Alex Leff

Alex Leff is a digital editor on NPR's International Desk, helping oversee coverage from journalists around the world for its growing Internet audience. He was previously a senior editor at GlobalPost and PRI, where he wrote stories and edited the work of international correspondents.

Among his proud achievements, Leff helped edit GlobalPost's investigation into the Catholic Church's pattern of reshuffling priests accused of abuse into South American parishes, a series that won a Religion News Association award in 2016.

Earlier in his career, Leff reported in Spain and Costa Rica. In San José, Costa Rica, Alex was a reporter for Reuters, the online editor at The Tico Times newspaper and a correspondent with GlobalPost, among other outlets.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Leff earned a master's in journalism in Spanish at the University of Barcelona in conjunction with Columbia University.

It was in the early evening of Aug. 4 when two blasts convulsed Beirut. First, onlookers saw a major fire at the Mediterranean port. Then there was an explosion, and then another, shooting seismic waves through Lebanon's capital and a huge mushroom cloud into the sky.

More than 170 people died and thousands were injured. The scale of devastation — to buildings, infrastructure and people's livelihoods — is difficult to capture as residents take stock of the damage.

World events in 2019 certainly kept NPR's international desk busy, whether it was the trade fight with China or Brexit, another Israeli election or massive protests from Hong Kong to Iraq, Chile to Zimbabwe.

Amid the constant whirl of news, the foreign bureaus were also hard at work producing the feature stories that NPR is known for. They made long journeys, dug into data and spent time with farmers living beside glaciers; oppressed minorities; politicians; doctors and researchers; concerned parents; civilian survivors of war; and sometimes fighters, too.

President Trump has signed a bill signaling support for Hong Kong's protests, prompting Beijing to issue a sharp response and summon the U.S. ambassador to China.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 allows the United States to level sanctions on individuals who carry out human rights violations in Hong Kong, which has been rocked by mass protests for more than five months.

Updated on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET

In Iraq and Syria, news of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death has stirred a mix of responses — from joy to disbelief to dread.

Since President Trump announced this weekend that Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, analysts have been grappling with the implications for the militant organization that has now lost its main chief in addition to all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria.

Mongolia is changing. Rivers are dry. Pastureland is giving way to mines. And wintertime smog obscures the famed blue sky. How did Mongolia get here? It's a story of internal migration and economic transformation in an era of climate change.

Explore the visual narrative at https://apps.npr.org/mongolia/

Updated on Feb. 25 at 5:45 p.m. ET

When President Trump spoke in Florida earlier this month, he issued a stern warning about Venezuela: Members of the armed forces who continue to support President Nicolás Maduro "will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out," he said. "You will lose everything."

A heavy barrage of news dominated headlines in 2018, but NPR's international correspondents continued to delve into underreported stories that mattered.

Here is a selection of original reporting from around the world that may have slipped under your radar amid the year's relentless news cycle.

In January, Pope Francis traveled to South America to spread peace and hope. Many cheered him on, but he also wound up causing emotional pain when he dismissed accusations that Chilean clergy had covered up sexual abuse.

In the weeks that followed, the Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator looked into the allegations, and the pope did an about-face: He acknowledged making mistakes.

Now, Francis has been apologizing and listening to some of those he offended most.