Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Nelson was also based in Cairo for NPR and covered the Arab World from the Middle East to North Africa during the Arab Spring. In 2006, Nelson opened NPR's first bureau in Kabul, from where she provided listeners in an in-depth sense of life inside Afghanistan, from the increase in suicide among women in a country that treats them as second class citizens to the growing interference of Iran and Pakistan in Afghan affairs. For her coverage of Afghanistan, she won a Peabody Award, Overseas Press Club Award, and the Gracie in 2010. She received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award from Colby College in 2011 for her coverage in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Nelson spent 20 years as newspaper reporter, including as Knight Ridder's Middle East Bureau Chief. While at the Los Angeles Times, she was sent on extended assignment to Iran and Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She spent three years an editor and reporter for Newsday and was part of the team that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for covering the crash of TWA Flight 800.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Nelson speaks Farsi, Dari and German.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted from power in the early days of the Arab Spring, has died at the age of 91.

Egypt's government has announced three days of public mourning for Mubarak, who is to be buried in a military funeral.

A statement from the Egyptian presidency said it "mourns with great sorrow" Mubarak's death in light of his role as a hero of the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, which it said "restored dignity and pride" among Arab nations.

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Our Women on the Ground takes readers to places few dare to go, like the eastern Aleppo home of Zaina Erhaim. The Syrian journalist's prized possession is her video camera, and she urges a friend to bring it to her at the hospital should her building be bombed and reduced to rubble.

She writes: "My camera, my passport, and I live or die together."

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In an emotional farewell for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Christian Democratic Union party delegates gathered to elect a successor in Hamburg, the city where Merkel was born.

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Britain's effort to leave the European Union forces the country to reckon with the many ways Britain has woven into Europe. More than 300 years ago during a war, the British obtained Gibraltar with its famous rock at the mouth of the Mediterranean.

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In Germany, Angela Merkel has announced that she will not seek another term as chancellor and will also not seek re-election as head of her Christian Democratic Party. That is a post she has held for 18 years. And the decision to step aside signals the beginning of the end of Merkel's political career and tenure as the most powerful woman in European politics. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is one of our correspondents based in Europe. She has covered much of Merkel's political career and joins me now. Hi, Soraya.

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German support for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservatives is at an all-time low, and in few places is that more evident than Bavaria.

A booming economy and ever fewer migrants crossing the border into the wealthy alpine state haven't eased a populist backlash against the Christian Social Union (CSU), which is the closest ally of Merkel's party, the Christian Democrats (CDU). The CSU has governed Bavaria for all but three years since 1946, most of the time with an absolute majority.

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For decades, the label "Made in Germany" has stood for quality and a guarantee of expensive, precision engineering. Conversely, "Made in China" has long been a marker of substandard, cheap, knockoff products. But this is changing.

Beijing's "Made in China 2025" policy aims to transform its manufacturing sector into an excellence-driven, global leader in high-end technology. While Germany still has the edge in engineering expertise, a steady increase in the number of Chinese firms buying up key German tech firms has triggered angst in Berlin.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May's hopes of persuading her peers in the European Union to keep the U.K. in the bloc's single market were dashed at an informal summit in Salzburg that ended on Thursday.

She appealed for compromise to ease the United Kingdom's departure from the EU, speaking in the theater where "So Long, Farewell" was performed by the Von Trapp family in the 1965 film The Sound of Music. But EU leaders clearly were not feeling nostalgic.

Doctors at the Charité hospital in Berlin say it's "highly plausible" Pyotr Verzilov of the Russian protest band Pussy Riot was poisoned last week, although it's unclear with what or by whom. Verzilov is currently being treated in Berlin.

"We have no indication — and this is important — that this was an infection or metabolic disease," the hospital's CEO, Dr. Karl Max Einhaeupl, told reporters at a news conference in Berlin. But "we cannot say anything about the question of how this toxin got into the body. It's not for us to answer this question."

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This past week is hardly the first time I've seen far-right groups marching on eastern German streets using forbidden Nazi imagery or slogans.

Long before Chancellor Angela Merkel decided in 2015 that Germany would unequivocally welcome the largest refugee wave in her country's modern history, neo-Nazis and other right-wing nationalists used World War II anniversaries to spread fear and clash with counter-demonstrators.

The difference back then was that few of those protestors were from the communities they demonstrated in.

Under the deal, migrants registered in other European Union countries will be held in transit centers as Germany negotiates their return. The country's rebellious interior minister had threatened to quit and pull his party from Angela Merkel's coalition government if the German chancellor did not take a harder line on asylum seekers.

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Tempers are flaring at the highest political levels in Europe — to the point that even the typically stoic German chancellor, Angela Merkel, appears on edge.

A clear sign surfaced Thursday morning, when Merkel tried briefing the German parliament about the European Union summit now underway in Brussels. Hecklers kept interrupting her as she spoke about the need for improved border security and keeping migrants who apply for asylum elsewhere from then doing the same in Germany.

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Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Richard Grenell has been the U.S. ambassador to Germany for barely a month, but already politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are demanding he be recalled.

On Thursday, Hamburg became the first city in Germany to ban diesel vehicles on its streets — at least in part. But many Germans question whether the limited ban is an environmental milestone, as the city claims, or a political shell game that will ultimately create more pollution.

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