NPR: Frank Langfitt

Frank Langfitt is NPR's international correspondent based in Shanghai. He covers China, Japan, and the Koreas for NPR News. His reports have included visits to China'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 China, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He reported from Sudan and covered the civil war in Somalia, where learned to run fast in Kevlar 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 a labor correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covered the 2008 financial crisis, the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler and coal mine disasters in West Virginia.

Shanghai is Langfitt's second posting in China. Before coming to NPR, he spent five years as a correspondent in Beijing for The Baltimore Sun, covering a swath of Asia from East Timor to the Khyber Pass. During the opening days of the Afghan War, Langfitt reported from Pakistan and Kashmir.

In 2008, Langfitt 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.

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. Before becoming a reporter, Langfitt drove a taxi in Philadelphia and dug latrines in Mexico. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

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12:01am

Tue June 21, 2011
China: Beyond Borders

Will Kenyan Superhighway Also Benefit China?

Three Chinese companies are building a massive superhighway in Kenya linking Nairobi with the city of Thika. The road, as wide as 16 lanes, is the biggest of its kind in East Africa.
Frank Langfitt NPR

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investment, infrastructure, military power and more.

Chinese companies are scouring Africa for resources to fuel a red-hot economy back home, but Beijing is interested in more than just what's underground.

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10:57am

Thu June 16, 2011
Africa

South Sudan Battles Poaching In Quest For Tourism

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:44 am

A radio-tracking collar worn by a tiang was cut off by hunters after the animal was shot. Conservationists track wildlife in South Sudan to help the government devise anti-poaching strategies after decades of devastating civil war.
Frank Langfitt NPR

When people think of Sudan, they think burning villages, civil war. Wildlife tourism? Not really. But South Sudan wants to change that.

Next month, it will secede and become the world's newest nation, and officials there want people to come see the animals.

It turns out many antelopes, elephants and even some giraffes survived the civil war between the north and the south. Now, South Sudan is trying to protect them and build a tourism business — from scratch.

Poaching Prevention

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4:05pm

Wed June 15, 2011
Africa

South Sudan Works To Aid Wildlife That Survived War

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:45 am

Conservationists feared most of South Sudan's wildlife had been killed during more than two decades of civil war, but a survey several years ago found many had survived, including hundreds of thousands of white-eared kobs.
Frank Langfitt NPR

South Sudan is poised to become the world's newest country in just a few weeks. Two decades of civil war cost more than 2 million lives and wiped out much of the region's wildlife — but not all of it.

A few years ago, conservationists made a surprising discovery: large herds of antelopes and elephants. The government of South Sudan and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society are now trying to protect animals that were once thought lost to war.

Saving Animals

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12:01am

Wed June 15, 2011
China: Beyond Borders

In Nigeria, Chinatown Vendors Struggle For Profits

The Chinatown in Lagos, Nigeria, was built in 2004. It's home to more than 100 shops that sell everything from ceramic coffee cups to Hannah Montana backpacks.
Frank Langfitt NPR

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more. In this installment, a tale of two Chinatowns in very different circumstances — one in Nigeria and the other in the Italian town of Prato.

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8:00am

Sun April 17, 2011
Africa

Cattle Rustling A Deadly Business In Sudan

Cattle rustling sounds like a quaint notion from the 19th century American West, but in South Sudan — soon be the world's newest nation — it's a very modern and very real problem. Sudanese cattle raiding isn't like the Old West with Winchester rifles. It's the African Bush with automatic weapons — and high body counts.

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12:01am

Fri April 15, 2011
Africa

Inside The Pirate Business: From Booty To Bonuses

The last in a three-part series.

In recent years, Somali piracy has grown into a multimillion-dollar criminal enterprise. Rarely a week goes by that pirates don't attack or seize a ship.

Ransoms now average between $4 million and $5 million, and researchers estimate as many as 2,000 pirates operate from Somalia's shores.

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12:01am

Thu April 14, 2011
Africa

Catching Pirates With A Kind Of Neighborhood Watch

The second in a three-part series.

Somalia is among the world's most lawless countries. That's one reason piracy thrives there. After hijacking ships, pirates return to shore, where government turns a blind eye — or may not even exist.

But one part of Somalia — a self-ruling region called Somaliland — is slowly trying to build the rule of law and a sense of civic duty. The result: Ordinary citizens occasionally catch pirates and turn them in. It's an informal, coastal neighborhood watch.

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12:01am

Wed April 13, 2011
Africa

Somaliland Struggles In Effort To Fight Piracy

The first in a three-part series.

Somali piracy has become an epidemic.

Last year, Somali pirates seized more than a thousand hostages — a record. This year, they have already hijacked 15 vessels, including an American yacht whose four passengers were killed.

The government of Somaliland, a self-ruling part of Somalia, is trying to fight the problem with a ragtag coast guard and a new prison, but battling piracy is like fighting a stiff current.

A visit to the local jail in Somaliland's port of Berbera goes a long way toward explaining why.

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