Philip Reeves

Philip Reeves is an award-winning veteran international correspondent who covers Europe out of NPR's bureau in London.

Reeves has spent two decades working as a journalist overseas, reporting from a wide range of places including the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asia.

A member of the NPR team that won highly prestigious Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University and George Foster Peabody awards for coverage of the conflict in Iraq, Reeves has been honored several times by the South Asian Journalists Association.

In 2010, Reeves moved to London from New Delhi after a stint of more than seven years working in and around South Asia. He traveled widely in India, taking listeners on voyages along the Ganges River and the ancient Grand Trunk Road. He also made numerous trips to cover unrest and political turmoil in Pakistan.

Reeves joined NPR in 2004, after spending 17 years as a correspondent for the British daily newspaper, The Independent. During the early stages of his career, he worked for BBC radio and television after training on the Bath Chronicle newspaper in western Britain.

Over the years, Reeves has covered a wide range of stories - from the Waco siege, to the growth of the Internet, Boris Yeltsin's erratic presidency, the economic rise of India, and conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Graduating from Cambridge University, Reeves earned a degree in English literature. He and his wife have one daughter. His family originates from New Zealand.

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4:50pm

Wed April 16, 2014
Technology

Man Reaches For The Sun For A Solution To Pakistan's Gas Crisis

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 10:46 am

Pakistani motorists wait in line at a refueling station in the outskirts of Islamabad on Jan. 20, 2013. Waits of up to four hours have become a way of life since Pakistan decided to switch to compressed natural gas about a decade ago.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Spring has crept up to the foothills of the Himalayas and, in Islamabad, Pakistan's purpose-built capital, the air is full of the scent of roses and the yelling of birds.

Yet, even in this most stately of South Asian cities, it is impossible to escape the realities of an unstable nation that has yet to figure out how to meet some of the basic needs of its 200 million or so citizens.

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5:19am

Thu April 10, 2014
Asia

2 Pakistani Musicians Gain Fame Singing Political Satire

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 7:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There's also anxiety in Pakistan because it is a country where you can get into big trouble because of what you say. Recently, gunmen there opened fire on a prominent journalist who's a critic of Islamic extremism, killing his driver. Twenty-five journalists have been killed over the last decade. Non-journalists like the young activist Malala Yousafzai have been attacked. NPR's Philip Reeves went to see two young Pakistanis who think they're better off singing about their political views than talking. He sent this postcard from Lahore.

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5:47am

Sun February 9, 2014
Parallels

The World's Most Optimistic Law: Banning Graffiti In Karachi

A man walks past one of the many graffiti-covered walls in Karachi, Pakistan, on Dec. 27, 2013. Provincial lawmakers have voted to ban graffiti, but few expect the measure to be enforced.
Athar Hussain Reuters /Landov

If there was a competition to find the world's Most Optimistic Law, then here's a promising contender.

A law has just been introduced in Pakistan that bans people from scrawling graffiti on the walls of Karachi, a vast, chaotic port city on the shores of the Arabian Sea.

It is impossible to drive through Karachi without being struck by the manner in which the city's walls yell at the passersby.

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4:46pm

Fri February 7, 2014
Middle East

Pakistan And Taliban Come To The Negotiating Table

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:04 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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1:32pm

Wed February 5, 2014
Parallels

In Pakistan, Another Bhutto Joins The Risky Family Business

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:23 pm

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left), son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, arrives for a festival at Moenjodaro in southern Pakistan on Feb. 1. The event was seen as a political coming-out party for Bhutto, whose family has prominently featured in Pakistani politics for decades.
Waqar Hussein EPA/Landov

His grandfather was hanged by a military dictator. His mother was assassinated. One of his uncles was slain by the police. Another died in a mysterious poisoning.

His father spent eight years in jail, yet later served a full term as president of Pakistan.

The Bhutto family history is a roller coaster ride, veering from prison, exile and corruption scandals to wealth, fame and power.

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9:01am

Sun February 2, 2014
Middle East

Despite Scars Of War, Karachi Holds Onto Its Chutzpah

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 2:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. When you hear us say Karachi, Pakistan, you might assume we're going to bring you're a story about terrorism or a bombing or a kidnapping - and you would often be right. It is the most violent city in all of Pakistan. But NPR's Philip Reeves found that isn't all there is to the city. In fact, there's often a gap between Karachi's reputation and the reality of the place, as he explains in this letter from Pakistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISE)

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5:17pm

Mon January 27, 2014
Middle East

The Doctor At The Heart Of The U.S.-Pakistan Rift

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:56 pm

Prickly relations between the U.S. and Islamabad are becoming even thornier because of one issue: the case of Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden in 2011. Afridi is seen as a hero by many Americans, but that didn't deter Pakistan from jailing him for alleged militant ties. The U.S. Congress is withholding $33 million in aid to Pakistan until the doctor is freed. But Afridi's lawyer fears this tactic will antagonize Islamabad. He urgently wants Afridi freed, warning that the doctor is at severe risk of being killed by fellow prisoners.

4:20pm

Mon December 16, 2013
Europe

The Shipping Forecast: From Britain's Seas Into Its Soul

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 2:29 pm

Fisherman Teddy Head tells a story to a group of children while mending his nets in Hastings in 1952. The fishermen of Hastings are tightknit; fathers, brothers and sons work together in rugged boats no more than about 30 feet long. Some families in Hastings have worked this way for centuries.
Fred Morley Getty Images

It is a bizarre nightly ritual that is deeply embedded in the British way of life.

You switch off the TV, lock up the house, slip into bed, turn on your radio, and begin to listen to a mantra, delivered by a soothing, soporific voice.

"Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger ...." says the voice.

You are aware — vaguely — that these delicious words are names, and that those names refer to big blocks of sea around your island nation, stretching all the way up to Iceland and down to North Africa.

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12:51pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Parallels

Pakistan's Fearless Chief Justice Challenged The Powers That Were

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:41 pm

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (center) is greeted by lawyers in Islamabad after the government announced it would reinstate him, in March 2009. Pakistan's longest-serving chief justice challenged the status quo and fought to chart a more assertive and independent course for the country's judiciary.
Anjum Naveed AP

He defied a military dictator, sacked a prime minister, and persistently sought to call generals and intelligence chiefs to account.

He became a symbol of hope for an impoverished multitude, seeking to assert their rights in a land where these are frequently ignored and abused.

He was one of his country's best-known figures who was seen — though not usually heard — on his nation's television screens as frequently as celebrity actors and cricket stars.

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4:57pm

Mon September 9, 2013
Europe

Skateboarders Mobilize As Art Center Tries To Reclaim Cavern

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In medieval times, the south bank of the River Thames in London was full of seedy theaters, brothels and scoundrels. But centuries later, it has become one of the world's finest centers for the arts. Recent plans to expand the arts center has revealed a uniquely, contemporary conflict. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, this conflict is reviving grassroots activism in Britain's capital.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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6:19pm

Thu August 29, 2013
World

U.K. Lawmakers Vote Against Syria Strike

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 6:04 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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5:13pm

Mon August 19, 2013
Media

U.K. Detains Partner Of Journalist Who Talked With Snowden

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 6:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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4:59pm

Fri July 26, 2013
Religion

Church Invested In Pay Day Loan Companies It Admonished

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. The Church of England's top bishop is in a little hot water. The archbishop of Canterbury is embroiled in a controversy about ethical investment. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, it involves a company called Wonga.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Let us greet our newly installed archbishop with great gladness.

(APPLAUSE)

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Four months have elapsed since Justin Welby was enthroned as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury.

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2:59am

Mon July 22, 2013
Parallels

Would Brits Throw Out Royals With Baby's Bathwater?

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 3:17 am

Cards depicting the 'royal baby' either as a boy or a girl, specially made by a games company as a publicity stunt are pictured, backdropped by members of the media waiting across the St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London on July 11, 2013.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

"Royal Baby Fever" is gripping Britain.

So say the breathless TV pundits gathered from round the world to report the infant's arrival.

Is it true?

An Ipsos Mori poll published this week found the Royal Family's certainly enjoying a golden age, after rebounding from the disasters of the 1990s — including the death of Princess Diana.

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2:15pm

Wed July 10, 2013
Parallels

That Blows: Cricket's Trumpet-Playing Superfan Silenced

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 4:42 pm

Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott listens to Barmy Army trumpeter Billy Cooper during the second test between New Zealand and England at Basin Reserve on March 15 in Wellington, New Zealand. Cooper's trumpet will be silent at Trent Bridge, in Nottingham, England, because the ground doesn't allow musical instruments.
Gareth Copley Getty Images

The English national character is an eternal mystery. But from time to time we get a glimpse of some of its components. The story of Billy The Trumpet is one such occasion.

Billy is the embodiment of English eccentricity. He belongs to a boisterous ragtag band of sports fans called the Barmy Army. They're considered "barmy" for very good reason: These people follow England's national cricket team everywhere.

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12:15pm

Mon July 8, 2013
Parallels

Britons Bask In A Summer Of Good News

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 4:10 pm

Britain's Andy Murray celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia at Wimbledon on Sunday in London. Murray was the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.
Mike Hewitt Getty Images

All news is bad news. Or so the saying goes. Many Brits firmly believe this — and use it as a branch to beat their journalists, one of the more despised species in these isles.

It is, of course, untrue. There's no better example of the media's appetite for good news than the tsunami of euphoria with which they've greeted Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph on Sunday.

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3:01am

Mon July 1, 2013
Europe

Thar He Blows: Trump Tussles With Scots Over Wind Turbines

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:52 am

Donald Trump plays a stroke as he officially opens his new Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, last July. Now, he is aggressively fighting Scottish plans to build 11 wind turbines off the coast overlooked by his golf course and other proposed projects.
Andy Buchanan AFP/Getty Images

A fierce legal battle is under way in Scotland, involving U.S. tycoon Donald Trump.

At the heart of the wrangle: wind.

Europe is leading the way in generating energy using wind. Huge turbines whir away on the hills and in the seas throughout the continent.

The roots of Trump's hatred for these turbines can be found, at least in part, in what was once a stretch of rolling dunes and grassland in northeastern Scotland, overlooking the North Sea.

He is spending hundreds of millions creating a resort there.

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12:56pm

Sun June 16, 2013
Parallels

Violence Defies Pakistanis' Efforts To Define Their Nation

Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 1:36 pm

Pakistani security personnel inspect a burned-out bus on Sunday, a day after it was destroyed by a bomb attack in Quetta. The bus was carrying students from the region's only university for women. Fourteen women died.
Banaras Khan AFP/Getty Images

There is no more graphic example of the daunting challenges facing Pakistan's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, than the bloody events playing out in the west of his nation.

Just over a week after Sharif was sworn in for a third term, at least 24 people were killed in a day of violence that underscored the threat presented by violent militancy to the fabric of the Pakistani state.

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8:00am

Sat June 15, 2013
NPR Story

Islamabad Reservoir Cools Pakistanis

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Most people look forward to summer, but perhaps not in Pakistan. NPR's Philip Reeves has been out and about in its capital city, and sent us this letter from Islamabad.

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3:47pm

Sun June 9, 2013
Parallels

Murder Case Appears To Buck Trend Of Pakistani Corruption

Shahrukh Jatoi, top center, convicted of killing 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan, is escorted by members of the police to an Anti-Terrorism court in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday.
Shakil Adil AP

"There are times when one's faith is restored in the judicial system here, in Pakistan," writes a gentleman called Sajjid Khan, in an unusually optimistic letter published by one of his nation's leading newspapers The Daily Times.

Pakistanis generally take a bleak view of their system of law and order, which tends to be dysfunctional and corrupt. Khan was inspired to put pen to paper by a criminal case that seems to buck that trend.

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11:23am

Wed May 8, 2013
The Two-Way

Alex Ferguson: A Legendary Manager For An Iconic Franchise

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:55 pm

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson celebrates after his team wins the English Premier League at Blackburn, England, on May 14, 2011.
Tim Hales AP

The resignation of veteran Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is an event causing ripples that go way beyond the island where the Scotsman spent his long and illustrious career.

Walk into a bar pretty much anywhere from Buenos Aires to Bangkok, mention Ferguson or his star-studded team of Red Devils, and you can be sure of a lively conversation — and perhaps a heated argument.

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11:14am

Wed April 10, 2013
The Two-Way

For Some Britons, Thatcher's Death Provokes Celebrations

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 1:41 pm

Margaret Thatcher provoked great divisions and her critics have spoken out following her death. These graffiti appeared in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday, a day after she died.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

A young man is parading the streets of the city of Glasgow with a slogan daubed onto the back of his black leather jacket in big, freshly painted white letters. "We're havin' a party," it declares. "Thatcher's dead."

In what was the coal belt of northern England, a burly former miner lights up an enormous cigar and takes a satisfied puff. He says he's looking forward to a few celebratory drinks.

Hundreds of miles to the south, in Brixton, south London, a boisterous crowd prances around, joyously boozing and setting off fireworks under the wary gaze of police in riot gear.

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9:03am

Mon April 8, 2013
Remembrances

Margaret Thatcher's Life And Legacy In Britain

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 10:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Monday, it is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Britain and the world are reflecting this morning on the life of Margaret Thatcher. The former British prime minister has died at the age of 87. Britain's current Prime Minister David Cameron remembered her this way.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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4:47am

Mon March 25, 2013
Europe

Exiled Russian Oligarch's Death Launches British Probe

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 8:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And police in Britain are piecing together the final days in the life of a Russian oligarch named Boris Berezovsky. They hope this may shed light on his sudden death this last weekend. Berezovsky used to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Russia. Then he fell out with the Kremlin and sought asylum in Britain. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

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11:35am

Fri March 22, 2013
The Two-Way

Britain Goes After Pot Growers With 'Scratch And Sniff' Cards

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:05 pm

British police and the volunteer group Crimestoppers are sending out more than 200,000 of these cards with the scent of a cannabis plant.
Courtesy of Crimestoppers

For many years, across the world, the extraordinarily powerful noses of dogs have been successfully used to help detect crime.

Now, in Britain, moves are under way to recruit humans to perform the same subtle work.

Police are encouraging the British to step out of their homes, raise their nostrils aloft, and see if they catch the whiff of wrongdoing wafting from the next-door neighbors.

Visitors to these crowded islands are often charmed by the small redbrick terraced houses that are in every town and city.

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8:11am

Mon March 11, 2013
The Two-Way

A Rough Guide To The Papal Conclave

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 8:34 pm

Cardinals gathered in Vatican City on Monday, a day before the papal selection process known as the conclave begins.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

The stage is now set for the opening act of one of the more spectacular and intriguing theatrical dramas on the planet: the election of a pope.

In Rome, TV camera crews have set up their positions on big platforms overlooking St. Peter's Square and the Vatican, where the secretive process will begin Tuesday.

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3:24am

Tue February 26, 2013
Religion

The Hermit Pope Who Set The Precedent For Benedict XVI

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:15 pm

Beneath a glass coffin, wearing a pontiff's miter and faded vestments of gold and purple, there lies a tiny man with a wax head.

This represents an Italian priest who, until this month, was the only pope in history to voluntarily resign.

His name is Celestine V.

Celestine became pope at 84, some seven centuries ago, after a long and self-punishing career as a hermit.

Though a celebrated spiritual leader, and founder of a new branch of the Benedictine order, his papacy lasted just over five months. It's widely viewed as an utter disaster.

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7:47am

Sat February 9, 2013
The Salt

British Outrage Grows As Horsemeat Pops Up In More Foods

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 8:42 am

Frozen-food company Findus recalled its beef lasagne meals earlier this week because they contain horsemeat.
Scott Heppell AP

They like riding them. They like racing them. They bet on them, hunt on them and patrol the streets on them.

But to most who live in the land of the Beefeater, the idea of eating a horse in peacetime is as generally repugnant as grilling one the queen's corgis and gobbling it up with ketchup and fries.

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5:19pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Europe

A Dash Of Olive Oil May Preserve British Cathedral

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:24 am

The stones of York Minster in northern England are decaying. Olive oil may be just the dressing the cathedral needs to preserve its Gothic architecture.
Nigel Roddis Reuters/Landov

The British have some stunning cathedrals, and York Minster, in the north of England, is one of the most magnificent of all.

Construction on it began 800 years ago, and a mere 2 1/2 centuries later, work was complete.

The result was one of Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals and one that's had a rough ride through history: It's been pillaged and looted, and damaged by devastating fires and lightning strikes.

Today, there's another threat: acid rain. As a result, the cathedral's stones are decaying.

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3:58pm

Wed January 2, 2013
Middle East

On Multiple Fronts, Russian Jews Reshape Israel

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 8:54 am

Russian-speaking Israelis mingle at the Soho nightclub in Tel Aviv. The club caters to the Russian-speaking immigrant community, featuring hired dancers and extravagant decorations rarely seen in informal Israel.
Oded Balilty AP

Many signs are in the Cyrillic alphabet. The men and women sitting in the cafes are speaking Russian. The shops sell vodka, black bread, pickled herring and Russian-brewed Baltika beer. You have to pinch yourself to remember where you are.

This scene, with all its echoes of the former Soviet Union, is not in St. Petersburg or Vladivostok, or anywhere else in that vast sweep of bleak northern lands. It is in Ashdod, Israel, a palm-lined, pastel-colored port city that sprawls along the mild shores of the Mediterranean.

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