Philip Reeves

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reeves has spent two and half decades working as a journalist overseas, reporting from a wide range of places including the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asia.

He is a member of the NPR team that won highly prestigious Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University and George Foster Peabody awards for coverage of the conflict in Iraq. Reeves has been honored several times by the South Asian Journalists' Association.

Reeves has been covering South Asia for more than 10 years. He has traveled widely in Pakistan and India, taking NPR listeners on voyages along the Ganges River and the ancient Grand Trunk Road.

Reeves joined NPR in 2004, after 17 years as a international correspondent for the British daily newspaper, The Independent. During the early stages of his career, he worked for BBC radio and television after training on the Bath Chronicle newspaper in western Britain.

Over the years, Reeves has covered a wide range of stories - from Boris Yeltsin's erratic presidency, the economic rise of India, the rise and fall of Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf, conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Reeves holds a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University. His family originates from Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Brazil's army says it's dispatching nearly 1,000 troops to the country's largest shanty-town – or "favela" – in the hope of ending a wave of deadly violence that began nearly one week ago.

This afternoon military trucks carrying soldiers brandishing assault weapons began rumbling up to the edge of Rocinha, a sprawl of tumble-down hillside homes, shops, narrow streets and tiny alleys in the south of Rio de Janeiro.

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In Brazil, a corruption scandal has many people pushing for president Michel Temer to leave office. And NPR's Philip Reeves discovered that this political fight reached a picturesque place in Rio de Janeiro.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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Up first, this day marks the anniversary of the start of Venezuela's struggle for independence in 1810. We normally wouldn't mention that here this morning but many Venezuelans plan to spend this day protesting their government.

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Brazil has long been awash with corruption scandals, but the latest to erupt is about an issue that is particularly close to the nation's heart and stomach — and its wallet.

Few people are more prolific meat-eaters than the Brazilians, and few are more passionate about the merits of the barbecue, or churrasco.

They grill with gusto at almost any opportunity — on the beach, the sidewalk, at soccer games and even at protest rallies, where the whiff of sizzling sausage competes with the eye-watering stink of tear gas.

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You would think the people of Brazil would be hard to shock after the turbulence that they have endured in the past few years, including a deep recession, and the impeachment of a president.

But today's sudden death of a Supreme Court justice who was a pivotal player in an investigation into the huge Petrobras corruption scandal has come as a blow to the nation of such severity that the government has called for three days of national mourning.

When Donald Trump finally has his feet under the desk in the Oval Office and opens the files marked "Afghanistan" and "Pakistan," he will find much to worry about.

Relations between Pakistan and India, which both have big nuclear arsenals, are in crisis. These days, their armies regularly trade shots along the Line of Control, the de facto border in disputed Kashmir — sometimes with fatal consequences.

Fears abound that Afghanistan could melt down into violent chaos that could spill beyond its boundaries.

Aizaz Azam is a young police detective in Pakistan whose brief career has been devoted to busting minor prostitution and gambling rackets and sorting out street brawls.

Now, though, he's slogging away for up to 20 hours a day, working his first major case. It involves a crime so ruthless that Azam says he and his fellow cops feel "strangely unsettled in our souls."

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It took Abdul Arian months to realize that his decision to migrate from his home country, Afghanistan, to Germany was a huge mistake.

He set off nearly a year ago, hoping to be granted asylum so he could attend a university and study psychology.

His journey, organized by smugglers, was long and perilous. Arian, 24, says he nearly drowned off the shores of Greece, when the inflatable dinghy he was traveling in capsized.

He says he and his fellow travelers got lost somewhere in Hungary and walked through the rain for 24 hours before they found the path again.

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In Pakistan, there aren't a whole lot of stand-up comics.

"When it comes to satire, I think as a culture, we kind of struggle with it," says Pakistani stand-up pioneer Saad Haroon.

His humor shines a light into some delicate areas.

"I wrote this song called 'Burqa Woman,' which is a parody of 'Pretty Woman,' " Harron says.

He gives the audience a taste of his act:

Burqa woman, in your black sheet

Burqa woman, with your sexy feet

Burqa woman, my love for you, it grows

Every time I see your nose

As soon as the pink-clad Ayesha Mumtaz steps out of her car, word of her arrival spreads along the street like a forest fire. Storekeepers begin shooing away customers, hauling down the shutters, and heading into the shadows in the hope that Mumtaz's scrutinizing eye will not fall on them.

These traders would sooner lose business than risk a visit from a woman whose campaign to clean up the kitchens and food factories of Pakistan has made her a national celebrity, nicknamed "The Fearless One."

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Shortly before he was put to death, Aftab Bahadur wrote an essay. He spoke of his alienation and loneliness, of the comfort he found in art and poetry, and of the anguish of awaiting execution on death row in Pakistan.

"I doubt there is anything more dreadful than being told that you are going to die, and then sitting in a prison cell just waiting for that moment," he said, according to a text translated from Urdu and released by Reprieve, a human rights group based in Britain.

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Transcript

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