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.

CARBIS BAY, England — Security is tight in the English county of Cornwall as President Biden and other leaders of the Group of Seven – seven of the world's wealthiest countries — prepare to meet for a weekend summit beginning Friday.

But if you want to catch a firsthand glimpse of Biden, Germany's Angela Merkel or the other powerful politicians, your best bet may be a two-story sculpture that replicates their likenesses using electronic waste in the hills overlooking the resort where they are meeting.

LONDON — For the first time in nearly two years, the leaders of seven of the world's wealthiest democracies will meet to try to tackle some of the biggest global problems, including the post-pandemic recovery, climate change and the challenge of China. The three-day meeting of the Group of Seven, hosted by the United Kingdom, will open on Friday in Carbis Bay, a seaside resort in Cornwall in southwest England.

Updated June 10, 2021 at 1:01 PM ET

In their first face-to-face meeting, President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed a 21st century version of the historic Atlantic Charter, an attempt to depict their countries as the chief global leaders taking on the world's biggest challenges.

The two leaders pledged to work "closely with all partners who share our democratic values" and to counter "the efforts of those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions."

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LONDON — England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Monday recorded no new COVID-19 deaths – a milestone that health experts said represents an encouraging sign, but caution could be temporary.

Meanwhile, Wales recorded just four coronavirus-related deaths. Even so, it's a sharp contrast to a January peak across the U.K., when about 1,800 deaths were recorded in a single day.

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The United Kingdom is America's closest ally. The countries have fought wars together and helped build the liberal international order. But now America's old friend is at increasing risk of breaking apart.

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Editor's note: The fight against disinformation has become a facet of nearly every story NPR international correspondents cover, from vaccine hesitancy to authoritarian governments spreading lies. This and other stories by NPR correspondents around the globe try to tease out how effective certain tactics have been at combating disinformation, and what lessons can be learned from other countries' experiences.

American tourists who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit the European Union this summer, according to officials in Brussels.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said she expects all 27 EU member states will accept travelers who've received COVID-19 vaccines that the European Medicines Agency has approved. That would include the three vaccines that have been authorized for use in the United States — Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech.

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LONDON — A U.K. government report on racism commissioned in the wake of last year's Black Lives Matter protests has drawn sharp criticism from racial equality advocates, who have called it "deeply cynical" and "a truly historic denial of the scale of race inequality in Britain."

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Finally today, so you might not be surprised that a record titled "Preacher's Kid" by a musician whose father was a pastor would take the top spot on the iTunes Christian album chart. That happened last month with the new album by Grace Semler Baldrige, who performs as Semler. But the lyrics on that album tell a different story than the one you might be expecting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JESUS FROM TEXAS")

SEMLER: (Singing) My mom turned 18 in the 1960s, and she doesn't remember Stonewall.

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Demand for travel in Britain continues to grow despite the pandemic. Vacation bookings are up even as the government tightens travel restrictions. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London.

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The owner of Dr. Martens, the famed British footwear brand, is planning an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, according to a filing on Monday.

Private equity owner Permira is expected to sell at least 25% of the business. The brand, which evolved into a symbol of rebellious youth culture, has continued to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Martens sells more than 11 million pairs a year in more than 60 countries.

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The model train company Hornby has seen a big increase of sales because families are spending more time at home. Prior to the pandemic, it was described as a "company in chaos."

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The pandemic has damaged countless businesses, but in the U.K...

The details of the long-awaited Brexit deal between Great Britain and the European Union are coming into focus.

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It had all the makings of a terrible divorce that was settled amicably at the last minute.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

With the clock ticking down, the United Kingdom and the European Union finally agreed to a free trade deal a week before the Brexit transition period ends and 4 1/2 years since Britons voted in a landmark referendum to leave the EU.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the agreement as a way for the country's businesses to continue to have tariff-free and quota-free access to the massive EU market while delivering on the promise of the 2016 Brexit campaign.

A tighter lockdown in the UK, strictly limiting the movement of millions during the holidays amid worries of a possible new variant of the coronavirus. Infections are climbing dramatically.

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Four and a half years after the landmark Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom is still arguing with the European Union about their future relationship.

Britain officially left the EU in January and has spent the last 11 months in a transitional phase while the two sides try to negotiate a new free trade agreement to avert major disruptions at borders and more economic damage.

The transition ends at midnight Brussels time on Dec. 31.

Here are some of the top issues still to be settled:

What is the latest?

At the Scottish National Party's recent annual conference, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's first minister, said she had "never been so certain" that Scotland would become an independent nation.

"Who do we want to be in the driving seat of shaping Scotland's future?" she asked. "The Scottish government has not got everything right, far from it. But I doubt there are many people in Scotland who would have wanted Westminster to be more in charge of our pandemic response."

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This is a notable day in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This morning, the U.K. government started giving people the new COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.

NPR London correspondent Frank Langfitt is on the line. What's happening there, Frank?

The United Kingdom gave emergency approval this week to a COVID-19 vaccine and plans to begin rolling it out next week. Though Russia had previously approved a vaccine, the U.K. is the first country where regulators approved a vaccine that is backed by transparent science. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will consider granting its regulatory approval next week.

Pfizer and BioNTech (a German company), which developed the vaccine, say it is 95% effective based on the latest clinical trial involving 43,000 subjects.

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President-elect Joe Biden has chosen a national security team that backs traditional U.S. alliances, which has been met with relief in much of Europe after nearly four years of hostility from President Trump.

Take Antony Blinken, Biden's nominee for secretary of state. He spent part of his childhood in Paris, speaks impeccable French and is an avowed supporter of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

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