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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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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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SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

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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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

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.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

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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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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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NOEL KING, HOST:

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?

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