in the polls, many in Europe are wondering what U.S. foreign policy might look like if the former vice president wins the White House.

If President Trump is defeated in Tuesday's election, one loser in the region could be British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump's closest ally in Europe. While Trump has often denigrated other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, he's chummy with Johnson, who, like Trump, is seen as a populist showman.

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England will enter a second coronavirus lockdown beginning on Thursday that is scheduled to run until early December, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday.

All pubs and restaurants will close along with nonessential retail shops, and different households will be banned from mixing indoors. In addition, outbound international travel will be prohibited, except for work, while schools and universities will remain open.

Wales is heading into a 17-day lockdown on Friday evening, as many parts of Europe reimpose safety measures because of rising coronavirus case counts.

The "firebreak lockdown" went into effect at 6 p.m. local time and requires that people remain home with few exceptions.

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It's a hard time to be a musician because of the pandemic. Now the U.K. has been cutting support to freelancers, a term that takes in a lot of musicians, who have protested as only they can. NPR's Frank Langfitt was there.

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How did a police killing in Minneapolis lead people thousands of miles away in England to pull down the statue of a 17th century slave trader?

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST AMBIENCE)

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After a quiet summer where life largely returned to normal, England now faces new restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning that pubs, bars and restaurants in England must close at 10 p.m. He also encouraged people who are able to work from home to do so, reversing a previous government position.

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Today, Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the U.K., announced new pandemic restrictions to help get the coronavirus under control.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Tomorrow night, people will sing this patriotic anthem, as they have for years, at the final evening of the Proms, a classical music festival in London.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RULE, BRITANNIA!")

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We travel next to England, where millions of students try to return to classrooms this week, months after the pandemic shut schools down. Shifting messages from the British government has left many confused. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV told embassy staff in 2018 that his friend, President Trump, asked him to help get the British Open golf tournament held at one of the Trump family's golf resorts in Scotland.

U.S. Embassy staff have separately complained that Johnson made racist and sexist comments on the job.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in London today. And top of the agenda is China. He's meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. NPR's London correspondent Frank Langfitt is covering it. Hi, Frank.

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