Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the Newsdesk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, DC.

Chappell's work for NPR includes being the lead writer for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 to Pyeongchang in 2018 – stints that also included posting numerous videos and photos to NPR's Instagram and other branded accounts. He has also previously been NPR.org's homepage editor.

Chappell established the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR's website; his assignments also include being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road. Chappell has coordinated special digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He also frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as The Salt.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to tell compelling stories, promoting more collaboration between departments and desks.

Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that performed one of NPR's largest website redesigns. One year later, NPR.org won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

Prior to joining NPR, Chappell was part of the Assignment Desk at CNN International, working with reporters in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Chappell also edited and produced stories for CNN.com's features division, before moving on to edit video and produce stories for Sports Illustrated's website.

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

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected the U.S. accusations, tweeting that the Trump administration "immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran [without] a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence."

In an earlier tweet, Zarif hinted at a conspiracy, noting that the tankers, one owned by a Japanese firm, occurred as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired," he wrote.

Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France winner, was in intensive care on Thursday a day after suffering multiple fractures in a high-speed crash in France. Froome's racing team says he won't be able to compete in this year's Tour de France, which begins in July.

The 34-year-old British cyclist underwent surgery Wednesday and the procedure was a success, Team INEOS announced.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Thirty-six Memphis Police Department officers and sheriff's deputies were injured during a large protest Wednesday night, the police department said Thursday. The violence erupted after officers of the U.S. Marshals Service shot and killed Brandon Webber, 20.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

Craig Stephen Hicks has pleaded guilty to killing three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2015, a shocking crime that was variously described as a hate crime, a dispute over parking or some combination of the two.

Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry read out three counts of first-degree murder against Hicks, 50, in court on Wednesday. Hicks responded "guilty" to each crime, as member station WUNC's Jason deBruyn reports.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

A 5-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Ebola died Wednesday in Uganda, health officials say, and the boy's younger brother and grandmother are also sick. They are the first confirmed cases of Ebola to spread beyond the large outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov is now free, after Russia's Internal Affairs Ministry said it would drop drug charges against him. Golunov's release was announced by his employer, Meduza.

Golunov, 36, had been held under house arrest since Saturday, and he had been ordered to serve an additional two months. He was detained Thursday and charged with attempting to sell drugs — triggering a public outcry and accusations that police had fabricated the case against him.

Botswana's high court has thrown out a colonial-era law that criminalized same-sex relations in a landmark ruling lauded by activists. People who broke the law had faced the threat of a seven-year prison sentence.

The case was brought by a young activist who said Botswana's society had changed since sections of the country's penal code were enacted, banning the "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature." On Tuesday, the court agreed.

The Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. are merging in an all-stock deal that the two companies say is a merger of equals. The new company's name will be Raytheon Technologies Corp. — and it's expected to have nearly $74 billion in annual sales.

Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET

The University of Alabama's board of trustees has voted to return a $21.5 million gift from Hugh Culverhouse Jr. — the school's biggest donor — and take his name off its law school. The move comes after Culverhouse urged businesses and prospective students to boycott the university and the state over Alabama's new abortion law.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET

The U.S. Navy says "unsafe and unprofessional" maneuvers by a Russian destroyer nearly caused it to collide with a U.S. missile cruiser in the Philippine Sea on Friday. The Russian warship came within 50 to 100 feet of the USS Chancellorsville, which was busy recovering a helicopter, and the American ship had to take drastic action to avoid the other vessel, the Navy says.

Russia's military, however, provided a different version of events and said the U.S. ship was at fault.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point says one of its cadets died in an accident Thursday morning near a training area in New York state. Twenty cadets and two soldiers were injured, the academy says.

Updated at 1:32 p.m. ET

Former nurse Niels Högel — who has admitted to giving potentially lethal drugs to patients so he could try to resuscitate them — has been sentenced by a German court to life in prison for murdering 85 people.

"Your guilt is unimaginable," Oldenburg district court Judge Sebastian Bührmann said as he sentenced Högel, according to Deutsche Welle. "The human mind struggles to take in the sheer scale of these crimes."

"They won back this ground for civilization," President Trump said of the Allied troops who took part in the massive D-Day invasion 75 years ago today. Trump stood on a stage near Omaha Beach in northern France, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders who thanked U.S. veterans and their allies for preserving liberty.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is placing new restrictions on the use of human fetal tissue in medical research. Federal scientists working at the National Institutes of Health will be prohibited from obtaining new tissue samples from elective abortions for ongoing research projects at NIH.

Abortion-rights opponents hailed the move as a first step toward a complete ban on the use of human fetal tissue in research.

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

"The wartime generation — my generation — is resilient, and I am delighted to be with you in Portsmouth today," Britain's Queen Elizabeth II said Wednesday, as she kicked off a two-day commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France that reshaped World War II.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Switzerland's Federal Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a rule that kept track star Caster Semenya from competing, saying she should be allowed to race while her appeal proceeds. Track and field's international governing body has said Semenya can't compete in her signature event unless she lowers her testosterone level.

The Swiss court ruled Monday that Semenya, an Olympic and world champion in the 800 meters, should be allowed to "compete without restriction in the female category" during her appeal.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

A Swedish court has denied a request from prosectors to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange detained in absentia over allegations of rape. Prosecutors had sought the detention order as Assange sits in a British prison, and they say even though that effort was thwarted Monday, the case will continue.

President Trump received a royal salute as he arrived in Britain for a state visit Monday, making his way to Buckingham Palace to greet Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family. Scripted to the minute, the carefully choreographed visit also included a review of an honor guard at the palace.

New Hampshire is now the 21st U.S. state to have abolished capital punishment, after its legislature voted to override a veto by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. After a years-long effort to repeal the state's death penalty, the state's Senate voted 16-8 Thursday to finally make it official.

Calling capital punishment "archaic, costly, discriminatory and violent," Democratic state Sen. Melanie Levesque said the time has come to end it, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

The captain of a river cruise ship that collided with a tourist sightseeing boat in the Danube River in Budapest, causing it to capsize and sink, has been taken into custody by Hungarian police.

The captain, a 64-year-old Ukrainian identified only as Yuriy C., is suspected of endangering water transport leading to a deadly mass accident, according to The Associated Press, citing a police website.

A British court is ordering Boris Johnson to face accusations that while holding public office, he lied in order to sway voter opinion on Brexit. The case was brought by a "private prosecutor" who says Johnson abused the public's trust while holding official posts.

MacKenzie Bezos, who received more than $35 billion in her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has signed the Giving Pledge, making a commitment to give more than half her fortune to charity or philanthropic causes.

"We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand," Bezos wrote in a letter announcing her pledge. "In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share."

Confirmation of Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's reelection win has set off violence in Jakarta, where officials say at least six people died after protests morphed into riots in the capital. Widodo's challenger, retired military general Prabowo Subianto, is refusing to concede the race.

Widodo, who has called for unity in the wake of the hotly contested election, said he will not tolerate rioting.

The last time Belgium's Grimbergen Abbey brewed beer, the United States was only about 20 years old. But the abbey now plans to make beer again, and for inspiration, it will turn to the original recipes and brewing instructions in its archive of medieval texts.

After it was founded in 1128, the Norbertine abbey's clerics spent centuries making beer. But they were forced to stop when the abbey was destroyed in 1798. Now they want to get back into brewing — and to do it, they're hoping to use secrets they've gleaned from ancient books the abbey managed to preserve.

A Nepalese mountain climber has now climbed Mount Everest a record 24 times — and he's hoping to do it one more time before he retires. Kami Rita Sherpa, 49, has been climbing Everest since 1994.

"It's also the second time in a week that he's made the arduous trek," NPR's Sushmita Pathak reports from Mumbai. "The 49-year-old Sherpa guide had already broken his own record on May 15, when he scaled the summit for the 23rd time."

Updated Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET

Andrea, the first named storm of the 2019 Atlantic season, formed late Monday night, according to a special bulletin from the National Hurricane Center. With maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, the low-powered storm is less than 300 miles west-southwest of Bermuda.

Ukraine now has a new president, as Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn into office on Monday — and the famous comedian immediately said one of his first actions will be to dissolve parliament. Fulfilling a campaign promise, Zelenskiy announced a snap election to choose new lawmakers.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has reached a deal to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, in a move that could put the three nations a step closer to ratifying the USMCA trade deal that would replace NAFTA.

The tariffs will be lifted within two days, according to a joint U.S.-Canada statement posted by Canada's foreign ministry.

Grumpy Cat — the blue-eyed cat with the withering stare and permafrown that suggested perpetual irritation — has died, her family announced early Friday. She was 7.

The scowling kitty died of complications from a urinary tract infection, her owners said.

"Some days are grumpier than others," Tabatha Bundesen wrote, announcing her cat's death.

Born in 2012, Grumpy Cat became a darling of memes, cat fanciers and anyone who needed to be reminded that somewhere out there, there was a cat who looked as grumpy as they felt.

The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births — representing a 2% drop from 2017. It's the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low.

Not since 1986 has the U.S. seen so few babies born. And it's an ongoing slump: 2018 was the fourth consecutive year of birth declines, according to the provisional birthrate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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