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.

Pages

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)

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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:

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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."

Read more

10:06am

Fri September 23, 2011
Economy

A Greek Default Would Spread Debt Contagion

European leaders insist they will take all necessary measures to ensure Greece does not default on its debt. A default would throw Greece's economy — and the European banking system — into deeper crisis. But many financial experts are advocating an orderly default. They argue it will be painful but preferable to round-after-round of painful austerity measures and more uncertainty.

4:00am

Fri September 16, 2011
Europe

Could Euro Bonds Mend Eurozone Debt Crisis?

As the 17 European countries that use the euro grapple with the sovereign debt crisis, one possible way out is jointly underwritten euro bonds. The debt burden would be jointly shared among the nations that use the euro and stronger economies would help shore up weaker ones. But Germany — Europe's largest economy and main player in the crisis — remains vehemently opposed to the idea.

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Pages