Bill Chappell

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

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to being the lead writer and editor for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London 2012 to Pyeongchang 2018. 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 the past, Chappell has edited and coordinated digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as All Tech Considered and The Salt.

In 2009, Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that redesigned NPR's web site. One year later, NPR.org 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, Chappell was part of 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 on major events.

Chappell's work for CNN included editing digital video and producing web stories for SI.com. He also edited and produced 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, Chappell attended graduate school for English Literature at the University of South Carolina.

Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun is being detained by Chinese authorities, according to Australia's Embassy in Beijing. Yang was reportedly taken into custody immediately after flying from New York to China on Saturday. Since then, the democracy advocate's normally active Twitter feed has fallen silent.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has reinstated President Trump's order placing restrictions on transgender persons enlisting and serving in the military, by granting a stay of two lower court injunctions that had blocked the president's policy. The justices voted 5-4, reflecting the high court's conservative majority.

Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

A Canadian diplomat says the U.S. Justice Department has told Canada that it will formally seek to extradite Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver last month at U.S. officials' request.

The news prompted China to warn it will retaliate if Canada tries to send Meng to the U.S. — a sign that a diplomatic crisis over her status could worsen.

A viral video of a Native American man surrounded by teenagers at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., created a furor and spurred an apology from the students' Kentucky high school. But since then, other videos and narratives have emerged that give more context to Friday's confrontation.

It happened on the same steps where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. called for racial harmony in the U.S. with his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963.

Atlanta's Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park has reopened for the first time since the partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22, thanks to a grant from Delta Air Lines. The deal allows the park to avoid the awkward possibility that it would be closed on the federal holiday honoring King.

"Without the assistance provided by The Delta Air Lines Foundation, it would have remained closed during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend," a National Park Service spokesman told NPR.

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET

The Pentagon says U.S. military personnel in Syria are moving ahead with President Trump's order to pull out of the war-torn country.

The U.S. force in Syria has "begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria," said Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the for Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve. More than 2,000 U.S. troops are currently deployed in Syria.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

Poland's Internal Security Agency has arrested and charged an executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei on suspicion of spying for China. A government spokesman identified the suspect as Weijing W.; media reports in Poland and China say he also is known as Stanislaw Wang, Huawei's sales director in Poland.

Bernice Sandler, the "godmother of Title IX" who died Saturday at the age of 90, is being remembered this week for her lifelong fight to reverse decades of institutional bias in U.S. schools and open new paths for women and girls.

It all started in an elementary school in Brooklyn, N.Y., when Sandler was a determined little girl nicknamed Bunny. She was offended by the way the boys got to do all the classroom activities.

"For example, running a slide projector," says Marty Langelan, who was Sandler's friend and colleague for nearly 50 years.

A federal judge in California has dismissed Ashley Judd's claim of sexual harassment in her lawsuit against disgraced former mega-producer Harvey Weinstein. But the judge also said Judd can pursue her accusation that Weinstein tried to ruin her career after she rejected his advances.

Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET

"America is a force for good in the Middle East," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday in Cairo, in an expansive speech in which the top U.S. diplomat repudiated the Obama administration's Middle East policies and accused it of making crucial errors that worsened a string of crises in the region.

"The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering," Pompeo said.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apparently snubbed U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, canceling a planned meeting to discuss the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria as well as the fate of a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia fighting ISIS in Syria.

Bolton's meeting with Erdogan was canceled moments before it was to begin, reflecting Turkish anger at Bolton's insistence that those Kurdish forces be protected after more than 2,000 American troops exit northeastern Syria.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has granted executive clemency to Cyntoia Brown, who has been serving a life sentence for a murder she committed when she was 16 years old. Brown's cause was championed by a number of celebrities, including Rihanna.

Brown's supporters have said she acted in self-defense when she killed a man who had paid to have sex with her, describing her as a victim of human trafficking who was preyed upon when she was homeless. They also say Brown has remade herself while in prison — and on Monday, Haslam agreed.

Actor Kevin Spacey appeared in a Massachusetts district court on Monday to face accusations that he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old man in Nantucket — a felony charge that was recently filed over an incident that occurred in 2016.

"A not guilty plea was entered on the defendant's behalf" to the charge of indecent assault and battery, the district attorney's office said.

"Spacey never said a word," member station WBUR's Frederic Thys reports.

Gabon says it has put down an apparent coup attempt after armed soldiers seized a state radio station early Monday morning and broadcast a statement declaring the nation was under their control and that a new leader would be chosen.

But within hours, government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou announced the coup had failed, saying, "The situation is under control."

Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET

Embassies of several countries are trying to assist ex-U.S. Marine Paul Whelan as he remains in a Moscow prison over allegations of espionage. Whelan was born in Canada and has since gained citizenship in the U.S., Britain and Ireland.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. At least three countries have confirmed that they have requested consular access to Whelan: The U.S., Britain and Ireland say they're working to support him in detention and ensure his rights are respected.

Hackers have published cellphone numbers, credit card data and private communications belonging to members of nearly every German political party, in a sweeping breach last month that reportedly also affected German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the only main party whose members were spared from the attack, according to RBB Inforadio, a Berlin-based public broadcaster that broke the story.

Two more people have died as a result of Wednesday's train accident on a bridge in central Denmark, police say, raising the death toll to eight. Investigators believe the passenger train hit an empty truck trailer from a freight train going in the opposite direction.

Wild Eyes — the sailboat abandoned by American Abby Sunderland in her failed bid to circumnavigate the world solo as a 16-year-old — has been found floating off of Australia's coast, nearly nine years after she was rescued in the Indian Ocean.

Seeing her boat again brought back a flood of emotions, says Sunderland, who is now 25.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Russia has allowed U.S. consular officials to speak to Paul Whelan, the U.S. citizen who was arrested last week by Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, on suspicion of spying. But family members say Whelan was visiting Moscow to attend a wedding, not to steal secrets.

At least six people were killed and 16 more wounded Wednesday in an accident that happened as a passenger train was crossing a long bridge between two islands in central Denmark. Citing police, Danish media say the train was hit by something that fell off a passing freight train.

The accident happened around 7:30 a.m. on the busy Storebaelt bridge and tunnel system that connects the central islands of Zealand and Funen, according to the Danish Broadcasting Corp.

Syria's army is grouping at the outskirts of Manbij, a hotly contested town near the Turkish border, in a move that is apparently coordinated with the pending withdrawal of Kurdish militants who have long held the city.

The news comes after initial media reports suggested that for the first time in six years, Syrian troops had taken control of the northern city. Manbij is occupied by both the U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG and American troops.

New Yorkers were shocked and amazed by an eerie blue light that took over the night sky in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens on Thursday night. Officials say an electrical fire at a Con Edison substation was to blame — not an alien ship or any of the other wild ideas the sight inspired.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says a new hypersonic missile system that he says can evade U.S. ballistic missile defenses will be deployed in 2019 as part of Russia's focus on advancing its military weaponry.

More law enforcement officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2018 than last year, driving a 12 percent overall increase in the number of officers who died on the job, according to preliminary data from The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

"Firearms-related fatalities were the leading cause of officer deaths, with 52 officers shot and killed in 2018," the NLEOMF says. That's a rise from 2017, when guns were involved in 46 officer deaths.

The group adds that handguns accounted for the majority of those incidents.

The former chairman and two vice presidents of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. should spend five years in prison over the 2011 flooding and meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Japanese prosecutors say, accusing the executives of failing to prevent a foreseeable catastrophe.

Prosecutors say the TEPCO executives didn't do enough to protect the nuclear plant, despite being told in 2002 that the Fukushima facility was vulnerable to a tsunami. In March of 2011, it suffered meltdowns at three of its reactors, along with powerful hydrogen explosions.

Japan is withdrawing from an international group that bans commercial whaling, saying it will resume commercial hunts for the first time in 30 years next July. Japan will leave the International Whaling Commission, which put a moratorium on commercial whaling in the 1980s.

"Japan argues that it has a long tradition of whaling, even though Japanese today eat very little whale meat," NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Tokyo.

Alba, a rare albino orangutan who has captivated fans far beyond her native Borneo, is now free and living in a forest among other orangutans. She was released this week in a national park in Indonesia, along with Kika, a female orangutan with whom she had become friends.

With striking blue eyes and white hair, Alba was rescued last year by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation — which calls her "the only albino orangutan ever recorded."

Updated at 12:56 p.m. ET

Pope Francis is urging predator priests who have raped or molested children to turn themselves in "to human justice, and prepare for divine justice," devoting part of his Christmas message to the abuse scandals that he said have undermined the Catholic Church in 2018.

As cardinals and other church luminaries listened in the Vatican's ornate Clementine Hall on Friday, Francis also compared priests who break their vows to Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ.

President Trump's plan to withdraw all U.S. military forces from Syria has triggered disparate responses — from worries in liberated Raqqa and Kurdish-controlled areas to approval from Syrian and Russian officials.

Trump declared victory over ISIS, saying in a video Wednesday night, "We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. We've taken back the land and now it's time for our troops to come back home."

Updated at 9:36 a.m. ET Friday

Roughly a day and a half after drone sightings forced Gatwick Airport to suspend flights, shuttering the U.K.'s second-busiest hub at the height of the holiday travel season, officials have announced that the airport is once more back in business. However, authorities say whoever was controlling the drones is still at large.

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