Michele Kelemen

A former NPR Moscow bureau chief, Michele Kelemen now covers the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In her latest beat, Kelemen has been traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton before him, tracking the Obama administration's broad foreign policy agenda from Asia to the Middle East. She also followed President Bush's Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and was part of the NPR team that won the 2007 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of the war in Iraq.

As NPR's Moscow bureau chief, Kelemen chronicled the end of the Yeltsin era and Vladimir Putin's consolidation of power. She recounted the terrible toll of the latest war in Chechnya, while also reporting on a lighter side of Russia, with stories about modern day Russian literature and sports.

Kelemen came to NPR in September 1998, after eight years working for the Voice of America. There, she learned the ropes as a news writer, newscaster and show host.

Michele earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Russian and East European Affairs and International Economics.

The great mystery behind what hurt two dozen U.S. diplomatic personnel in Cuba remains unsolved, according to a Senate hearing on Tuesday. But an FBI investigation is casting doubt on a once-popular theory: that embassy staff were the victims of "sonic attacks."

According to a report seen by the Associated Press, an FBI investigation has turned up no evidence that sound waves harmed American diplomats in Havana.

The Middle East is a region that is used to diplo-speak. When U.S. officials talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they usually parse their words carefully. President Trump, though, is changing that, and it is causing confusion.

Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley explained to the world that although the administration decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, its final status is still up for negotiation.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. would negotiate with North Korea without demanding that the country first agree to nuclear disarmament. This marks a significant change in a approach for Tillerson, who has spent much of this year working on the pressure campaign to cut off financial resources for the North Korean nuclear program.

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The State Department is ordering the Cuban embassy in Washington to downsize, expelling 15 Cuban officials. They have 7 days to leave.

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The Trump administration is cutting the number of refugees the U.S. will accept into the country, and Democrats say that is sending the wrong signal. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has differed with President Trump over a number of significant foreign policy issues — North Korea, Iran and Qatar, to name a few. But when Tillerson distanced himself from the president on the question of American values — telling Fox News Sunday that the president "speaks for himself" by blaming "both sides" for violence that took place during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. — questions grew over whether he would soon be out of office.

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Charlottesville, Va., is still trying to recover after the deadly white supremacist rally there earlier this month. The city held a town hall yesterday, looking for ways to move forward. NPR's Michele Kelemen was there.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he is staying on the job.

(SOUNBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

REX TILLERSON: I'm not going anywhere.

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President Trump's administration says it's trying harder to bring home American citizens detained in Iran. Iran seems to be hinting that it wants another prisoner swap, as the Obama administration once negotiated.

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday, in what Poroshenko had earlier described as part of a "substantial visit" and the White House called a "drop-in."

Ukraine is concerned about what the Trump administration's efforts to improve relations with Russia might mean for its own relationship with Washington.

The White House didn't exactly roll out the red carpet for the Ukrainian leader — he dropped in to the Oval Office to see Trump following a meeting with Vice President Pence.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he wants flexibility as he tries to improve ties with Russia. U.S. lawmakers, however, are going in another direction.

The Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia and to make sure the Trump administration doesn't change course without congressional buy-in.

President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to complain about Democratic "OBSTRUCTIONISTS," blaming the Senate for being slow to approve his nominees, including his ambassadors.

A spokesman for the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee threw it right back, saying Trump should be spending less time on Twitter and more time actually filling those positions.

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Conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa are putting over 24 million children at risk, according to alarming new research by the U.N. Children's Fund.

"Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, countless children are dying in silence from diseases that could easily be prevented and treated," says Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

His staff put together some staggering statistics.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the Trump administration is open to direct talks with North Korea as long as the agenda is right — that is, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

As he prepared to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on the subject, Tillerson sat down with NPR's Steve Inskeep to explain his approach. The secretary says North Korea has to come to the table willing to talk about giving up its nuclear weapons.

Beth Herman says she's praying a lot these days for her brother, who was detained by Turkish authorities last October and has been in prison since December.

Andrew Brunson is an evangelical Presbyterian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, Herman says, serving as the pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church.

"He's there because he loves Turkey and the people of Turkey," Herman says.

Brunson, 48, was charged with being part of an armed terrorist group, something Herman and his other supporters say is "totally false."

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