Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One. He has covered wars in Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel, and he has filed stories from five continents. (Sorry, Australia.)

As NPR's International Correspondent based in London, Shapiro travels the world covering a wide range of topics for NPR's national news programs. Starting in September, Shapiro will join Kelly McEvers, Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel as a weekday host of All Things Considered.

Shapiro joined NPR's international desk after four years as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms. In 2012, Shapiro embedded with the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. He was NPR Justice Correspondent for five years during the George W. Bush Administration, covering one of the most tumultuous periods in the Department's history.

Shapiro is a frequent guest analyst on television news programs, and his reporting has been consistently recognized by his peers. The Columbia Journalism Review honored him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana's detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges' Association American Gavel Award for his work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes guest appearances with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world's most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens.

Shapiro was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale. He began his journalism career as an intern for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, who has also occasionally been known to sing in public.

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Parallels
5:55 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Sweden's Immigrant Influx Unleashes A Backlash

Two policemen stand outside a mosque in Uppsala, Sweden, last month. The mosque was firebombed on Jan. 1 in one of three arson attacks targeting the Muslim community in Sweden since Christmas Day.
Anders Wiklund AP

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 11:34 am

In the 1990s, the face of immigration to Sweden was someone like Robert Acker. His family emigrated from Bosnia when he was 6 years old.

"I got along with the Swedes early on," he says in American-accented English from his years playing basketball in Kentucky and New York. "But now, I believe it's a totally different thing."

Acker lives in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, an industrial center that has become the power base for the far-right Sweden Democrats.

"They want us out," says Acker. "They just want Swedes here."

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Europe
5:41 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Remote-Controlled Airport A Reality In Sweden

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 7:33 pm

Sweden is the first country in the world to get a remote-controlled airport. That means flights are guided by operators sitting miles away.

This piece originally aired on Morning Edition on Feb. 1, 2015.

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Parallels
7:56 am
Sun February 1, 2015

In Sweden, Remote-Control Airport Is A Reality

The tiny town of Sundsvall, Sweden, is home to the world's first airport to land passenger planes by remote control. The cameras used to help the air traffic controllers guide airplanes render details as small as cars pulling into the parking lot from miles away.
Rich Preston NPR

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 1:56 pm

As our plane touches down in Sundsvall, Sweden, the horizon is all snow and ice. A small air traffic control tower sticks out above the white horizon.

But this airport actually has two air traffic control centers. The second one is just a short walk from the airport runway.

Inside a ground-floor, windowless room, there's a display that looks exactly like what you'd see out of an air traffic control tower. You can see the snowy runway, you can see the trees, you can even see a car pulling into the airport parking lot.

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The Salt
5:52 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Surströmming Revisited: Eating Sweden's Famously Stinky Fish

Surströmming, a fermented herring considered to be a famous delicacy in Sweden, is also known as one of the most pungent foods in the world.
Pauline Conradsson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:39 pm

More than a decade ago, NPR's Ari Shapiro attempted to eat a fermented Swedish herring called surströmming, one of the most pungent foods in the world. It did not go well. Twelve years later, on a reporting trip to Sweden, Ari decided it was time to face his fears and try the fish again.

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Europe
7:37 am
Sat January 31, 2015

An Arctic Institution, Sweden's Ice Hotel Turns 25

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 1:08 pm

This year marks 25 years of the original Ice Hotel, carved from snow and ice bricks in far northern Sweden. This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 29, 2015.

Arts + Life
5:21 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Arctic Circle's Coolest Accommodations Turn 25 Years Old

Icehotel is located 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. The temperature outside is well below zero, but inside the hotel — while still, of course, below freezing — it's much warmer, hovering in the low 20s.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:07 am

On a recent winter's day in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, it's 22 degrees below zero — or -30 Celsius. Whatever you call it, it's way below freezing.

Sculptor Jens Thoms Ivarsson stands over a block of ice with a razor-sharp chisel, turning a bare room into an ornate Spanish mosque made entirely of ice.

Here, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, sits a frozen institution: Icehotel, the original.

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Parallels
3:21 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Group Urges Swedes To Evade Subway Fares, And Even Insures Against Fines

Christian Tengblad (right) and his fellow fare dodger are part of the group Planka.nu.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 2:06 pm

Every city that has public transportation struggles with fare jumpers — people who sneak onto the subway or the bus without buying a ticket. In Sweden, fare-dodging is a brazen movement in which the group's members don't try to hide what they're doing.

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Parallels
3:37 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Russian Threats Expose Europe's Military Cutbacks

A soldier from the Swedish army participates in a military exercise at Hagshult Airbase in Sweden in November.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:27 am

An international cat-and-mouse game played out in the waters of Stockholm a few months ago.

The "mouse" was a foreign submarine — Russia is the main suspect — that got away.

And as Russia's military becomes more aggressive, European leaders fear they do not have the military power to deal with this new threat.

Take Sweden, for instance. Its days of military might are long gone.

The numbers tell the story, says Karlis Neretnieks, who used to run Sweden's National Defense College and has had a long career in the military.

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Parallels
4:09 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Carrying The Torch For London's Last Gas Lamps

Garry Usher oversees the five lamplighters employed by British Gas. Each night, members of his crew wind up, by hand, the clocks that control when the lamps, like this one at St. John's church in Smith Square, turn on and off.
Rich Preston NPR

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 6:33 pm

In the United Kingdom, British Gas employs 30,000 workers. Five of them could be said to carry a torch that has been burning for two centuries. They are the lamplighters, tending to gas lamps that still line the streets in some of London's oldest neighborhoods and parks.

As these lamplighters set out on their nightly rounds, they don't actually carry torches and don't wear top hats and waistcoats. In their blue and gray jackets with the British Gas logo, they look like 21st-century utility workers.

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Arts + Life
3:33 am
Mon January 5, 2015

The Theater Company Is 1927; The Technology Is Cutting Edge

The British theater company 1927 performs its latest play, Golem, based on the character from ancient Jewish folklore. The troupe's trademark is vintage style combined with distinctive animation.
Bernhard Mueller

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:40 pm

Lots of theater companies use animation and video projection. None uses it quite like the British troupe called 1927. The company has combined vintage style with sophisticated technology to carve out a unique niche in the theater.

1927's newest play, Golem, has just opened in London to rave reviews.

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Business
5:02 am
Fri January 2, 2015

High-Tech Tools Help Irish Dairy Farmers Produce More Milk

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 7:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Europe
5:05 am
Thu January 1, 2015

London's Morning Gloryville Starts Sunrise Rave Trend

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 7:48 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Europe
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

In Britain, A Christmas Tradition Of Slapstick And Silliness

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Parallels
3:25 am
Thu December 25, 2014

A Century Ago, When The Guns Fell Silent On Christmas

British and German soldiers fraternizing at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914. World War I was raging at the time, but front-line troops initiated the truce, which they documented in photos and letters. Commanders on both sides were furious when they learned of it.
Courtesy of Imperial War Museum

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 7:00 am

A century ago, young men in Europe were killing each other by the tens of thousands. World War I, which had erupted just a few months earlier, was raging. Yet on a frozen Christmas Eve, the guns briefly fell silent.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become the stuff of legend, portrayed in films, television ads, and songs. On this 100th anniversary of the cease-fire, it is possible to reconstruct the events of that day from letters, diaries, and even the recorded spoken words of the men who experienced the truce.

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The Salt
2:28 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Record Number Of Britons Are Using Food Banks

At the We Care food bank in Southeast London, customers pay 1 pound sterling, or about $1.60, for 10 items. The token payment is meant to ease customers' discomfort about having to use the food bank's services.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:26 pm

The United Kingdom is struggling with a situation that may sound familiar to Americans. The economy is expanding, unemployment is dropping, yet growing numbers of people don't have enough food to eat.

Six months ago, Peter Brogan was among those Britons going hungry. He'd lived a comfortable middle-class existence for the first 50 years of his life, with a house, a job and a relationship. Then the relationship fell apart, and so did his life. Between alcoholism and depression, he couldn't keep his head above water.

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National Security
4:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

State Department Feared Torture Report Would Spark Fury. Where Is It?

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:23 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
4:17 am
Mon December 8, 2014

U.S. Tech Firms See Green As They Set Up Shop In Low-Tax Ireland

The Apple campus in Cork, southern Ireland, employs 4,000 people — though its financial benefits are felt across the city. But Ireland's attractive tax laws — which have lured other industry leaders — are now under scrutiny.
Paul Faith AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 8:54 am

Here's a fact that might surprise you: All of the top 10 U.S. companies that were born on the Internet — including Google, Amazon and eBay — have overseas corporate headquarters in Ireland.

The American tech sector is huge in Ireland. It's growing rapidly — and having a huge impact on life there.

But the tax system that's fueling the growth is also infuriating some people in the U.S. and Europe — and has Ireland reconsidering its tax code.

A City, And Country, Transformed

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Arts + Life
5:09 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

The American Origins Of The Not-So-Traditional Celtic Knot Tattoo

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 1:18 am

What is the most cliched tattoo you can think of? Chinese characters? A tribal armband?

How about a Celtic knot? Those interlocking lines that look like ropes or basket weaving.

Last week I was in Ireland and decided to investigate the roots of this trend.

I spoke with Kevin McNamara at the Dublin Ink tattoo parlor.

"It would be a weird week in the shop if I didn't do at least, like 40," he told me. "That's not a literal number, but yeah, it's nuts."

Without Celtic knots and shamrocks, McNamara said, he would never have learned how to tattoo.

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Parallels
2:30 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

For Northern Ireland, Wounds From 'The Troubles' Are Still Raw

The remains of Brendan Megraw are carried to St. Oliver Plunkett Church in Belfast by his brothers Kieran (second left) and Sean (second right) on Nov. 14. The remains were found in a bog 36 years after Megrew was taken by the IRA. He was one of the many who died or disappeared during the decades-long Troubles between Protestant loyalists and Catholic republicans in Northern Ireland.
Liam McBurney PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 8:25 am

Sixteen years ago, the Good Friday peace agreement ended the violent conflict in Northern Ireland by creating a power-sharing government. Around the world, people point to the agreement as a model for how to resolve ethnic conflicts.

And yet, political leaders in Northern Ireland are still struggling to bring Protestant and Catholic groups together. The fact that this is even an issue might surprise many people.

When I visited Belfast, I found a city still profoundly divided.

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The Salt
5:36 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

A depiction of "Gin Lane," filled with sins caused by drunken revelries.
William Hogarth/Wikimedia

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 11:57 am

In Scotland, some long-time whisky makers are switching over to gin. In Germany, people who distill traditional brandies are doing the same. The world is in the middle of a gin distillery boom, and it is coming to America.

One place to find the roots of this boom is London, where 250 distilleries once existed in the city limits alone.

For Charles Maxwell, this story is personal. "My great-great-grandfather was apprenticed in the city of London in the 1680s to learn how to make gin," Maxwell says. "And from that day to this, we've distilled gin in London."

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