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Lauren Frayer

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.

Before moving to India, Lauren was a regular freelance contributor to NPR for seven years, based in Madrid. During that time, she substituted for NPR bureau chiefs in Seoul, London, Istanbul, Islamabad, and Jerusalem. She also served as a guest host of Weekend Edition Sunday.

In Europe, Lauren chronicled the economic crisis in Spain & Portugal, where youth unemployment spiked above 50%. She profiled a Portuguese opera singer-turned protest leader, and a 90-year-old survivor of the Spanish Civil War, exhuming her father's remains from a 1930s-era mass grave. From Paris, Lauren reported live on NPR's Morning Edition, as French police moved in on the Charlie Hebdo terror suspects. In the fall of 2015, Lauren spent nearly two months covering the flow of migrants & refugees across Hungary & the Balkans – and profiled a Syrian rapper among them. She interviewed a Holocaust survivor who owed his life to one kind stranger, and managed to get a rare interview with the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders – by sticking her microphone between his bodyguards in the Hague.

Farther afield, she introduced NPR listeners to a Pakistani TV evangelist, a Palestinian surfer girl in Gaza, and K-pop performers campaigning in South Korea's presidential election.

Lauren has also contributed to The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the BBC.

Her international career began in the Middle East, where she was an editor on the Associated Press' Middle East regional desk in Cairo, and covered the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Syria and southern Lebanon. In 2007, she spent a year embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, an assignment for which the AP nominated her and her colleagues for a Pulitzer Prize.

On a break from journalism, Lauren drove a Land Rover across Africa for a year, from Cairo to Cape Town, sleeping in a tent on the car's roof. She once made the front page of a Pakistani newspaper, simply for being a woman commuting to work in Islamabad on a bicycle.

Born and raised in a suburb of New York City, Lauren holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from The College of William & Mary in Virginia. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese, rusty French and Arabic, and is now learning Hindi.

A crazy-haired populist born in New York is splitting his conservative party ahead of a hotly contested vote. He's wealthy but appeals to working-class voters. He's keen to point out President Obama's Kenyan roots. Lots of people call him by his first name only.

And he's not Donald Trump.

On the banks of a canal in industrial east London sits Britain's oldest salmon smokehouse: H. Forman & Son.

Inside, 80 employees help fillet and salt salmon by hand, then hang the fish in giant smokers. It's the same method used by the company's founder, Harry Forman, 111 years ago.

"He was an Eastern European Jewish immigrant that fled the pogroms — he came from Ukraine — and settled in London's East End in the late 19th century," says his great-grandson Lance Forman.

Karishma Kapoor, 20, is a business student, and a fan of soccer — or football, as the game is known outside the U.S. She's also a betting woman. One day last August, she was at her grandmother's house.

"We just all sat 'round just talking, and then football came up. And we thought, 'Why not?'" Kapoor recalls. "It's only a pound, so we put 2 pounds on, at 5,000-to-one odds."

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Gibraltar, a tiny British territory at Europe's southern tip, is famous for its geography — a huge limestone rock — that appears on the Prudential logo.

It's a global center for offshore banking, with the trappings of wealth to prove it: Luxury high-rises tower over super yachts in Gibraltar's marina. The 2.6-square-mile territory boasts a standard of living several times higher than surrounding areas across the border in Spain.

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When Britons vote this summer on whether to exit the European Union, one of the key battlegrounds in what's being called the 'Brexit' will be Gibraltar.

The 2.6-square-mile peninsula at Spain's southern tip is geographically part of the European continent, but has been British territory for more than 300 years. That means its citizens, United Kingdom passport holders, have the right to vote on June 23.

This week, Gibraltar hosted rival rallies by advocates for and against continued EU membership.

Every day at 2 p.m., Antonio Davila rolls the metal shutters down over the front of his computer repair shop in central Madrid. He heads home for lunch, picks up his kids at school — and then goes back to work from 5 to 9 p.m. He's originally from Peru, and says Spanish hours took some getting used to.

"The sun sets later here, and that affects people's habits," Davila says. "I open my shop around 10:30 a.m., close in the afternoon, and then stay open later at night."

In a cramped ground floor office in Madrid, Alejandro Gonzalez Raga recalls the day of his arrest in Cuba, 13 years ago.

There was a knock at the door. It was Cuban state security.

"They said, 'You are detained in the name of the people,'" he recalls. "Well that's one I'd never heard before — 'in the name of the people.' Then they took me away."

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Turkey has now signed an agreement with the 28 countries of the European Union. It's an attempt to stem the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe. From Brussels, Lauren Frayer reports.

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As hundreds of thousands of Arab and African migrants arrive in Europe, Spanish lawmakers meet to discuss the continent's crisis — and all eyes are on one woman. She's the only national politician whose skin is the same color as many of the African migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Spain. But she made a different journey from Africa.

"I was born in Equatorial Guinea when it was a Spanish colony," explains Rita Bosaho, Spain's first black member of parliament. "My parents died when I was very young, and I came to live with a foster family in Spain."

Ascensión Mendieta has finally found her father.

Mendieta is 90 now. She was 13 when she last saw him. He was marched away from their home in the middle of the night, with a stranger holding a pistol to his head. The year was 1939.

Spain's three-year Civil War, pitting Nazi-backed Fascists against Communist-backed Republicans, had just ended. Half a million Spaniards had been killed. But the violence didn't stop. Fascist forces loyal to General Francisco Franco, the victor, continued to execute opponents for months and even years after the war officially ended.

In an interview, Syrian President Bashar Assad accused more than 80 countries of supporting terrorists in Syria, and he said he wants to go down in history as "the one who saved his country."

Spain's royals don't keep their yachts at the Royal Yacht Club anymore.

The posh nautical club on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca still hosts a King's Cup sailing regatta each year. But the Spanish royal family are no longer regulars.

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Last September, Miguel Ángel Galán was busy in his office south of Madrid when he happened to glance up at a TV on in the background.

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