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.

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Parallels
5:32 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Anti-Gay Riot In Tblisi Tests Balance Between Church, State

Anti-gay protesters try to attack a bus with gay activists who are being taken away from a pro-gay-rights rally by police for their own protection in Tblisi, Georgia, on May 17. Thousands of anti-gay protesters, including Orthodox priests, occupied a central street in Georgia's capital.
Shakh Aivazov AP

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 8:06 pm

While gay rights have been gaining ground in the West, they've been facing a strong backlash in many countries of the former Soviet Union.

Russia recently passed a law that makes it a crime to give information about "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors.

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News
6:16 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Public Opinion May Give Russia An Edge In Snowden Case

Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena is representing NSA contractor Edward Snowden, said Russia has three months to consider his request for temporary asylum.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Sat July 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin keeps insisting that he doesn't want the case of a fugitive American intelligence contractor to harm relations between Russia and the United States.

But Edward Snowden remains an irritant, stuck in diplomatic limbo in the transit area of a Moscow airport.

A Putin spokesman said Friday that the issue is being discussed by the Russian federal security service — the FSB — and the FBI, but it may be that Snowden has become a problem that can only be solved at the top of the two governments.

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Europe
6:00 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Russian Opposition Leader Convicted Amid Controversy

A Russian court has convicted one of the country's most prominent opposition leaders of embezzlement. Alexei Navalny faces a sentence of five years in prison in a controversial case that he says was trumped up to derail his political career. Navalny was instrumental in organizing mass protests against the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Salt
5:18 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

The Secret To Georgian Grilled Meats? Grapevines And Lots Of Wine

Shashlik cooks on a hot grill. Kakheti, the easternmost province in the Republic of Georgia, is known for meats grilled over grapevines, which burn quickly, leaving a heap of finger-sized coals.
Nick Grabowski via Flickr

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 3:27 pm

Tucked between Russia and Turkey, the Republic of Georgia is renowned for great food: cheese dishes, pickles, breads and stews. This is a cuisine that you should not miss.

And on summer evenings in the capital, Tbilisi, the air is fragrant with the smells of one of Georgian cookery's highlights: grilled meat, or shashlik.

You can find good shashlik at restaurants with white tablecloths, but the very best in all Tbilisi is said to be at a roadside stop called Mtsvadi Tsalamze. It's an unassuming place with rows of wooden picnic tables in an open yard.

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Environment
5:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Environmentalists Warn Olympic Games Will Harm Sochi

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:19 am

Russia is preparing for the 2014 Winter Games — turning a sleepy valley in the Northern Caucasus Mountains into an Olympic village, with brand-new facilities for every Alpine sport. Officials say it will be a world-class destination for winter-sports enthusiasts long after the Games are over. Environmentalists say it's an ecological disaster in the making.

Shots - Health News
3:44 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

'Sputnik' Orbits A Russian City, Finding And Healing Tuberculosis

Nurse Marina Bogdanova, with Sputnik, gives medications to Sergei Gaptenko, who is close to finishing treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Konstantin Salomatin for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 8:33 am

Russia is confronting one of its most serious public health threats since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The threat is tuberculosis, but with a dangerous twist: Strains of the bacteria are widely circulating that are resistant to ordinary anti-TB drugs, and far harder to cure.

In parts of Siberia, nearly 30 percent of all tuberculosis cases aren't treatable by two of the most potent medications, the World Health Organization reported last year.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Treating The 'Body And Soul' In A Russian TB Prison

An inmate practices for the yearly talent show in the prison's concert hall. Such cultural activities are part of the hospital's treatment, which combines correction with education, medical and psychological therapy.
Konstantin Salomatin/for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:41 am

Igor Davydenko is rail-thin with dark circles under his eyes. He has a haunted look, reinforced by black prison overalls with reflective tape on the shoulders and cuffs.

Davydenko could be labeled as a loser in many ways. The 31-year-old is a drug addict, serving time for robbery and assault. He's serving his third stretch in a Siberian prison.

But Davydenko is about to become a winner in at least one way. If all goes well, he will soon be declared cured of one of the deadliest forms of tuberculosis.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
3:18 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Investigating The Boston Bombing ... In Southern Russia

Investigators work at the site of a bombing in the Dagestan capital, Makhachkala, last year. The blasts near a police post killed at least 15 people. The southern Russian republic has seen persistent violence.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:59 pm

The search for the motivations of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers stretches from New England to Central Asia, but a lot of attention has been focused on Dagestan.

The mostly Muslim republic is located in the southernmost part of Russia, and it's been the battleground in a low-level insurgency that takes lives nearly every day.

One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, traveled to Dagestan twice in recent years, and investigators want to know whether that experience led him toward a radical and violent form of Islam.

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Europe
4:42 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Retaliating Against U.S., Russia Bars 18 Americans

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 1:28 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Tensions have been increasing between the United States and Russia, and things unraveled even more over the weekend. Russia named 18 Americans who will be barred from entering Russia because of an alleged involvement in human rights violations. Here's NPR's Corey Flintoff.

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Europe
5:02 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Emigre Artist Sculpted Exquisite Gems Of Russian Folk Life

Bosom Pals, an iconic sculpture by Russian artist Vasily Konovalenko.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 8:20 pm

A team of American researchers is on a treasure hunt for jewels — of both artistic and historic value.

This month, researchers from Denver were in Russia to document the work of Vasily Konovalenko, a former ballet set designer turned sculptor, who created scenes from Russian folk life in semiprecious stones.

In the 1980s, Konovalenko emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union in search of artistic freedom. Now, his legacy is divided between the U.S. and Russia.

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Europe
5:19 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Ex-Diplomats: U.S.-Russian Relations Not As Dire As They Seem

Former U.S. and Russian diplomats gather at RIA Novosti in Moscow on Tuesday. From left: former Russian or Soviet ambassadors to the U.S. Vladimir Lukin, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Viktor Komplektov; Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute of USA and Canada; and former U.S. ambassadors to Russia James Collins, Jack Matlock, Thomas Pickering and John Beyrle.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 1:11 am

Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.

But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.

Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.

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Europe
3:13 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Once Championed By Putin, Medvedev Falls Precipitously Out Of Favor

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, heads a State Council session alongside Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last year. Increasing political attacks on Medvedev have accompanied Putin's suspicions about his erstwhile partner's ambitions.
Yekaterina Shtukina AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appears increasingly isolated from the centers of power surrounding President Vladimir Putin.

Analysts say Medvedev is the target of a campaign to wreck his reputation and drive him from office. It's a risky situation for the former president, who was once regarded as Putin's partner.

The attacks have come from many directions. One of the harshest was an anonymous, documentary-style film that was posted on the Internet in January.

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Europe
1:32 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

In Crackdown, Some Russian Groups Labeled As 'Foreign Agents'

The chief of Amnesty International Russia, Sergei Nikitin, at his Moscow office on March 25, after Russian prosecutors and tax police carried out a search. The group is one of many that have been searched under a new law that critics say is being used to stifle dissent.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:55 pm

Russian investigators have descended on the offices of nongovernmental organizations across the country, demanding to inspect financial records and other documents.

This follows the recent passage of a law designed to impose tighter controls over these NGOs, especially those that receive funding from abroad. Critics say it's part of a broader crackdown on dissent since Vladimir Putin regained the presidency last year.

The offices of the human rights group Memorial are still abuzz after a team of government inspectors paid an unannounced visit

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Europe
5:06 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Russia's Putin Signs Controversial Adoption Bill

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 1:42 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a measure into law that would ban Americans from adopting Russian children.

Russia's parliament had overwhelmingly approved the ban, which was designed as retaliation for a new U.S. law that sanctions Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

The adoption ban stirred outrage in Russia as well as the United States.

An online petition against the measure rapidly collected more than 100,000 signatures in Russia.

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The Salt
3:33 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Wine And Food May Rekindle Love Lost Between Russia And Georgia

Eating lamb dumplings called khinkali at a table in Tbilisi, Georgia.
ostromentsky Flickr.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:10 am

It's a big day in the religious and culinary calendar of the Republic of Georgia. Georgian Orthodox believers observe Dec. 17 as St. Barbara's Day, in honor of an early Christian martyr. And they typically mark the occasion by eating a type of stuffed bread called lobiani, baked with a filling of boiled beans with coriander and onions.

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Sports
2:45 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Russia's Hockey Glad To Have NHL-Lockout Orphans

Erik Christensen, right, from Lev Praha challenges Alexander Ovechkin from Dynamo Moscow during their KHL ice hockey match in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Oct. 9. Ovechkin is among those NHL players who were signed by European clubs because of the NHL lockout.
Petr David Josek AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 3:43 am

As the National Hockey League lockout drags into its 86th day, which featured news that more games have been cancelled including the All-Star game, some of the league's biggest stars are getting plenty of action back in their home countries.

In Russia, major NHL players such as Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are giving a boost to the fledgling KHL—the Kontinental Hockey League.

Russian NHL players are scattered throughout the KHL teams that still carry names from the Soviet era when Russia dominated world hockey.

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World
6:16 am
Wed November 28, 2012

In Russia, Pro-Putin Youths Protest Mormons As 'Cult'

Activists from the Young Guard, which supports Russian President Vladimir Putin, have been protesting the Mormon church in Russia, calling it a "totalitarian cult."
Konstantin Zavrazhin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 7:48 am

Young supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin have staged several protests this month outside Mormon meeting houses, claiming that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an "authoritarian sect" with connections to the CIA and FBI.

The protesters are members of the Young Guard, a youth organization of Putin's United Russia Party. They insist their actions have nothing to do with Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate and Mormon who called Russia the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" of the U.S.

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World
2:31 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

Russia, U.S. Seek To Resolve Friction On Adoptions

Artyom Savelyev, now 9, was sent back to Russia on a plane by his adoptive U.S. mother in 2010. The case stirred anger in Russia.
Misha Japaridze AP

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 7:29 pm

Americans have been adopting Russian children in sizable numbers for two decades, and most of the unions have worked out well. But it remains a sensitive topic in Russia, where officials periodically point to high-profile cases of abuse or other problems.

Now, the two countries are putting the finishing touches on a new agreement governing these adoptions. It will make the process costlier and more time-consuming, but it's designed to address a host of concerns.

Some Russian officials still seem to bristle at the very thought of foreigners adopting Russian children.

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World
9:36 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Russia's Putin Welcomes Obama's Re-Election

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent word congratulating President Obama on his victory. Still, as NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow, during the campaign, the Russian government and state-run media sough to discredit the American electoral process.

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World
2:29 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Radio Liberty Going Off The Air In Russia

Police officers detain Kirill Filimonov, one of the supporters of Radio Liberty in Moscow during a recent protest. The service will stop AM radio broadcasts and will become an Internet operation. It can also be heard on short wave radio.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 5:42 am

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.

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Texas Company Charged In Illegal Technology Transfers To Russia

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 5:22 pm

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.

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Europe
5:20 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Opposition Victory Signals New Direction For Georgia

Georgian billionaire and opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili (left) reacts with supporters at his office on Monday. Ivanishvili defeated Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in the election, clearing the way for a new government.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 6:14 pm

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.

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Religion
5:08 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

For Hasidic Jews, A Slow, Steady Rebirth In Russia

Dovid Karpov has been the rabbi at the Darkei Shalom synagogue since it was built 15 years ago. Like many people in his congregation, Karpov grew up in a Soviet-era family that was not religious. He says he had to learn his faith for himself.
Sergei Sotnikov NPR

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 4:24 pm

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.

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NPR Story
5:18 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Some Believe U.S.-Russia Ties Will Weaken

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:28 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Foreign policy has not played much of a role in the presidential campaign, but we have a reminder this morning of how important it is to any president. And today we continue our series on foreign policy and this fall's election. We're going to focus on Russia. As NPR's Corey Flintoff reports, no matter who wins, Russians are worried.

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Europe
2:38 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Educated Russians Often Lured To Leave

Russia is suffering from an exodus of educated, talented citizens, including scientists. Here, scientists rally in Moscow to demand the government increase funding for science last October.
Kirill Kudryavtsev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 11:43 am

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.

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Europe
5:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Raid In Russia Brings Underground Sect To Light

Gumar Ganiyev opens the gates of the compound where members of the Islamic sect he belongs to have lived in seclusion since the early 2000s outside Kazan, capital of the Russian province of Tatarstan, earlier this month.
Nikolay Alexandrov AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:41 pm

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.

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The Record
4:47 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Feminist Punk Band, Imprisoned For Five Months, Gets Next Gig: Russian Courtroom

Members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezha Tolokonnikova (left), Yekaterina Samutsevich (center) and Maria Alyokhina, at a hearing in Moscow court on Monday.
Andrey Smirnov Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:46 pm

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.

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Dead Stop
2:55 am
Mon June 25, 2012

In Alaskan Cemetery, Native And Orthodox Rites Mix

A spirit house in the Eklutna Cemetery in Alaska.
Diana Derby

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 11:33 am

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.

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

What We Know About The New Yemen Bomb Plot

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 4:52 pm

The latest plot to bomb a U.S. airliner has been foiled, but U.S. intelligence officials have described the bomb as a sophisticated device that's believed to be the work of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Many details are still not available, but here's what is and isn't known so far:

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Energy
12:32 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Falling Oil Prices: A Blip Or A Hint Of The Future?

Oil and gas production in the U.S. is rising, and the U.S. is expected to be less dependent on foreign energy in the coming years. This oil drilling rig, shown in October 2011, is outside Watford City, N.D., a state that has seen a boom in energy production.
Matthew Staver Landov

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 3:42 pm

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?

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