Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a blogger and producer who currently works on The Two Way, NPR's flagship blog. In the past, he has coordinated digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, and edited the rundown of All Things Considered. He frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as All Tech Considered and The Salt.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to being the lead writer and editor on the London 2012 Olympics blog, The Torch. His assignments have included being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road, as well as establishing the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR.org.

In 2009, Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that redesigned NPR's web site. One year later, the site won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to use digital tools to tell compelling stories, in addition to "evangelizing" — promoting more collaboration between legacy and digital departments.

Prior to joining NPR in late 2003, Chappell worked on the Assignment Desk at CNN International, handling coverage in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and coordinating CNN's pool coverage out of Qatar during the Iraq war.

Chappell's work for CNN also included producing Web stories and editing digital video for SI.com, and editing and producing stories for CNN.com's features division.

Before joining CNN, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

A holder of bachelor's degrees in English and History from the University of Georgia, he attended graduate school for English Literature at the University of South Carolina.

The U.S. ambassador to France has been summoned to the French Foreign Ministry to answer new claims that the NSA monitored the communications of three sitting French presidents and their top staff.

Those said to be targeted include President Francois Hollande, who is holding an emergency meeting today with top French lawmakers.

From Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports:

In what Major League Baseball says is a first, French baseball player Melissa Mayeux has had her name added to the list of international prospects who could be signed by clubs on July 2.

At age 16, Mayeux plays shortstop for two of France's national teams: the U-18 junior squad and the senior softball team. She's known as a smooth fielder who can also handle a bat.

The Solar Impulse, an aircraft that generates power solely from the sun's energy, is set to embark on the longest leg of its planned round-the-world journey: a trip of some 115 hours between Nagoya, Japan, and Hawaii. But weather concerns have forced another delay.

The Solar Impulse 2 had initially been slated to take off from Japan around 1:30 p.m. ET.

New images of Ceres are the clearest ever taken, but NASA's scientists still haven't figured out the enigmatic dwarf planet. The agency's latest photos of Ceres show multiple bright spots — and a "pyramid-shaped peak towering over a relatively flat landscape."

That's according to an update posted by the space agency, saying that Ceres and its bright spots "continue to mystify."

Update: 11:30 p.m. ET

In a statement Tuesday night, the talent agency that represented Horner mourned "the tragic passing of our dear colleague."

South Carolina's most prominent political leaders say it's time for their state to stop flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of its Statehouse. Gov. Nikki Haley made their position clear Monday afternoon, speaking alongside Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Tim Scott and others.

Calls for moving the Confederate battle flag have grown since the shooting of nine black church members in Charleston last week. After speaking about the efforts to cope with that tragedy, Haley said that she has seen "the heart and soul" of South Carolina.

President Obama talks about his own life, America's race relations and the trouble with politics during the much-anticipated new episode of the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, in an interview that is making headlines for its candid discussion of race.

Calling Wednesday's killing of nine black church members in Charleston, S.C., a hate crime, the head of the NAACP says it's not appropriate for South Carolina to keep flying the Confederate flag at its state house.

"The flag has to come down," NAACP President Cornell Brooks told a crowd gathered for a midday news conference Friday.

Federal agents have arrested 243 people — including 46 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals — who are accused of running up more than $700 million in false Medicare billings. Charges range from fraud and money-laundering to aggravated identity theft and kickbacks.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch calls it "the largest criminal health care fraud takedown in the history of the Department of Justice."

It has become an annual process: Crows swoop down on unsuspecting Seattleites, who then call wildlife professor John Marzluff, who explains that it's simply the season for crows to dive-bomb people — and that they're mostly harmless.

The behavior, Marzluff tells member station KUOW, is tied to something many parents can understand: the empty nest.

For the next few days, two large billboards in New York's Times Square are being given over to art created by the city's public school students. The project highlights students' work that's part of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"Art is my favorite subject. It lets me see new things," artist and fifth-grader Sharon Yang told a crowd Wednesday, according to member station WNYC.

In the Holy City, it's called "Mother Emanuel." Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has a long history in which its existence was threatened — or even banned outright. Every time, the church that was the scene of Wednesday's mass shooting has survived and rebuilt.

In what researchers say is a first, they've discovered the neuron in worms that detects Earth's magnetic field. Animals have been known to sense the magnetic field; a new study identifies the microscopic, antenna-shaped sensor that helps worms orient themselves underground.

The sensory neuron that the worm C. elegans uses to migrate up or down through the soil could be similar to what many other animals use, according to the team of scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin.

If a boy named Owen suspects his stuffed tiger named Hobbes has a secret life, the staff of Tampa International Airport won't disagree. Owen recently lost Hobbes at the airport — and when he reclaimed the tiger, he also received photos of Hobbes touring the facility.

Owen, 6, had flown from Florida to Texas. His mother, Amanda Lake, says that for much of the trip, Owen was preoccupied with whether his tiger was OK.

The crime rate on the small Hebridean island of Canna, Scotland, skyrocketed overnight this week, when thieves looted a shop that had used the honor system. Locals say it's the first theft on the island in decades.

"The crimes — which included the theft of six woolly hats — are believed to be the first on Canna since a wooden plate was stolen in the 1960s," reports Scotland's STV.

When Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he's running for president, the soundtrack at the Trump Tower event was Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," which was played loudly and repeatedly. But afterward, Young said Trump had used the song without permission — and that he's a Bernie Sanders guy, anyway.

Young's manager released a statement saying:

Flood watches have been issued for areas of central and northern Texas, since Tropical Storm Bill came ashore and makes its way up the state. Rainfall of 4-8 inches is forecast in a band stretching from Texas up to Missouri, with some areas receiving up to 12 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

"These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods," the service's forecasters say.

A federal judge has sentenced Omar Gonzalez, the man who breached the Secret Service's protection by scaling a fence at the White House and then entering the building, to 17 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

In March, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to two federal offenses: unlawfully
entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon and one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees.

Update, 5 p.m. ET:

In a news conference late Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the league has been cooperating fully with the FBI investigation, and that the league will wait until that inquiry is complete to take its own actions.

"In addition to what happened, there's the question of who did it, who knew about it — you know, is the organization responsible, is the individual responsible," Manfred said. "There's a whole set of issues that are gonna need to be sorted through."

Original Post:

Saying that the United States can no longer beat its international competition, Donald Trump announced his candidacy to be the country's next president.

"Our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now," Trump said. He said that rather than being a cheerleader for America, President Obama has been "a negative force."

We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again," Trump said. At one point, he also said the country needs a leader who has written The Art of the Deal — his 1987 book.

A fourth-floor balcony gave way during a party in northern California late last night, killing at least six exchange students in a building close to the University of California, Berkeley. Seven other people were injured, some of them seriously.

Former NAACP official Rachel Dolezal shared her views on race — including her own — in a live interview Tuesday, the first time she's spoken with the media since reports emerged that questioned her racial identity.

When the Today show's Matt Lauer asked, "Are you an African-American woman?" Dolezal replied, "I identify as black."

Nearly two years after he was removed from power, former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi received two severe punishments Tuesday: life in prison for espionage charges, and a death sentence over a prison break.

The rulings in Cairo confirm sentences against Morsi that were handed down this spring. NPR's Leila Fadel reports, "The cases have been criticized as show trials with fantastical accusations."

From the courthouse, Leila reports for our Newscast unit:

Nasir al-Wahishi, the leader of al-Qaida's branch in Yemen and the group's second-in-command overall, died in a U.S. drone attack, according to a video statement that claims to be from Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The U.S. has not confirmed the account.

Al-Wahishi was part of al-Qaida's "old guard," NPR's Alice Fordham reports for Morning Edition. Al-Wahishi had fought in Afghanistan; he had also been Osama bin Laden's personal secretary.

Clinton County, N.Y., District Attorney Andrew Wylie says the search for two convicted killers who escaped from prison is costing $1 million a day. Wylie has also said the inmates may have used power tools left behind by maintenance contractors.

Officials say that it likely took weeks for the escape plan to come together, as the inmates worked their way through tunnels and utility corridors to cut through walls and a steam pipe.

A North Carolina law that would require women who want an abortion to have an ultrasound scan prior to the procedure suffered a final defeat Monday, when the Supreme Court refused to review the case. A federal judge declared the law illegal in early 2014.

The controversial law had been placed under an injunction soon after it took effect back in 2011. It was struck down on the grounds that it reflected ideological, rather than medical, priorities and violated doctors' right of free speech.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has eluded an arrest order for war crimes, successfully returning home from South Africa, where the nation's high court had issued an order to arrest him.

Al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 on charges that he committed war crimes and genocide in Darfur, where 300,000 people died. But that didn't stop him from flying to South Africa last week for an African Union leaders' summit.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports for Morning Edition from Johannesburg:

The Great Charter is now an octocentenarian. The document that laid a legal cornerstone for thousands of judicial systems was sealed on June 15, 1215. It was nullified within weeks — but the horse of due process was already out of the barn of royal privilege.

The landmark birthday prompted an animated Google Doodle on the search engine's British site, featuring King John with a group of barons. It also depicts a man wearing a ball and chain, a reference to the rights that eventually reached beyond the nobility.

Along with the massive security breach that exposed millions of federal workers' personnel records, a possible separate intrusion may have exposed information from background checks that were done on both federal employees and applicants.

That's part of an update from a senior Obama administration official who declined to be named on the record because of the ongoing investigation into the cyberattack against the Office of Personnel Management.

New York State Police say they've arrested Clinton Correctional Facility worker Joyce Mitchell and charged her with "providing material assistance" to two convicted killers who escaped from the prison last weekend.

Update at 11:15 p.m. ET

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