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Frank Langfitt

Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe. Previously, Langfitt spent five years as an NPR correspondent covering China. Based in Shanghai, he drove a free taxi around the city for a series on a changing China as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. As part of the series, Langfitt drove passengers back to the countryside for Chinese New Year and served as a wedding chauffeur. He also helped a Chinese-American NPR listener hunt for her missing sister in the mountains of Yunnan province.

While in China, Langfitt also reported on the government'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 Shanghai, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He reported from Sudan, covered the civil war in Somalia 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 NPR's labor correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covered the 2008 financial crisis, the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler and coalmine disasters in West Virginia.

In 2008, Langfitt also 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.

Before coming to NPR, Langfitt spent five years as a correspondent in Beijing for The Baltimore Sun, covering a swath of Asia from East Timor to the Khyber Pass.

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. Prior to becoming a reporter, Langfitt dug latrines in Mexico and drove a taxi in his home town of Philadelphia. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

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Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

Emmanuel Macron, a centrist politician who's never held elective office, and Marine Le Pen, the far-right firebrand who wants to take France out of the European Union, are expected to advance to next month's runoff for the presidency of the country, according to official results.

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And I'm David Greene with a guide to this day's news. And, Steve, let's start in Paris where people yet again are dealing with the specter of terrorism.

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In the electoral battle over populism in Western democracies, the score is tied 2-2.

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President Trump has questioned the importance of NATO, the international security alliance created after World War II to counter Soviet ambitions. Trump has told other countries they should contribute more money for NATO because he thinks the U.S. pays too much.

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Today the United Kingdom formally told the European Union it is leaving, after decades of membership in the 28-nation political alliance and trading bloc. The move triggers an estimated two-year divorce process that will involve many months of tough negotiations and will launch Britain on a new, uncertain path.

Addressing the House of Commons in London, Prime Minister Theresa May said Brexit is an opportunity for her country to chart a new course, unencumbered by the bureaucracy of the multilateral organization based in Brussels.

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The United Kingdom has started the process of Brexit.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY: In accordance with the wishes of the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.

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These are divisive times in the United Kingdom. Today, the Scottish Parliament voted to seek an independence referendum that could split the country apart. Tomorrow, the U.K. triggers Brexit, the process for breaking away from the European Union.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte dealt a sharp defeat to right-wing nationalist Geert Wilders in what was seen as the first of three electoral tests of populism on the European continent this year.

Rutte's center-right VVD party took 33 out of 150 seats in the lower house of the Dutch parliament. Wilders' Party for Freedom got 20 seats and came in second.

The left-leaning Dutch Labor Party, took a major hit, losing 29 seats. The GreenLeft Party gained 10.

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET Thursday

Early results in the Netherlands indicate Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD Party will win Wednesday's parliamentary election, while populist Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom will come in third. Rutte's party was on track to win 32 seats in the lower house of parliament, while Wilders' party was projected to win 19 seats.

After the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's U.S. victory last year, political analysts wonder if populism will gain ground on the European continent amid the impact of a migration crisis and dissatisfaction with the European Union. With elections approaching in France, Germany and the Netherlands, the question has gained urgency.

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The European Union's supporters are worried. Later this month, British Prime Minister Theresa May will start the long process of withdrawing her country from the EU. We'll hear more about that in a moment.

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