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.

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Updated at 8:08 p.m. ET

President Trump has chosen John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, to be his next national security adviser.

The appointment comes just as those two foreign policy challenges come to a head.

Bolton replaces H.R. McMaster, who Trump said Thursday via Twitter is leaving the administration. Bolton takes over from McMaster effective April 9, the president also said.

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Here's something else President Trump said today about a possible opening for diplomacy with North Korea.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The Trump administration is withholding half of its planned aid to the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees. The former U.S. Army officer who directs the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in the West Bank is in Washington, trying to figure out what it will take to have that money restored.

Before heading to the White House, Scott Anderson spoke to NPR on Wednesday about the case he is making.

The United States contributed $60 million to UNRWA this year but is withholding another $65 million for further consideration.

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In the dimly lit basement of what was once a soccer stadium in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph L. Votel and Mark Green, the U.S. Agency for International Development administrator, walked through the rubble on Monday and listened to a U.S. military escort tell stories about what went on there when the city was under ISIS control.

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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.

In summing up his year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a State Department town hall meeting in mid-December he has no diplomatic wins on the board. "Diplomacy is not that simple," he said. But Tillerson believes his restructuring plan — which includes improving IT systems and streamlining the bureaucracy — has put the State Department in a better place.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he has not put any diplomatic wins on the board this year, but he believes his reforms are putting the State Department in a better, more efficient place.

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Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Egypt next month, and there's a group of Americans watching that trip very closely. They are the friends and relatives of people who've been swept up in arrests in Egypt over the past few years.

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