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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4:00am

Tue September 13, 2011
Business

Investors Want Europe To Take Bold Steps Against Crisis

Markets in Europe began the week lower on concerns Greece could be edging closer to default. Greece received an international rescue package earlier but an agreement to double the bailout's size hasn't been enacted.

12:01am

Mon September 12, 2011
Conflict In Libya

NATO's Intervention In Libya: A New Model?

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks in Brussels on Sept. 5. Rasmussen calls NATO's operation in Libya a success that could serve as a model in the future.
Virginia Mayo AP

NATO planes are still in the air and bombing targets over Libya and Moammar Gadhafi is still on the loose. Nonetheless, NATO is taking something of a victory lap in the wake of an operation that broke new ground for the military alliance.

But the Libyan operation also raised questions about its mission, its future role in such conflicts, and how it determines when to intervene.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told NPR he sees the Libya operation as a template for future NATO missions and proof the United Nations can outsource its muscle to the alliance.

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4:00am

Fri August 19, 2011
Europe

Germans Worry What's Behind Wave Of Arsons

In the German capital Berlin, police say scores of vehicles have been burned. But the crimes don't fit the old pattern of attacks on BMWs and Mercedes. Officers dismiss any suggestion this is the start of urban unrest as seen recently in London.

4:00am

Mon August 15, 2011
Europe

UK Stunned By Rioters' Racial, Economic Diversity

Many people in Britain are still reeling in shock from the violent riots that broke out in a number of English cities just over a week ago. The country is now experiencing a period of political sniping over why the riots broke out, and how they can be avoided.

4:46pm

Wed August 10, 2011
Europe

Britain Ramps Up Security Efforts To Stop Rioting

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:34 am

Police forensic officers work at the scene where three people were killed after being struck by a vehicle Wednesday in the Winson Green area of Birmingham, England.
Jeff J Mitchell Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

After more rioting overnight, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that it was time to fight back, vowing that he wouldn't allow "a culture of fear" take over the country's streets.

"Whatever resources the police need, they will get; whatever tactics police feel they need to employ, they will have legal backing to do so. We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order on to our streets," he said in a statement outside his Downing Street office Wednesday.

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4:00am

Tue July 5, 2011
Europe

German Smokers Want 'Health Mafia' To Butt Out

Australia has proposed some of the world's toughest restrictions on cigarette marketing and advertising. And American health officials recently unveiled graphic new warning labels scheduled to appear next year.

It's all part of a growing international effort to get tough on smoking. But in Germany, anti-smoking activists are facing a tough battle even getting basic restrictions enforced.

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1:58pm

Sun July 3, 2011
Middle East

Graffiti Reclaims Egypt's Revolution From Marketers

A piece of street art known as "Tantawi's underwear" mocks Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the ruling transitional military council.
 

The revolution will be marketed!

Egyptian companies and multi-nationals are now using images of and references to the youth-led uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in advertisements to sell internet service, mobile phones, soft drinks, tourism and more.

The marketing has sparked something of a backlash among young Egyptians and has contributed to a rise in politicized street art and graffiti. Some street artists hope to reclaim the message in the streets by breaking the taboo of criticizing Egypt's military rulers.

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5:37pm

Wed June 22, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Egyptian Workers Who Fled Libya Struggle At Home

Originally published on Wed June 22, 2011 9:40 pm

Egyptians who fled fighting in Libya carry their belongings at the Egyptian-Libyan border in Salloum, Egypt. The International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 105,000 Egyptians have returned from Libya.
Hussein Malla AP

For the Egyptian youth who spearheaded the protests that led to the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February, the revolution was an exhilarating, crowning moment.

But for young Egyptian laborers caught in the violent backwash of the region's revolts, the Arab spring has proved financially and psychologically crippling.

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12:01am

Tue June 21, 2011
Middle East

U.S. Faulted For Not Doing Enough In Yemen

Protesters in Yemen, along with key tribal and religious leaders, have spent months in the streets calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and for new elections.

The Obama administration and Pentagon officials are expressing fears that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula may take advantage of the current power vacuum to increase its influence. But some Yemen watchers say that while Saleh recovers in a Saudi hospital from wounds suffered during an attack on his palace, the U.S. is missing an opportunity to foster a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

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5:16pm

Tue June 14, 2011
Africa

Egypt's Secret Military Trials Erode Activists' Trust

A man holds a placard protesting military trials at a demonstration in front of a building where the high military council met with youth groups on June 1.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Many of the middle-class Egyptian youth who spearheaded the efforts to oust dictator Hosni Mubarak say one of the biggest threats to the revolution today is the ruling junta's use of secret military trials. It's estimated that at least 7,000 people — including protesters, bloggers and dissidents — have been jailed by the army since Mubarak stepped down.

Youth activists are now pressing the Egyptian military to transfer those cases to civilian courts and investigate allegations of abuse and torture by military police.

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12:01am

Fri May 27, 2011
Europe

In Europe, Refugee Influx Puts Borders In Spotlight

The revolutions in North Africa have put enormous strain on a cornerstone of European integration: the free movement of people and commerce in 25 European states under what's known as the Schengen Agreement.

France reinstated long-abolished checks along its border with Italy after waves of undocumented migrants arrived from Tunisia and Libya. It sent hundreds of migrants back to Italy, prompting Rome to issue temporary travel documents to thousands of refugees. The border row sparked outrage with European Union political leaders in Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament.

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12:01am

Tue May 24, 2011
Europe

Biofuel Push Stalls In 'Car Crazy' Germany

A woman fills her tank with E10 gasoline in Berlin on March 4. Delivery of the fuel, which is a blend of gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, has stopped because consumers are not buying enough of it.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

The Germans have a famous passion for automobiles, but it has run smack into European Union directives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. So rather than ask German drivers to give up those highly tuned Mercedes or BMWs, the government is offering them "E10" — gas mixed with 10 percent ethanol, produced from corn and wheat.

But there are two problems: German car lovers are refusing to buy it and environmentalists say it's no greener than regular gas.

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2:43pm

Tue May 17, 2011
Europe

German Boardrooms Lack Women. Can Quotas Help?

Ursula von der Leyen, the German labor minister, says voluntary gender quotas set by companies won't be sufficient. "I want to see concrete figures and results from the DAX top 30 post-haste. Otherwise we will start negotiating with legal measures," she says.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

A recent study in Germany shows that for women, business boardroom doors remain largely shut. They constitute a mere 2.2 percent of the executive boards of Germany's top 100 companies. And not one of those companies has a female CEO.

The figures have prompted meetings between government and business leaders on how to improve gender equity in the boardroom and in corporate leadership. But even the female members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet are divided on how to remedy the imbalance.

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3:00pm

Thu May 12, 2011
World

U.S. Autoworker Convicted In Death Camp Case

A German court found retired U.S. autoworker John Demjanjuk guilty of accessory to mass murder Thursday. Demjanjuk, who was born in Ukraine, served as a guard at a Nazi death camp during World War II, but there was no evidence he committed a specific crime. However, the court found that by volunteering to work at the camp, he had participated in mass murder.

12:01am

Thu May 12, 2011
Europe

Wanted: Foreign Workers For Germany's Job Boom

Workers assemble Volkswagen Golf 6 cars at the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen and other German automakers are among those driving Germany's economic boom.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

While the U.S., the U.K. and much of Europe brace for spending cuts and austerity, Germany is in the midst of an economic boom.

Germany has emerged from the financial crisis faster and in far better shape than the rest of Europe. The German growth rate almost doubled in the first quarter of 2011; corporate profits have soared, and industrial production is expected to keep growing — at least for the rest of this year.

But as manufacturers add extra shifts, there's a new shortage of skilled workers — and that's led to renewed calls to ease restrictions on immigration.

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3:11pm

Wed May 11, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Germany Draws Criticism For Sitting Out Libya Effort

NATO stepped up its attacks on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces this week, with intensified airstrikes on ammunition, supply and command sites in several cities, including the capital, Tripoli.

But one of the pillars of NATO — Germany — was not involved. Germany is not participating in the U.N.-backed effort to protect Libyan civilians.

Germany's decision not to take part in the NATO air war has come in for withering criticism at home and abroad. And it may have dealt a blow to the country's efforts to win a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

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7:11am

Sun May 8, 2011
Conflict In Libya

NATO Official: More Progress Than Meets Eye In Libya

There's little sign of an end to the conflict in Libya, nearly two months after Western fighter jets began bombing leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces. The disorganized anti-Gadhafi rebels have been unable to break out of their stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya despite the air support.

And with signs of a military deadlock, some in the West are calling for a renewed focus on isolating the Libyan dictator financially and politically. But NATO commanders leading the war effort caution patience and insist there has been more progress than meets the eye.

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4:23pm

Fri April 15, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Has NATO Hit A Wall In Libya?

President Obama and the leaders of Britain and France published a joint letter Friday saying that as long as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remains in power, NATO and its partners must maintain their operations.

With Libyan rebels and Gadhafi's forces locked in a stalemate, though, there's concern the NATO operation may be insufficient to protect civilians — let alone force the dictator from power.

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4:00am

Mon March 28, 2011
Africa

Libya Update

Renee Montagne talks to NPR's Eric Westervelt about the latest news from Libya.

3:00pm

Sat March 26, 2011
Africa

Rebels Retake Key City From Gadhafi Forces

Rebel forces have re-established control over the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya following a night of NATO airstrikes.

4:00am

Fri March 25, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Libya Update

In the skies over Libya, NATO will take command of the no-fly zone. U.S. air and sea power will remain a key factor in keeping Moammar Gadhafi's troops from attacking. But on the ground, Libyan rebels are stalled in their efforts to advance on government forces. And civilians are fleeing the front lines of the fighting.

4:00am

Thu March 24, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Facing Deadlock, Libyan Rebels Struggle To Regroup

Originally published on Thu March 24, 2011 2:49 pm

A Libyan rebel observes at a front-line checkpoint near Zwitina, the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, eastern Libya, on Thursday.
Anja Niedringhaus AP

In key Libyan cities, anti-government rebels have been unable so far to dislodge forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, despite help from airstrikes and a no-fly zone from the Western coalition. Yet the rebels' provisional body is moving ahead with efforts to build a political structure to better define what the revolution stands for.

Meantime, there's creeping fear and paranoia in the rebel capital that people loyal to Gadhafi are trying to undermine those efforts through violence and intimidation.

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