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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For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England has hired composers to write original music for its productions. That sheet music has sat in a vault for decades — until now.

The company has started releasing albums that combine music from its contemporary productions with much older works.

Bruce O'Neill, head of music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, describes the archive as "a bit like a bank vault."

In Washington Thursday, a group of experts from across the government will hold its first meeting to address the practice known as female genital mutilation. This is one issue where the U.K. is far ahead of the United States.

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It's lunchtime at Drummond Community High School in Edinburgh. The kids are all wearing the uniform of a smart black blazer, white shirt and blue tie. Some 16- and 17-year-olds are here with their cheese sandwiches and their baked potatoes.

They get to cast ballots Thursday in what looks to be a close vote on whether Scotland will become independent or remain part of the United Kingdom.

Here's what some of them are saying:

"Scotland will be a richer country if there's a 'yes' vote" for independence, says Calum Preston. "It's just a fact."

It's pouring in Edinburgh, and the fog is so thick you can barely see to the end of the block.

People walking through the city center duck out of the rain into a little stone alcove to talk about the subject on everyone's mind — Thursday's big vote on whether Scotland will become an independent country.

The latest polls show the race is extremely tight.

In the Edinburgh rain, a striking number of voters have recently changed their minds. Michael Constantine says he and his parents all switched sides.

Editor's Note: The Glenturret distillery announced Wednesday that Peat the kitten was killed. It was found on the side of the road near the distillery and was presumably hit by a car. The accident took place on Monday, the day before this story aired and was published online, but the distillery did not make the announcement until Wednesday.

As the great poet T.S. Eliot once said:

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I'm Melissa Block.

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For a visitor to Scotland, it can be difficult to understand the local passion for a neon orange soda that locals call "the brew." The drink is Irn Bru (pronounced "iron brew").

You can find it from McDonald's to corner stores and pubs across Scotland. It is such a powerful force that it may even outsell Coca-Cola here — making it one of the few places on the globe where Coke isn't the leading brand.

"This stuff runs in my blood," says Chris Young, as he walks through downtown Glasgow carrying a bottle.

An investigation out on Tuesday documents the abuse of more than 1,400 children in Rotherham, England, and says local authorities were aware of the problem for years and did not respond.

Alexis Jay, who authored the report, used to be chief inspector of social work in Scotland.

After 300 years in the United Kingdom, Scotland votes next month on whether to break the union, which raises many questions. One is particularly meaningful in the town of Helensburgh, in Western Scotland: What will happen to the U.K.'s nuclear weapons?

The Trident submarine program is based in Scotland, at Faslane naval base.

British authorities are trying to identify the masked man who executed American photojournalist James Foley in a video that has caused massive global reaction.

The man — who appears wearing all black, holding a knife, and wearing a gun holster — speaks in an accent that linguists say sounds like someone from East or South London. The video yields other clues to the man's identity, such as his height and the fact that he's left-handed.

At 6:30 in the morning, not many people have dancing on their mind. Freshly brewed coffee, perhaps, or the papers. Maybe some public radio. But not a party.

On a street in East London, however, the sun is rising over the rooftops, and a line of people are waiting to get into a warehouse. Most were fast asleep an hour ago, but by now they're wearing fluorescent neon tights, brightly colored headbands and leggings. Some have decorated themselves with face paint.

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It's a Wednesday afternoon in London and a bunch of kids are standing outside a West End theater, giddily unaware that their parents have just shelled out a lot of money for the experience they're about to have. A giant sign over their heads shows a silhouette of a girl standing on a swing, her hair flying behind her in the wind — it's a matinee performance of Matilda.

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The deadly war in the Gaza Strip and Israel is being fought with rockets and guns. It's also being fought with tweets and viral videos.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on the latest news from the Gaza Strip, where Israel has undertaken a ground invasion against Hamas operatives. It's the first time in five years that the Israeli military has conducted a ground operation.

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

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An attempt at a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas has broken down. Hamas rejected the terms of the cease-fire, and Israel renewed its campaign of air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

While the Israel-Gaza conflict pits Israelis against Palestinians, it has also increased stress within the Palestinian leadership.

The Gaza Strip is run by Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group and favors a strategy of resistance. The West Bank is run by Fatah, which is more moderate and favors an olive-branch approach.

The last time Israel and Hamas fought each other was 2012. Back then, the conflict lasted eight days.

Tuesday marks the eighth day of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, which raises the question: What might it take to bring this fight to a close?

Both Israel and Hamas say they are unwilling to sign on to a straightforward, put-down-your-weapons, bare-bones ceasefire. They say quiet for quiet, calm for calm, is not enough.

They want more.

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As we mentioned, no Israelis have been killed by rocket fire, but one strike today did cause severe injuries and damage. Around 8:30 in the morning local time, a rocket struck a gas station in Ashdod. One man was sent to the hospital seriously wounded. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports this increases the internal pressure on Israel to stage a ground invasion.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: A taxi driver Avram Ayash, comes to this gas station every day. This morning he watched the place go up in flames.

Israel's military says its rocket defense system, known as Iron Dome, has kept the country safe from Hamas rockets. The missile shield system may have its critics, but Israelis are still proud.

More than 50 Palestinians have been killed and 450 wounded in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, rockets continue to fly toward Israel from Gaza, but so far, no Israelis have been reported killed.

For people living in and around the Gaza Strip, this conflict has turned daily routines upside down. Life is punctuated by sirens and explosions.

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Drive around the Shetland Islands in the far north of Scotland, and at least one thing is immediately apparent: It's home to a lot of sheep. They're everywhere — wandering along the roadsides and on beaches.

In fact, there are some 400,000 of them in Shetland, where the ovine inhabitants outnumber the human ones 20 to 1.

So if you're invited to someone's home for dinner, lamb will likely be on the table. And if you're wearing a local scarf or mittens, chances are it was made out of Shetland wool.

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