NPR: Eric Westervelt

NPR foreign correspondent Eric Westervelt recently wrapped up a multi-year assignment in the Middle East covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He took up his new position as a Berlin-based European Correspondent for NPR in May 2009.

Westervelt has reported on conflicts and their repercussions across the Middle East region for NPR, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the second Lebanon war between Hezbollah and Israel, and the on going Palestinian-Israel conflict, including fighting in the Gaza Strip ranging from internal Palestinian violence to multiple Israeli offensives in the territory. He reported in-depth on issues across the occupied West Bank and Israel. He has also reported from the Horn of Africa, Yemen and the Persian Gulf region.

Westervelt reported on the war in Iraq from the initial US-led ground invasion in 2003, traveling with the lead unit of the Army's Third Infantry Division. He later helped cover the insurgency; sectarian violence; and the on-going struggle rebuild the country in the post Saddam Hussein-era.

Westervelt's coverage at home and abroad has helped NPR win broadcast journalism's highest honors, including contributions to a 2002 George Foster Peabody Award to NPR for coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the US and its aftermath; a 2003 Alfred I. DuPont - Columbia University award for NPR's coverage of 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan; as well as duPont-Columbia University top honors again in 2004 and again in 2007 for NPR's coverage of the war in Iraq and affect on Iraqi society, among other awards.

Westervelt's reports are heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and NPR's hourly newscasts, and appear online at npr.org

Prior to his Middle East assignment, Westervelt covered military affairs for NPR News reporting on a wide range of defense, national security and foreign policy issues. Before that Westervelt reported for NPR's National Desk, covering some of the biggest stories in recently memory, including the shootings at Columbine High School, the explosion of TWA flight 800 and the Florida presidential recount. For the National Desk Westervelt also reported on national trends in law enforcement and crime fighting, including police tactics, use of force, the drug war, racial profiling and the legal and political battles over firearms in America. Westervelt's work on the National Desk also contributed to another Peabody Award for an NPR series on the most influential American musical works of the 20th Century.

Before joining NPR, Westervelt worked as a reporter in Oregon and a news director and reporter in New Hampshire and reported for Monitor Radio, the broadcast edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

Westervelt is a graduate of the Putney School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He and his wife Lisa currently live in Germany.

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7:20am

Fri June 22, 2012
Europe

Germany, Greece Face Off On Soccer Field

The eurozone will take a short break from its financial crisis to enjoy a sporting event. The soccer teams of Germany and Greece meet Friday in the quarter finals of the Euro 2012 championship in Gdansk, Poland. Germany's coach doesn't think political tensions will have an impact on the field.

5:18pm

Tue June 19, 2012
Europe

Germany Resists Concessions To Greek Bailout Terms

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 8:18 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with members of her delegation before the first plenary session of the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday.
Yuri Cortez Getty Images

The party that won Greece's parliamentary elections on Sunday has accepted the tough conditions international lenders imposed to bail out the ailing nation. But there's been talk that the party wants to seek some concessions on the terms of the rescue package.

At the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her tough line that bailout terms for Greece are not negotiable. After the summit, Merkel returns to a German electorate that is now fed up with a debt crisis that only seems to grow and worsen.

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2:55am

Wed June 6, 2012
Europe

A Party On The Rise, Germany's Pirates Come Ashore

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:07 pm

A member of the German Pirate Party, with its logo shaved in his hair, attends the party's two-day conference in Neumuenster, Germany, on April 28.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

They don't have a plan to save the euro or draw down the war in Afghanistan, nor do they have clear policies on an array of issues, but the German Pirate Party is winning converts and elections with its vision of digital democracy through "liquid feedback."

Despite public relations mishaps and a haphazard organizational structure, the Pirate Party is shaking up the stolid, bureaucratic world of German politics and jolting rival parties with its rising popularity.

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2:51am

Thu May 31, 2012
Europe

Stumbling Upon Miniature Memorials To Nazi Victims

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 8:59 am

Brass bricks known as Stolperstein, or "stumbling stones," in front of a home in Raesfeld, Germany, where five members of a single family were forcibly removed by the Nazis. Across Germany, the stones commemorate the millions of victims of the Nazi regime.
Jeffrey Katz NPR

Brick by brick, Guenther Demnig is working to change how the Holocaust is publicly remembered in Germany.

On a recent afternoon, the 62-year-old Berlin-born artist is on his knees on a sidewalk in a prosperous section of Berlin's Charlottenburg district, working a hammer and small trowel. He is installing dozens of small, square brass bricks, each one inscribed with the name — and details about the death of — people who once lived in apartment houses on Pestalozzi Strasse.

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4:43pm

Tue May 15, 2012
Europe

For New French President, Germany Is First Stop

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 5:46 pm

Francois Hollande stands up in his car Tuesday as he rides up the Champs-Elysees after taking the oath of office as the new president of France. Shortly afterward, he flew to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss the continent's economic woes.
Regis Duvignau AP

As soon as new French President Francois Hollande was sworn in on Tuesday, he observed a postwar custom and reached out to Germany, in a move intended to underscore European solidarity and the importance of the alliance.

But it wasn't a relaxing social visit. Hollande's plane was struck by lightning en route to Berlin and had to return to Paris as a precaution. He then took another plane.

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4:15pm

Mon May 14, 2012
Europe

Europe's Austerity Plans Face Growing Backlash

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 11:45 pm

Spanish protesters gathered in Madrid on Saturday as the country's economic problems continued to worsen. The country's banking system is seen as particularly vulnerable.
Pedro Armestre AFP/Getty Images

A political crisis in Greece and economic woes in Spain are again raising concern about the future of the eurozone.

In Athens today, Greek politicians tried again and failed to form a coalition government, though talks are ongoing. There is growing fear that Greece will not be able to remain in the currency union and avoid defaulting on its debts.

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4:00am

Mon April 16, 2012
Europe

Confessed Killer Of 77 Goes On Trial In Norway

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 7:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the man who has confessed to carrying out Norway's worst peacetime atrocity goes on trial today. Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, raised his fist in a Nazi-style salute after bailiffs removed his handcuffs in the courtroom. Breivik has told authorities he acted to protect Norway from Muslims. The rampage in Oslo and at a youth camp left 77 people dead and dozens injured. NPR's Eric Westervelt is in Oslo and reports that the central issue for judges will be Breivik's mental health.

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6:02am

Sun April 15, 2012
Europe

Norway 'Still Shattered' As Extremist Goes On Trial

Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who confessed to killing 77 people on July 22, 2011, will go to trial in Oslo, Norway, on Monday.
Lise Aserud AP

Norwegians will be confronted again this week with the terrible details and trauma of the worst peacetime attack in the country's history.

Police say last July 22, Anders Behring Breivik set off a car bomb in the center of Oslo near government offices. The blast killed eight people and spun residents and police into a state of chaotic alarm and confusion.

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3:20pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Europe

Homelessness Becomes A Crime In Hungary

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 10:25 pm

Two homeless men lie on mattresses in central Budapest in 2010. Hundreds of people live on the streets in the Hungarian capital; many refuse to stay in night shelters for fear of having their goods stolen.
Karoly Arvai Reuters/Landov

Hungary's new anti-vagrancy laws — the toughest in Europe — now mean that homeless people sleeping on the street can face police fines or even the possibility of jail time.

Advocacy and human-rights groups are alarmed by the new efforts to crack down on and effectively criminalize homelessness, where the ranks of the needy have increased during the country's dire financial crisis.

Debt, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. The country's bonds have been downgraded to "junk" status, and the nation's currency, the forint, has dropped sharply against the euro.

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3:06am

Wed April 4, 2012
Europe

The Secret To Germany's Low Youth Unemployment

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 2:47 pm

Metal-working apprentices train in Leipzig, Germany, in 2010. Germany has Europe's lowest youth unemployment rate, thanks in part to its ancient apprentice system, which trains about 1.5 million people each year.
Waltraud Grubitzsch DPA/Landov

For as long as he can remember, German teenager Robin Dittmar has been obsessed with airplanes. As a little boy, the sound of a plane overhead would send him into the backyard to peer into the sky. Toys had to have wings. Even today, Dittmar sees his car as a kind of ersatz Boeing.

"I've got the number 747 as the number plate of my car. I'm really in love with this airplane," the 18-year-old says.

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4:00am

Tue February 21, 2012

8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Wary Of Another Greek Bailout, EU Procrastinates

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Greek economy continues to suffer. It's been another painful week for that country starting Sunday when thousands of people demonstrated outside of parliament, and rioters torched buildings in Athens. Greek lawmakers passed harsh new austerity measures despite those protests, and still, Greece's European partners refused to approve the new bailout that the Greeks need to avoid default. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports what EU finance ministers will be considering when they meet again on Monday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Greek spoken)

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5:55pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Europe

Europe Wants Assurances For Latest Greek Bailout

In Athens on Tuesday, Greek pensioners marched in protest against new austerity cuts. The eurozone insists Greece must stick to hugely unpopular austerity measures agreed to in return for a 130 billion euro debt bailout.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

The European Union says Greece has made some progress, but not enough, to merit the new bailout it desperately needs to avoid default and keep the euro as its currency.

Greeks are increasingly bitter about the austerity measures the EU is imposing on them. And Greece's EU partners are losing trust that the Greeks will implement them.

Now, talk is growing about contingency planning if Greece fails to meet the bailout conditions and defaults.

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8:00am

Sun January 22, 2012
Europe

EU Reacts To Hungary's Media Crackdown

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 9:24 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to Hungary, where the only independent radio news station in the country may soon go silent. Klubradio lost its license in what its owners charge was a government move to muzzle critics. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports from Budapest.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO TALK SHOW)

GEORGE BOLGAR: (Foreign language spoken)

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12:01am

Wed January 18, 2012
Europe

Hungary Faces EU Action Over New Constitution

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 11:03 am

People gather to protest against Hungary's new constitution outside the Opera House in Budapest on Jan. 2. Critics say the document curbs democracy.
Ferenenc Isza AFP/Getty Images

Veteran Hungarian broadcaster Gyorgy Bolgar, who hosts a popular daily news/talk call-in show on Klubradio, gets a daily earful from ordinary Hungarians upset with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Many here fear that Orban, a dissident during the communist era, and his conservative Fidesz party are pushing the country backward.

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1:26am

Thu December 22, 2011
Music

A Church, An Oratorio And An Enduring Tradition

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:17 am

The interior of the renowned Marienkirche church, where Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio is traditionally performed.
General Photographic Agency Getty Images

Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio was first performed in Leipzig on Christmas Day in 1734. In Germany, no matter what the economic and political times, it's the Christmas work. In the oldest functioning church in Berlin, the 13th-century Saint Mary's, performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio is a fixed tradition.

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3:55pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Europe

Europe Gets Austerity, But With Few Signs Of Growth

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 8:20 pm

A French man holds a flare during a protest against the government's austerity measures on Tuesday in Lille, northern France. European governments are proposing austerity measures, but critics say there should also be a plan for economic growth.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

The plan European leaders agreed on last week to save the euro doesn't seem to have reassured the markets.

Two ratings agencies said the plan worked out in Brussels, which calls for greater fiscal integration, failed to address the immediate crisis of rising debts and the crushing costs of borrowing.

And some economists worry that the EU leaders are wrong to put so much emphasis on austerity without any real plans to stimulate economic growth.

For example, Portugal's growth rate last year was anemic, and the economies of Greece and Ireland shrank.

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2:25am

Thu December 8, 2011
Europe

Can Angela Merkel Save Europe?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe's economic turmoil is the continent's greatest crisis since World War II. But critics say she has been doing too little and lacks a bold vision for solving Europe's problems.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's approach to the debt crisis currently roiling Europe has been calm, logical, methodical and — according to detractors, especially outside Germany, too slow and unimaginative.

Critics are seething that she insists on austerity as the main medicine for debt-ridden southern neighbors while she offers no new ideas for growth and fiercely resists efforts to let the European Central Bank intervene more.

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8:00am

Sat December 3, 2011
Economy

Eurozone's Rescue Plan Needs A Quick Fix

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. European leaders meet in Brussels next week with an urgent mission: agree on a plan that to keep debt-ridden countries like Greece and Spain from default and save the euro. A plan is emerging now in broad outline - this and coordinated action by central banks around the world - boosted investor confidence. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports.

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4:00am

Fri December 2, 2011
Europe

Merkel, Sarkozy Push For Fiscal Change In Eurozone

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 11:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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3:00pm

Fri November 25, 2011
Europe

Germany's Identity Cemented In The Euro

When the euro was rolled out nearly a decade ago, it was touted as a unifying force across European cultures. Uwe Boek, a 48-year-old Berliner, has seen and embraced these changes: "It's us being Europeans in the European Union. Because the euro is money but the European Union is about identity."

4:09pm

Thu November 17, 2011
Europe

Discovery Of Neo-Nazi Crime Spree Roils Germany

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 4:30 am

Germany has been rocked by allegations that a small, underground neo-Nazi group calling itself the Nationalist Socialist Underground carried out a 13-year-long crime spree that included murder, robbery and bombing. Here, a screen shot from a promotional DVD reportedly made by neo-Nazis Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boenhardt. The two men committed suicide earlier this month.
Getty Images

Germany is reeling from revelations this week that a small neo-Nazi group carried out a deadly, decade-long crime wave. Authorities blame the underground cell for the murders of nine immigrants and a policewoman, a string of bank robberies and a bombing. Two suspects are dead and two others are in custody.

The identity of the suspects came as a shock to many in a country that has worked hard to overcome the stain of Nazism. Now, the focus is on the apparent shortcomings of Germany's domestic security services.

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11:12am

Mon November 14, 2011
Europe

In Frankfurt, Former Trader Prepared For The Wurst

Thomas Brausse traded his job selling stocks for one selling sausages. He opened the Frankfurter Wurschtboerse, or Frankfurt Sausage Exchange, after he lost his job in Germany's financial capital in 2008.
Thomas Lohnes AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Europe could be living through its toughest hour since World War II.

Merkel was referring to the debt crisis that has resulted in bailouts for countries, toppled governments and is now threatening the survival of Europe's single currency.

These are nervous times in places like Germany's financial capital, Frankfurt. But for one former trader — who exchanged his computer terminal for pork sausages sizzling on a grill — these are not necessarily the worst of times.

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4:00am

Mon November 14, 2011
Europe

Germany Reacts To Italian Government Changes

With technocratic governments being formed in Italy and Greece, the euro may get a short-term bounce from the markets. But there is concern the changes afoot may not happen fast enough to end the eurozone debt mess.

4:00am

Thu October 27, 2011
Europe

Pressure's On Europe To Implement New Debt Plan

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 8:25 am

European leaders met through the night in Brussels and finally emerged Thursday with a debt deal they say is wide-ranging. They're hopeful it will guide the continent out of the widening debt crisis that started with Greece. But it's unclear whether they have the political will and economic flexibility to implement it.

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4:00am

Wed October 26, 2011
Europe

In Germany's Finance Capital, All Eyes On Debt Meeting

In Frankfurt, Germany's financial capital, all eyes are on the debt crisis meeting in Brussels. Frankfurt is home to Europe's leading stock exchange and some of the largest banks and investment firms on the continent. More recently it's also home to street demonstrators sharply critical of the current state of capitalism. The two worlds have yet to meet.

4:00am

Mon October 24, 2011
Europe

Agreement On Debt Crisis Eludes EU Leaders

European political leaders failed to come to agreement over the weekend on key issues to try to stem the debt crisis that threatens to spread from the smaller economies of Greece and Portugal to Europe's third- and fourth-largest economies: Italy and Spain. EU leaders vowed to keep working toward a wide-ranging plan at a second meeting Wednesday.

3:00pm

Tue October 11, 2011
NPR Story

Slovakia To Determine Fate Of Greek Bailout Plan

Slovakia, the second poorest of the 17 nations that use the euro, has complicated plans to help Greece and other debt-ravaged countries. The Slovakian parliament was due to be the last to approve the expansion of the eurozone bailout fund. But internal divisions in the ruling coalition caused the government to collapse instead.

4:17pm

Mon October 3, 2011
Europe

Greece's Woes Deliver Fresh Blow To World Markets

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 6:04 pm

High school students protesting austerity measures clash with riot police in front of the Greek Parliament on Monday. Also Monday, the Greek government announced that it would not meet its targets for reducing the budget deficit.

Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Financial markets in Europe and the United States slumped badly Monday after Greece conceded it will not meet its deficit reduction goals for this year — or next — despite its austerity measures.

Stocks indexes in the U.S., France, Germany and Spain all fell about 2 percent.

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4:22am

Thu September 29, 2011
Europe

German Lawmakers Pass Expanded Euro Bailout Fund

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 4:53 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou speak during talks Tuesday in Berlin. Germany's lower house of parliament voted 523-85 to bolster the European bailout fund, which is designed to help Greece and other troubled countries.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Germany's parliament approved a plan Thursday to expand the power of a European bailout fund for troubled countries that use the euro.

The Bundestag, or lower house, passed the bill 523-85 in a vote considered one of the biggest in Chancellor Angela Merkel's career.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the result, saying, "This signals to our European partners that you can rely on Germany."

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