Corey Flintoff

Corey Flintoff is NPR's international correspondent based in Moscow. His journalism career has taken him to more than 50 countries, most recently to cover the civil war in Libya, the revolution in Egypt and the war in Afghanistan.

After joining NPR in 1990, Flintoff worked for many years as a newscaster during All Things Considered. In 2005, he became part of the NPR team covering the Iraq War, where he embedded with U.S. military units fighting insurgents and hunting roadside bombs.

Flintoff's reporting from Iraq includes stories on sectarian killings, government corruption, the Christian refugee crisis and the destruction of Iraq's southern marshes. In 2010, he traveled to Haiti to report on the massive earthquake its aftermath. Two years before, he reported on his stint on a French warship chasing pirates off the coast of Somalia.

One of Flintoff's favorite side jobs at NPR is standing in for Carl Kasell during those rare times when the venerable scorekeeper takes a break from Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Before NPR, Flintoff served as the executive producer and host of Alaska News Nightly, a daily news magazine produced by the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage. His coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was recognized with the 1989 Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award.

In 1977, Flintoff got his start in public radio working at at KYUK-AM/TV, in Bethel, Alaska. KYUK is a bilingual English-Yup'ik Eskimo station and Flintoff learned just enough Yup'ik to announce the station identification. He wrote and produced a number of television documentaries about Alaskan life, including "They Never Asked Our Fathers" and "Eyes of the Spirit," which have aired on PBS and are now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

He tried his hand at commercial herring fishing, dog-mushing, fiction writing and other pursuits, but failed to break out of the radio business.

Flintoff has a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's degree from the University of Chicago, both in English literature. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Drexel University.

Radio Liberty was founded in the 1950s to broadcast American views into the former Soviet Union when the Cold War was at its peak. Radio Liberty transmitted on short wave, and the Soviet government did all it could to jam the broadcasts.

But after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian President Boris Yeltsin granted the service permission to open a Moscow bureau and broadcast within the country on AM radio.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn say they have broken up a ring that allegedly exported sensitive electronic technology to Russia.

Eight people were arrested today in Houston, including Alexander Fishenko, an immigrant from Kazakhstan who built a multi-million dollar export firm called Arc Electrics.

Parliamentary elections in Georgia, the former Soviet republic, delivered a resounding defeat for the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday. Preliminary election results showed the opposition winning 57 percent of the vote.

A day later, the president conceded defeat. In a televised address, Saakashvili said he respected the decision of the voters, and that he would clear the way for the opposition Georgian Dream party to form a new government, a move that would install opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister.

About a dozen men prayed recently at Darkei Shalom, a Hasidic Jewish synagogue in the working-class neighborhood of Otradnoye in north Moscow.

Except for the Star of David on its squat tower, the building is as plain and utilitarian as the linoleum on the floor. It sits — along with a Russian Orthodox church and a mosque — on a leafy stretch of land surrounded by towering apartment blocks.

Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.

And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.

To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.

Two hundred years ago this week, Napoleon Bonaparte fought a battle in Russia that may have begun his undoing. He led his Grand Army against the Imperial Russian Army near a village called Borodino, about 70 miles from Moscow.

It was the single bloodiest day of the Napoleonic Wars, and it's remembered by Russians as a symbol of national courage. An army of re-enactors relived that Sunday.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Human rights groups are denouncing the sentence handed down today to members of the Russian feminist punk band, Pussy Riot. The group's crimes? It staged a protest in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox Cathedral last winter. A judge convicted the three women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced each of them to two years in a labor camp.

The recent headlines in the Russian press were sensational: Members of a reclusive Islamic sect were said to be living in an isolated compound with underground burrows, some as deep as eight stories underground, without electricity or heat.

Reporters have descended on the compound, on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, but have had only limited access and have not been able to confirm all the allegations by Russian officials.

After more than five months in prison, some Russian dissidents are getting their day in court. The three young women are accused of being members of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band that staged a protest against then presidential-candidate Vladimir Putin in February.

The sanctions noose around Iran is set to tighten Sunday as the European Union imposes a total embargo on all purchases of Iranian oil.

The new sanctions are aimed at putting pressure on the Islamic Republic to make concessions on its nuclear program. Iran insists the program is limited to peaceful, civilian purposes, but many Western nations believe Iran has nuclear weapons ambitions.

The move against Iran comes at a time when oil prices have been dropping for the past couple of months.

The Russian government is facing a growing chorus of criticism over its harsh treatment of three women from an all-female rock band who staged a "punk" prayer service last winter in Moscow's most prominent cathedral.

Back on Feb. 21, two weeks before Russia's presidential election, several members of the band Pussy Riot, wearing brightly colored balaclavas, rushed onto the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

The first thing you see at Alaska's Eklutna Cemetery is a tidy white church, with copper-colored onion domes that are topped by the three-barred Russian Orthodox cross.

The church is a reminder of the days when Alaska was claimed by imperial Russia. But it hardly prepares you for the unique combination of Native American and Russian Orthodox influences in the graveyard beyond.

Our guide is Aaron Leggett, who waits patiently under a light but steady rain to explain his community's burial traditions.

The fighting in Syria has been escalating. The U.N. peace effort is in shambles. And there's no appetite right now for outside military intervention.

The Syrian crisis is prompting renewed calls for international action, and there have been plenty of dire warnings and lots of hand-wringing. But after a decade of fighting in the broader region, the United States and its Western allies have shown no interest in getting involved in another military adventure in a Muslim country.

The sputtering U.S. economy isn't just bad news for America, it's a drag on the global economic outlook as well.

"What matters to the rest of the world is the amount of demand the United States is going to generate," says economist Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell.

"Weak job growth translates to weak domestic demand in the U.S., and that concerns all of the U.S.'s major trading partners," he says.

Despite all the chaos and misery of the Greek debt crisis, the country still has some major assets: It's a stunningly beautiful place, with sunny weather, great beaches, ancient marvels and modern amenities.

Greece has been attracting visitors for centuries — at least since Darius the Great led an unsuccessful Persian military package tour about 2,500 years ago.

That didn't work out so well for Darius, who was defeated at the Battle of Marathon.

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, airports have probably been the most heavily guarded sites when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks.

And yet the most recent terrorism plot in Yemen involved an attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner with a bomber wearing a difficult-to-detect explosive bomb in his underwear, according to U.S. officials.

Once upon a time, CIA operations were secret.

But as the latest bomb plot in Yemen shows, little stays hidden for long these days.

In the post-Sept. 11 world, even the most sensitive intelligence operations quickly become daily fodder as the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet and media-friendly politicians give the story momentum. And it's often senior government officials and the intelligence community who spread the juiciest details.

World oil prices have been falling recently — and that's good news for oil consumers such as the U.S., Europe and China, and a potential challenge for the big exporters like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The oil market is notoriously volatile, and the factors driving prices down are temporary. But some energy industry analysts are posing a much larger question: Is the world, and the U.S. in particular, entering a new phase of expanding energy supplies and more moderate prices?

As the U.S. and China seek a solution to the case involving a prominent Chinese activist, it's worth remembering this isn't the first time the two countries have waged this kind of negotiation.

Chen Guangcheng, an activist who's been blind since he was a small boy, escaped house arrest in an eastern Chinese village and was taken to Beijing, where he's believed to be under U.S. protection.

A similar, high-profile case took place in 1989, when astrophysicist Fang Lizhi and his wife took refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Sudan and South Sudan are careering closer to a full-scale war, with fighting along their ill-defined border and belligerent rhetoric coming from both sides.

The conflict threatens to cripple the fragile economies in both nations, and it could create new burdens on neighboring countries in east and central Africa, a region prone to humanitarian disaster.

In the latest developments, South Sudanese officials say that Sudan's air force bombed its territory for a second straight day on Tuesday.

A year after an uprising threatened Bahrain's monarchy, the royal family is hosting a Formula One Grand Prix race this Sunday as it attempts to show life has returned to normal.

But racing fans will have to make their way through ranks of police and soldiers who are part of a heavy security presence. And riot police have been using tear gas, stun grenades and birdshot to hold back demonstrations around the capital city, Manama.

It's sounds like a story from the past: A Latin American leader announces plans to nationalize a large foreign company, touching off a high-stakes battle that involves money, politics and diplomacy.

Yet it's happening right now. Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez said this week that her country plans to take over a giant Spanish oil company at a time when the economies in both countries are facing challenges.

Spanish officials are threatening to retaliate against Argentina for seizing a majority of shares in the biggest oil company in Argentina, YPF.

Since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1960s and 70s, it's been conventional wisdom to talk about American dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. But the global oil market has changed dramatically since then.

Today, the U.S. actually gets most of its imported oil from Canada and Latin America.

And many Americans might be surprised to learn that the U.S. now imports roughly the same amount of oil from Africa as it does from the Persian Gulf. African imports were a bit higher in 2010, while Persian Gulf oil accounted for a bit more last year.

Rebels from the Tuareg ethnic group now control most of northern Mali, a territory as big as France on the edge of the Sahara desert.

A column of trucks loaded with Tuareg fighters rolled into the ancient desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, taking over the positions abandoned by fleeing government soldiers.

They include an Islamist faction that wants to impose Shariah law throughout Mali and are believed to include elements with links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

The U.S. has been absorbed by the Supreme Court case this week on the future of health care. But Americans are not alone.

Several European nations, where universal health care has been the norm for decades, have been waging their own intense debates as they also deal with aging populations and rising costs.

Britain passed a new health care measure earlier this month, after more than a year of rancorous debate. Can the European experience cast some light on the American debate over health care?

The scene in Mali's capital, Bamako, shows what used to be a familiar sight: an African capital in chaos, with drunken soldiers firing into the air and looting government buildings in the wake of a coup.

Military coups were dishearteningly common for people in Africa and Latin America during the 1960s and '70s, as governments fell to opportunistic military men.

But that trend had been slowing in the past two decades, as more and more governments began to hold regular elections.

The standoff between a murder suspect and French police in Toulouse, France, has stirred up a swirl of speculation about the man's background and motives, but so far there are relatively few confirmed facts.

French officials say the suspect is a 23- or 24-year-old Frenchman of Algerian decent by the name of Mohammed Merah, who had a long record as a juvenile delinquent.

He's suspected in the killings this month of three French paratroopers of North African descent, as well as a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren.

The military justice system has been crafted to work efficiently, but Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales can expect a lengthy legal process as he faces accusations that he killed 16 men, women and children in Afghanistan

Bales is locked up in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as he and his lawyer prepare for a case that involves a horrendous mass murder. In addition, it's a stress point that could trigger retaliation against American troops and even affect the course of a U.S. war that's more than a decade old.

Iran has faced international sanctions for more than three decades, which have hurt, but never crippled its economy.

Now, a new move by a relatively obscure financial institution in Europe could make it much more difficult for Iran to do basic things crucial to its economy, such as selling oil and obtaining hard currency.

As of Saturday, many Iranian banks, including the Central Bank, have been refused access to a worldwide financial messaging system that's used to arrange transfers of money.

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